Paleo Recipe - Velvety Butternut Squash Casserole

Velvety Butternut Squash Casserole

There are days when you want to have a spoonful of casserole to keep you warm or just make you relax. Food for so many people means comfort and home. A serving of this dish can definitely bring you comfort and memories of home and will make you ask for more. This dish is also made special because it has a very savory ingredient: Ras el Hanout.

Paleo Recipe - Butternut Squash

For many, there will be days when you just want to stay at home with your family and enjoy a meal together. Food brings out the best in most people and brings people together. We all have that comfort food that we want to go home to. Most of these comfort foods are often served hot, warming us from the inside. Some of these foods are also easy to eat but fill up our tummies like no other food can. Whilst others find their comfort foods in soups, some find it in casseroles.

Paleo Food - Pecan Nuts

This casserole recipe is an example of a comfort food that will not let you down. It is a combination of flavors that will satisfy your taste buds and a texture that you will crave all over again. This dish is made with nutritious and Paleo approved ingredients that will help you have a vigorous body. One important ingredient of this dish is a spice that originated from Morocco and is a combination of different spices. Ras el Hanout or Rass el Hanout is a blend of spices that brings out the best of this recipe and creates an impact to those who want a spice that does not overpower the dish.

But before we tackle more about Ras el Hanout, here is the Paleo velvety butternut squash recipe that you can make for those comfort food needing days. The use of the word “casserole” really doesn’t do this recipe justice.

In the beginning, it is just a puree, but the adding of the coconut milk, oil, egg, and Ras el Hanout turns something ordinary into something extra-ordinary. What you serve to family or friends is far more than just a casserole.

Velvety Butternut Squash Casserole
Recipe type: Casserole
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
A dish that includes spices that help to really bring out the flavor of the butternut squash and is the perfect comfort food for any time of the year.
Ingredients
  • 2 ½ lb (1.11 kg) Butternut Squash
  • 1 Head of Garlic
  • ¼ Cup Pecan Halves (chop some but leave a few pieces for garnishing)
  • 2 Teaspoons (10 g) Ras el Hanout (you can buy ready-made or you can make your own)
  • ¼ Teaspoon (1.25 g) Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Water
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Coconut Milk
  • 1 Large Egg
Instructions
  1. • You will need the oven and a baking tray. So prepare them first by preheating the oven to 350° F and covering a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. • Get some ramekins or a casserole dish and oil with coconut oil. Set the tray and ramekins or casserole dish to one side for use later.
  3. • Prepare the butternut squash by cutting it in half lengthwise and removing the seeds. Make sure you’ve washed the butternut squash thoroughly first before cutting it.
  4. • Place the cut butternut squash on the prepared tray, cut sides down. This will prevent the squash from burning.
  5. • Take the water and sprinkle it around the squash. Remember, do not sprinkle any water on the squash, just around it.
  6. • Cook the squash in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or just until the squash becomes tender.
  7. • Let the squash cool once cooked, making sure it is cool enough to handle. This will only take about 20 minutes.
  8. • Whilst the squash is cooling you need to increase the temperature on the oven to 400° F.
  9. • When the squash is cooled, scoop the flesh out of the squash using a spoon. Place the scooped out flesh into a food processor.
  10. • Take the head of garlic and unwrap it then squeeze the pulp into the food processor with the squash. Process the squash and garlic until you get a smooth puree is formed.
  11. • Add the egg, coconut milk and oil, salt and Ras el Hanout and process until all the ingredients are combined well.
  12. • Test the taste of the puree to make sure you have the right taste. Add seasoning if needed.
  13. • Once the taste you desire is reached pour the contents of the food processor into the prepared casserole dish or ramekins. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of the puree.
  14. • Let the casserole bake for 25 to 30 minutes or just until the edge of the dish turns golden brown.
  15. • Sprinkle the remaining pecan halves on top of the cooked squash puree. Place the casserole on the table and enjoy!
This recipe becomes more savory because of Ras el Hanout. This spice has been used for centuries. It is a blend, not just an ordinary mixture of spices. Since it is a blend, the spices are mixed in equal portions, making sure that not a single spice will overpower any other in the blend. The blend can range from 40 to a hundred different spices. The history of this spice is not really known but seems to be connected to Ethiopian culture. The name derived from Ethiopian language, with Ras is a word directly translated to “king”. Other translations, like the Arabic translation, suggests that it means “head of the shop”. This blend of spices is more popularly known to be used widely in Morocco today.

Paleo Food - Spices

The spices used in making Ras el Hanout are Paleo friendly since Paleo allows spices in the diet. These spices are known to be beneficial for the body. However, there are commercial Ras el Hanout’s which uses other ingredients in order to make the spices stand out. This is why it is ideal for you to make your own Ras el Hanout. You may also add or remove spices, which means you can add your own personal touch (or create your own personal taste) when creating your own Ras. Plus if you are into spices, making large amounts of Ras can save you a lot of money.

If you want to try and make your own Ras, here is the easiest way of making one. Again, you can add or remove spices as you please. Just keep in mind that the result should be a blend of the flavors and intensity of the spices.

Ras El Hanout

Ingredients:

2 Teaspoons (10 g) Coriander Seeds

1 Teaspoon (5 g) Ground Turmeric

1 Teaspoon (5 g) Ground Cinnamon

½ Teaspoon (2.5 g) Cardamom Seeds

½ Teaspoon (2.5 g) Allspice

½ Teaspoon (2.5 g) Fennel Seeds

½ Teaspoon (2.5 g) Cumin Seeds

½ Teaspoon (2.5 g) Black Peppercorns

½ Teaspoon (2.5 g) Paprika

Procedure:

  • Using a heavy-based pan, dry fry all the seeds and peppercorns. Do this for about a minute.
  • After dry frying, put the seeds and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or a food processor. Grind or process the seeds and peppercorns. This will give you a coarse mixture.
  • Add all the remaining spices and grind or process the mixture further. You should have a smooth or powdered mixture of spice. Voila! You now have your own Ras el Hanout!

Your homemade Ras el Hanout and this recipe will be the best way to end or even start your day. You can make more Ras el Hanout and keep it in an airtight container and use it for other recipes. Not only are you abiding by the Paleo ways, you are also having a better option on the spices you want to use with your food.

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