Vegan Butternut Squash Cannelloni
Butternut squash is sexy. Wiki tells me she has alter egos in other parts of the world. In Australia and New Zealand she responds to the name butternut pumpkin. What a mysterious vixen! Wherever she goes, she’s always the centre of attention whether puréed into a soup or breaded and fried in our popular tacos (see hotforfoodblog.com). In this recipe she’ll sweep you off your feet enveloped in cannelloni and a creamy béchamel that any nonna would approve of!
|For the roasted butternut squash:|
|2 (90g / 2 lb)||butternut squashes, peeled and diced|
|2 tbsp||olive oil|
|½ tsp||sea salt|
|½ tsp||ground pepper|
|For the béchamel sauce:|
|50g (1¾ oz)||soft tofu|
|250ml (4 fl oz)||unsweetened non-dairy milk|
|225ml (8 fl oz)||low-salt vegetable stock|
|2 tbsp||nutritional yeast|
|1 tsp||miso paste|
|½ tsp||sea salt|
|1||shallot, very finely chopped|
|2||garlic cloves, very finely chopped|
|1 tbsp||finely chopped fresh sage|
|¼ tsp||ground nutmeg|
|1 tbsp||olive oil|
|For the filling:|
|100g (3¼ oz)||soft tofu|
|175g (6 oz)||The Parm ( see instructions for making at the bottom of the recipe)|
|½ tsp||ground nutmeg|
|¼ tsp||sea salt|
|¼ tsp||ground pepper|
|For the cannelloni:|
|300g (10½ oz)||'The Mozza' see bottom of instructions for recipe|
|8||whole sage leaves|
|1 – 2 tbsp||'The Parm'|
You will need: a high-powered blender and food processor.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7.
To roast the squash, toss the diced squash in the olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes until the squash is golden brown, flipping halfway through the bake time.
Meanwhile, to prepare the béchamel sauce, combine the tofu, non-dairy milk, 125ml (4 fl oz) of the stock, nutritional yeast, tahini, miso paste, cornflour and salt in a blender until very smooth.
Heat a saucepan over a medium heat and sauté the shallot, garlic, sage and nutmeg in the olive oil for about 2 minutes until just softened and fragrant. Lower the heat if necessary to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the blended tofu mixture and bring to a low simmer, turning the heat back up if needed. As soon as the sauce starts to bubble, stir in the remaining 125ml (4 fl oz) of stock and bring to a simmer for 1 – 2 minutes until slightly thicker. Pour the sauce into a wide, shallow baking dish.
Once the butternut squash is roasted, turn the oven down to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Reserve 115g (4 oz) of the squash and set aside.
To make the filling, place the remaining squash in a food processor with the filling ingredients and process until smooth.
To fill the cannelloni, transfer the filling to a ziplock bag and snip off a small piece of one corner. Very slowly squeeze the filling into each cannelloni, generously filling it. Arrange the filled cannelloni in 2 rows of 8 or 10 on top of the sauce in the baking dish, spaced 5mm (¼ inch) apart.
Roughly chop the reserved butternut squash and arrange on top.
Distribute The Mozza (see instructions below) over each row of cannelloni, allowing the ends of the cannelloni to be visible. Top with the sage leaves.
Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil and top the cannelloni with The Parm (see instructions below) and pepper to taste. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes on the top rack of the oven until the sauce is golden brown. Watch closely so the topping doesn’t burn. You may also need to grill the cannelloni for a few minutes to get The Mozza to brown on top. Serve immediately. hot tip You can likely find pre-cut fresh or frozen butternut squash if you don’t feel like getting intimate with whole squash. But if you use frozen pieces be sure to thaw them and drain any excess water.
How to make 'The Mozza' (makes about 300g (10½ oz):
60g (2¼ oz) raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
225ml (8 fl oz) unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 tbsp tapioca flour
1 tsp nutritional yeast
½ – 1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Drain and rinse the cashews. Place in a high-powered blender with the remaining ingredients and combine until very smooth. Start with ½ teaspoon of the salt and adjust to your taste after the sauce is heated in the next step.
Heat the sauce in a small saucepan over a medium heat, whisking constantly, until just thickened, 8 – 10 minutes. You'll use the full amount in this recipe, but if you make extra or want leftovers, you can chill them for up to 1 week. Before using the sauce, you might need to add a little more non-dairy milk or water while reheating to smooth it out, or try blending the sauce again.
You can soak cashews for up to 7 days in the fridge so they’re always ready to go! Just be sure to change the water every couple of days. Don’t forget, my measurements are always the presoaked amount!
How to make 'The Parm' (makes about 75g / 6oz):
80g (3 oz) raw cashews, almonds, or pistachios
12g (/⅓ oz) nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt
Combine all the ingredients together in a food processor and process until a fine crumb or flour is formed. Store in a jar or container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.