Mushroom and roasted butternut ragu


This mushroom and roasted butternut squash ragu is such a beautiful vegetarian/vegan dish.
It’s warming, plant-based and entirely BS-free.

As a nutritionist, I read a LOT of science to keep up with the latest and greatest developments in the world of food and nutrients. 
Without going into too much of a rant, there is one thing that’s really upsetting me: meat-free mince. 
If you are vegan/veggie and reading this, bear with me, I’m not about to promote excess meat consumption, this is a tad different. 
I’m talking about the sudden upsurge of soy in veggie and vegan mince. 
Unless the re-texturised soy protein that is making it into these fake mince products is fully organic and grown in the EU then it is 90% likely to be GMO. Yup, you are reading that correctly. These so-called “plant-based, better for the environment and better for you” products are likely to be based on crops that haven’t just been genetically modified but are guaranteed to also have been grown with a ridiculous quantity of chemicals. 
The moral of the story: forget the fake mince and replace it with real ingredients.
Mushrooms grown in Britain and EU grown pulses and beans are a way better alternative and probably just as quick. 

For the sake of balance and transparency, I don’t have an issue with soy in general, just GMO soy.

This recipe takes around 30 minutes to make and keeps well in the fridge.

Ingredients to feed 4 (or 2 plus 2 lunches)
1/2 butternut squash (450g approx), peeled and cubed
leaves from 1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, left unpeeled
1 small red onion (75g), peeled and finely chopped
1-2 sticks of celery (75g), finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
300g portobello mushrooms, diced (dice = tiny squares)
120g shiitake mushrooms, diced
leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme,
1 bay leaf (dried is ok)
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of Kikkoman tamari (made with non-GMO soy)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
British rapeseed oil to cook

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Put the cubed butternut squash, the unpeeled garlic cloves, chopped rosemary and a tablespoon of oil on a roasting tray. Season well with sea salt and black pepper, stir and roast for 30 minutes or until it is fully cooked.
While the butternut is roasting, make the ragu.
Put a large saucepan on a low-medium heat and add a tablespoon of rapeseed oil. Tip in the finely chopped onion and celery and cook with a lid on for 5-10 minutes, until softened.
Add the diced mushrooms, chilli, a couple of pinches of sea salt and lots of black pepper, turn the heat up to high and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the mushroom doesn’t catch.
Pour in the tamari and chopped tomatoes, add the thyme leaves and season again with sea salt and black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, pop a lid on the pan and cook for 10 minutes.
Take the lid off the pan and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the sauce is thick.
Take the butternut out of the oven, remove the garlic and tip the roasted butternut squash cubes into the ragu. Squeeze the garlic out of the skin, chop it roughly and tip that into the ragu too.
Stir the sauce well, taste it to check the seasoning and season again if needed.
Serve with hunks of toasted bread and some greens if desired.