From Jamie's new Christmas Cookbook - the perfect turkey alternative for vegans and veggies. Or even just because...

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"Based on a beloved old recipe of mine, this method really takes advantage of stuffing and slow-roasting the sweet, versatile squash. You get wonderful flavours exchanging in the centre, great textures, and the slices look amazing. "

Serves 6

Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes

1 butternut squash (1.2kg)
Olive oil
1 red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 bunch of fresh sage (30g)
10 sun-dried tomatoes
75g vac-packed chestnuts
75g basmati rice
75g dried cranberries
1 pinch of ground allspice
Red wine

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Wash the squash, carefully cut it in half lengthways, then remove and reserve the seeds. Use a spoon to score and scoop some flesh out, making a gully for the stuffing all along the length of the squash. Finely chop the scooped-out flesh with the seeds and put into a frying pan on a medium heat with 2 tablespoons of oil.

Peel, finely chop and add the onion and garlic, stirring regularly while you pick the sage leaves and finely chop them with the sun-dried tomatoes and chestnuts.

Stir into the pan with the rice, cranberries and allspice, add a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper and a swig of red wine, and mix well. Fry for 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.

Pack the mixture tightly into the gully in the two squash halves, then press the halves firmly back together.

Rub the skin of the squash with a little oil, salt and pepper, and if you’ve got them, pat on any extra herb leaves you have to hand.

Place the squash in the centre of a double layer of tin foil, then tightly wrap it up. Bake for around 2 hours, or until soft and cooked through.

Once ready, take the squash to the table and open up the foil in front of everyone, then carve into nice thick slices and serve with all the usual trimmings.

Changing courses

"This tasty squash also makes a delicious veggie side dish, in which case you should be able to feed about 10 to 12 people with this recipe."

CALORIES: 300kcal
FAT: 8.9g
SAT FAT: 1.3g
CARBS: 51.1g
SUGARS: 22.2g
SALT: 1.2g
FIBRE: 6.5g

Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook  by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House ⓒ Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2016 Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook) Photographer: David Loftus.

Looking for more Christmas healthy eating ideas? Download our free  Healthier Christmas Recipe Guide,  featuring Calgary Avansino, Natasha Corrett, Liz Earle, Madeleine Shaw and many more  here.

Try Jamie Oliver's Garlic Mushroom Pasta recipe here