Barley Stuffed Butternut Squash


A delicious butternut squash roast is just right for the short days and cold nights  of winter. Winter squash is typically harvested in autumn after a long growing season. Full of the sweetness of summer, winter squash are delicious and nourishing ingredients for winter cooking. When stored in a cool, dark, and dry place, they can last through the long winter months.  

However, if your digestion is feeling a bit weak (some signs of this are bloating, gas, and difficulty eliminating), it’s best to avoid winter squash. It can be congestive in the body and if digestive illness is present, it may be disruptive

When planning your meals consider the qualities and nature of the foods themselves.

Ask yourself, is this extractive in nature or augmenting?

Remember, augmenting foods are primarily the sweet taste, while extractive foods are primarily  bitter, pungent, and/or astringent. You can read more about that here.  

In this recipe, the nuts and cilantro are extractive ingredients, while the butternut squash, cheese and barley are augmenting. 

Over time you will come to easily identify the qualities present in foods and how to easily create  60:40 meals. The appropriate quantity of each type of food then makes the balanced meal. 

And remember, always use only organic cold pressed oils, as they are free of chemicals, natural, and easier for our bodies to digest than processed versions.

Augmenting and Extractive



You'll need:


  • butternut squash, washed, cut in half, seeds removed

  • 2 tbsp olive oil or ghee

  • 1 tsp mineral salt - for a large squash use 1 ½ tsp


  • ½ cup barley, hand flaked - alternatively cook the whole grain with a little ghee until nearly ready 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil or ghee

  • ⅓ tsp celery seeds

  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds

  • ¼ cup skinless hazelnuts

  • 2 dates, chopped

  • 1 tsp mineral salt

  • 1½ cup water

  • small handful fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 1 tbsp dried kelp or another type of sea vegetable

  • ½ cup fresh cottage cheese or paneer


  • 1 tbsp tahini

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • 3 tbsp water

Here's how:


  1. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise down the center. Scoop out the seeds. Using a knife carefully carve and remove the butternut squash leaving a 1 inch or 2cm thick “bowl” for stuffing. It is best to cut out small sections at a time.

  2. Chop the inner sections of butternut squash into small cubes and set aside.

  3. Place the butternut squash halves in a baking dish, pierce with a tip of a sharp knife 4-6 times. Rub 1 tbsp of oil and sprinkle ½ tsp salt onto each half. 

  4. Bake in a 195 C / 380 F oven (add 20 degrees for conventional) for 15 minutes.


  1. Heat the oil and simmer the salt, spices and kelp until the aroma is present.

  2. Add the nuts and simmer lightly, followed by the cubed squash. Continue to sauté for 5 more minutes with the lid on.

  3. Add the dates, and the barley along with the water. Cook for 5 minutes, covered.

  4. Stir in the cilantro and cheese.

  5. Place the filling in the squash and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes until the top is lightly golden and the base is very soft (test it with a sharp knife). 


  1. Whisk all the ingredients together.

  2. Drizzle over the stuffed squash.

Tips & substitutions:

Use a lime zest for an aromatic variation and experiment with different fresh herbs such as basil or rosemary.

Visit our Ayurveda Lifestyle page for kitchen essentials

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