Roasted Butternut With Spinach Pesto

This recipe for roasted butternut with spinach pesto and pumpkin seeds has been adapted from Reuben Riffel’s recipe Women’s Health May 2013.

Roasted Butternut With Spinach Pesto

The May issue of Women’s Health has a feature on butternut using recipes from South African celebrity chefs. The four chefs that contributed their recipes are Reuben Riffel, Pete Goffe-Wood, Luke Dale-Roberts and Margot Janse. I was offered the opportunity to blog a recipe of my choice, as well as offer my own recipe using butternut to tie in with this article. Last week you will have seen my recipe for roasted butternut soup, and when I paged through the four recipes I decided to make Reuben’s roasted butternut dish, as the flavours were similar to the dish I had made. The recipe I am including below is not the original recipe which appears in the magazine. I had to make a few changes for various reasons. 

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  • the recipe called for 4 garlic cloves which have to be weighed as you have to have ginger in equal weight to the garlic to make the purée. Using 4 garlic cloves the purée was more like flavoured water and so I doubled this. The purée was still very loose but I decided that it would be OK. It created quite a liquid mass when added to the oil but that worked out fine by the time everything was blended 
  • I had to double the roasting time to get soft butternut
  • I thought I had preserved lemons at home, but I was mistaken – I remember Jenny Morris saying on her TV show that you can use 1 unwaxed lemon and a good pinch of salt to replace a preserved lemon, so this is what I did
  • the recipe makes a HUGE bowl of pesto. I used some of the leftover pesto to cook chicken in the next night and to flavour some quinoa. I am sure it can be frozen though, so it won’t go to waste
  • The recipe calls for pumpkin seeds with no weight given. I toasted off 30g but you can do as much or as little as you like. Personally, I preferred the pumpkin seeds that I roasted for my soup

This pesto is zingy and tangy and the flavours really pop in your mouth. I will definitely make this again with a few variations!

do you make recipes from magazines?

Roasted Butternut With Spinach Pesto And Pumpkin Seeds
Roasted Butternut With Spinach Pesto And Pumpkin Seeds
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Roasted Butternut With Spinach Pesto And Pumpkin Seeds

Recipe Category: Vegetarian
Makes enough for: 2 people
All Rights Reserved: Adapted from Reuben Riffel's recipe Women's Health May 2013


for the butternut

  • 1 butternut, peeled and cubed
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

for the pesto

  • 40 g garlic cloves
  • 40 g fresh root ginger, peeled
  • 60 mls olive oil
  • 5 mls ground cumin
  • 5 mls smoked paprika
  • 200 g baby spinach
  • 240 g peppadews, cubed
  • 1 lemon, rind only, finely chopped

to serve

  • 30 g pumpkin seeds, toasted


for the butternut

  • Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  • Place the butternut into a large roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil
  • Season to taste and roast for 40 minutes

for the pesto

  • Put the garlic and ginger into a food processor (don’t wash after you make the purée as you will use it again)
  • Add 60mls water and process until it forms a purée – this will be very watery!
  • In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over a low heat
  • Add the garlic and ginger purée and fry lightly until you can smell the ginger
  • Add the cumin and cook until you can smell the spices
  • Add the paprika and toss the spinach through the oil a small handful at a time until it is all cooked
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the peppadews and lemon rind
  • Add a generous pinch of salt and mix in
  • Chop the pesto in a food processor

to serve

  • Toss the pesto through the butternut and served topped with pumpkin seeds


A peppadew is a sweet piquanté pepper.

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36 thoughts on “Roasted Butternut With Spinach Pesto

  1. I love the ingredients in this recipe they are so fresh and delicious – magazines, I think, often are a great recipe source 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. I don’t often make recipes from magazines, I do however often look at photos in magazines and create my version by just seeing the picture and reading a title.

    1. Sorry Tammy, I should have made mention of that! It is a sweet piquanté pepper – peppadew is a brand name for the produce grown in Limpopo Province in South Africa 🙂

  3. If the recipe looks good in the mag, then why not!! I love my cooking magazines, my hubby got me a 12 month subsciption last year for my birthday thats due to run out in June, bugger!! I’ll have to renew it as a birthday present to myself 🙂

  4. I love to use recipes from everywhere. The 1st time, I make it just like it is stated & then I make it like I want to!

    What a very unusual tasty pesto: a really good one too!

  5. Hi Tandy, Great to read your experience of the Reuben’s recipe. I’m not usually a fan of peppadews but loved this combination. Nikki

  6. Pingback: Make Reuben Riffel’s Recipe for Roasted Butternut With Spinach Pesto And Pumpkin Seeds | Quivertree Publications

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