Meat Free Monday One day a week can make a world of difference

Butternut Squash, Chickpea, Spinach, Chilli, Pasta Bake

Just Childcare
  • Serves: 10 (based on a portion size for a 2-5 year old)
  • Preparation: 15
  • Cooking: 30
  • Ready: 45

A tasty pasta bake packed with a variety of nutritious vegetables, perfect for young children.


  • 1 butternut squash*, peeled, deseeded, and cut into small dice
  • 1 tin chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 180 g bag baby spinach, washed
  • 500 g dried penne
  • 1 red chilli finely chopped or 1 level teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked and stalks finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • olive oil


Place the butternut squash on a tray, drizzle with olive oil and pop in the oven at 200°c/400°F/gas mark 6 for about 15 mins until tender.

In a large pan heat a splash of oil and gently fry the garlic, chickpeas, chilli and basil stalks then add the tomato purée, stir then add the tomatoes, spinach, basil leaves and squash. Allow to simmer for 15 mins.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in a large pan of water, drain and add to the tomato sauce. Bind it all together and place in an oven dish. If it seems a little dry just add some water to achieve to right balance.

Put back in the oven for 15 mins or until golden and bubbling.

* Pumpkin can be used in place of squash when nice and cheap in season

Additonal notes

Recipe courtesy of Just Childcare, a family group of nurseries in the north west of England. Best Friends Worsley started Meat Free Monday in November 2015.

Facebook: Just Childcare
Twitter: @JustChildcare

Best Friends Worsley’s Meat Free Monday Menu, 16 November, 2015:

Crunchy Chilled Vegetable sticks and Homemade Red Pepper Dip
Shepherdless Pie with a Swede and Celeriac Mash Topping

Afternoon tea
Butternut Squash, Chickpea, Spinach, Chilli, Pasta Bake

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