Zingy zucchini and butternut squash laksa

Monday the 23rd of March heralds the start of the first ever Meat Free Week in the UK. This initiative was launched a few years ago in Australia by a team of ethically-minded individuals who wanted to draw attention to the huge amounts of meat eaten in some countries (as a nation, Britain consumes more than double the world average) and the impact this has on human health, animal welfare and sustainability. What great motivation to try out new and exciting meat-free dishes, such as this laksa!



Serves 4

Ingredients for the herb bomb

2 – 4 red chillies, membranes and seeds discarded if you prefer it milder

2 large garlic cloves

3 echalion (banana) shallots, roughly chopped

1 large knob of galangal, peeled and finely grated

one 8cm (or 3 inch) piece of fresh turmeric root, cleaned and chopped (or 2 teaspoons ground turmeric)

large bunch (about 100g) of coriander (cilantro), washed and roughly chopped

3 – 4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded

juice of 1 lime (about 30ml or 2 tablespoons), zest reserved for serving

Ingredients for the broth

400ml (1 can) full-fat organic coconut milk

800ml organic vegetable stock

pinch of kelp

sea salt

1 large courgette (zucchini), sliced into noodles with one of these or even one of these

To serve

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into medium cubes

1 red chilli, thinly sliced (or halved and deseeded if you prefer it milder)

large handful of toasted cashew nuts

lime zest



  1. Either toss the butternut squash cubes in some coconut oil and salt before roasting in a hot oven for 30 to 45 minutes (depending on their size), until caramelised and tender. Or heat some coconut oil in a saucepan and brown the butternut on all sides before adding some water and “steaming” with the lid on until tender.
  2. While the squash is cooking, put the ingredients for the herb bomb and some of the coconut milk for the broth in a blender, and blend until everything is finely chopped. Set aside.
  3. Gently heat the rest of the coconut milk and the stock with a pinch of kelp and a very large pinch of sea salt. Once hot, give it a whisk, then add the zucchini noodles and allow to heat through, to soften.
  4. Next, stir through the herb mixture. All of it if you dare, or most of it, reserving some to add to the next batch of salad dressing you make.
  5. Divide the noodles between 4 bowls, top with cooked butternut squash and ladle over the hot broth. Finally scatter over the chilli slices, nuts and lime zest.

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