Vegan Lentil, Butternut Squash, Fennel, Cranberry & Hazelnut Filo Swirl

The Balanced Kitchen
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4


  • 150 g green lentils pre-cooked from a tin or carton
  • 700 g butternut squash peeled and diced in to VERY small pieces
  • 1 fennel bulb washed, diced
  • 130 g cranberries fresh, washed
  • 1 brown onion skin removed, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves skin removed, minced
  • 100 g dates stone removed, chopped
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 60 g fresh coriander
  • 12 sheets filo pastry
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar for dusting before serving
  • 1 handful hazelnuts chopped
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil plus extra for brushing the filo pastry


  • Place the oil, diced butternut squash, garlic and onion in a large wok or frying pan which has a lid.
  • Turn up the heat until the pan is warm then turn down the heat to allow the contents to sweat for at least 35 mins.  If you cut the butternut squash into larger cubes, you will need to sweat them for longer otherwise they could still be hard when you remove them from the oven later!  If you prefer larger cubes of butternut squash, you could steam them for 10-15mins before to speed up the softening process.
  • After 35 mins of 'sweating', turn off the heat, add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, diced fennel, green lentils, dates, coriander and cranberries and give the contents a good stir to combine together.
  • Replace the lid and set the pan to one side while you prepare the filo pastry.
  • Spread 2 damp, clean tea towels across a flat surface - use your counter top or a table.
  • Overlap the tea towels by a few centimetres.
  • Carefully lay 4 pieces of the filo pastry, short ends facing you, and overlap each piece by a few centimetres.  
  • Brush the filo with a little oil, then layer again 2x using the same process.
  • Starting at the bottom, spoon an even layer of the mixture right along the whole length, left to right using all of the mixture.
  • Now preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • If you have another person available to help then ask them now! but if not, place one hand on each end of the tea towels and your teeth in the middle and gently lift until the filo pastry and contents roll over.
  • Just roll once, then use your hands to compress the roll from left to right to make it more compact, before you continue lifting the tea towels while the filo pastry rolls until it reaches the top.
  • Remove the tea towels and discard ready for washing.
  • Now gently start to make your swirl shapes by easing one end of the roll into itself in a circular motion. Continue until you reach the end.
  • You should now have a swirl shape.
  • Use a wide-based cake spatula or similar to help you get the swirl onto a baking tray.
  • Brush the top of the swirl with a little oil.
  • Add the baking tray to the preheated oven and bake for 45 mins.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with icing sugar and hazelnuts.
  • Cut into quarters and serve immediately.


It is important to ensure you cut the butternut squash into very small pieces so they cook through.  If you prefer chunks of butternut squash, I suggest pre-steaming them.
If your filo pastry begins to brown too much, add a piece of foil over the top for the remainder of the cooking time.
This is delicious and filling served alone and I suggest it would serve 3-4 people as a main but if serving with sides of vegetables, it would serve 5-6 people.
I think this would also taste delicious with some gravy - but I'm from Manchester so everything tastes good with gravy 😉
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Please share!