Pumpkin, spinach and feta bake

Got a sad looking carved pumpkin knocking around the house? Don’t waste it; savour the tasty spooky sphere of sweetness by making this delicious and healthy autumnal bake.

 

Sweet roasted pumpkin and iron-rich cooked spinach leaves contrast each other delightfully in this one pot dish. The bake is bound together with healthy low fat sour cream and egg, and feta cheese brings a salty richness. A scattering of pistachios on top adds a crunchy texture.

Ingredients

  • 400g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into small cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 350g frozen spinach
  • 75g feta
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp low fat sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • A handful of peeled pistachios

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40-50 minutes
Serves 2

Method

  1. Put the oven on to gas mark 6.
  2. Place the pumpkin in a baking dish and pour the olive oil all over. Sprinkle the sage on top and toss gently so the oil and herbs are evenly distributed across the pumpkin cubes. Pop the pumpkin in the oven for 25 minutes, checking on it half way through cooking and turning it over so it cooks evenly.
  3. Meanwhile, put the spinach in a bowl and cover with a plate. Cook in the microwave for about five minutes, stirring half way through. Drain it in a sieve and press a tablespoon on to it to squeeze out the excess water.
  4. Put the sour cream in a mixing bowl and crack in the egg. Use a hand whisk to beat the cream and egg together, and then add in the spinach. Stir everything together well and then crumble in the feta. Season well and give it all good stir.
  5. When the pumpkin is ready, take it out of the oven and transfer it to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients, being careful when you do so as it’ll be very hot.
  6. Mix all of the ingredients in together and transfer them to a baking dish. Reduce the oven heat to gas mark 3 and pop in the oven for 30 minutes. The eggy mixture surrounding the spinach should be close to being set.
  7. Take the bake out of the oven and scatter over the shelled pistachios. Serve immediately with a simple side salad.

This recipe was inspired by the Leon Fast Vegetarian’s Baked Spinach, Squash and Blue Cheese.

Advertisements

Pumpkin, pepper and pearl barley stew

This seasonal stew is the perfect meal as Halloween and Bonfire Night approach. Pumpkin, pepper and sweetcorn bring a satisfying sweetness to the dish while the spices contribute a rich depth of flavour.

It’s packed with an array of colourful veggies and nutritious pearl barley grains so it’s really good for you. It’ll be on the table in 40 minutes and will please your vegan friends.

This comforting stew is sure to delight your tastebuds and leave you feeling nicely full.

 

Ingredients

  • 275g pumpkin, chopped into small cubes
  • 60g frozen sweetcorn (or you could use tinned)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 60g pearl barley, rinsed under cold water
  • 100g cabbage (I used sweetheart), finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, cubed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 200g chopped tomatoes
  • Fresh coriander to serve (optional)

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 2

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, pepper and garlic and cook for five minutes.
  2. Add the spices and pumpkin and mix together well. Cook for a further five minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the tomatoes, cabbage and stock and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and pour in the pearl barley and sweetcorn. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the pearl barley has cooked through with a little bit of bite left.
  5. Season well and serve in large pasta bowls with a coriander garnish on top.

This recipe was inspired by Leon Fast Vegetarian’s squash, corn and bean stew.

Creamy pumpkin and lentil soup

The tricks of Halloween may have been and gone for another year, but pumpkin-based foods are still very much a treat to enjoy through this season.

I was intrigued to cook pumpkin as I’d never even carved one, let alone cooked it. As a fellow squash plant, it’s very similar to preparing a butternut squash, but thankfully, slightly less labour intensive.

Soup is definitely back in vogue on these increasingly chilly, autumnal days. This pumpkin soup dish is a slightly richer variation of a BBC Good Food recipe, using cream instead of creme fraiche. It’s sweet and herby and the toasted pumpkin seeds make for an innovative garnish adding a crunchy texture and salty flavour.

IMG_2698

Ingredients

    • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 small red onions, chopped
    • two thirds of a small to medium sized pumpkin, approx. 800g, chopped into cubes
    • a handful of pumpkin seeds (from the pumpkin you’ve just prepared)
    • 100g split red lentils
    • 2 tsp dried thyme
    • 1 l vegetable stock
    • 75ml double cream
    • A pinch of salt
    • A pinch of sugar

Preparation time: 20 minutes (unless you are an advanced pumpkin peeler!)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 4

Method

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the onions and cook for five minutes or so, until soft. Stir in the garlic, chopped pumpkin and lentils and sprinkle the thyme over the ingredients.
  3. Pour in the hot stock and stir, making sure all of the ingredients are well covered.
  4. Season, cover and simmer for 20-25 mins until the lentils have expanded and the pumpkin has softened.
  5. Meanwhile, wash the pumpkin seeds. Remove any flesh still clinging to them, then dry them with kitchen roll.
  6. Heat the remaining half tbsp of oil in a small frying pan and toast the seeds for five to ten minutes, or until they start to turn a warm golden colour. Take them off the heat and place them on a couple of sheets of kitchen roll. Sprinkle over the salt and sugar.
  7. When the pumpking mixture is ready, take the pan off the heat and pour into a large bowl.
  8. Whizz the cooked mixture with a hand blender until quite smooth (though I like to leave a few lumps of pumpkin in the mix). Pour in the cream and stir with a large spoon. Season to taste.
  9. Serve in large, shallow bowls, with the golden seeds as a garnish in the middle and drizzle over a little bit of cream if you have some left over.

This warming pumpkin soup is perfect as a light evening meal served with crusty bread, or it can be prepared in advance and used for lunches.