Autumn in California is a laugh to my non-Californian friends. We don't have the piles of brightly colored leaves that paint the front lawns or the chill that makes you want to sit inside and read a good book (though I wish we did sometimes). Nonetheless, I enjoy the autumn fare, but in light California style of course.
I decided to recycle the lonely pumpkin after Halloween and turn it into a hearty meal. I roasted the pumpkin in chunks, and the seeds separate. Then, I just added a few other sparkling ingredients and that was that. It is very hearty, even though it is meatless; quinoa is a complete protein source- gold to vegetarians!
Ingredients (for 4-6)
- 1/4 lb pumpkin, use small or medium pumpkin*
- 2 T vegetable, or olive oil
- 1 c quinoa
- 1/2 onion
- 2 t oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 t red pepper flakes
- 2 c water
- 1 package frozen spinach
- 1/2 pomegranate
- handful baby tomatoes
- 1 t maple syrup
- 1/2 t cumin
- 1/4 t salt
- toasted pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds (for garnish)
*You can also use butternut squash or acorn squash.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy cleanup). Cut pumpkin into large chunks. Place on baking sheet and toss with 2 t oil. Cover loosely with foil. Roast for about 45 minutes or knife easily inserts.
- When pumpkin is ready, remove skin when cool enough to handle. Cut into small chunks and set aside.
If you want to roast the seeds, wash and dry. Place on baking sheet lines with parchment paper. Then mix with 2 T vegetable oil, 1/4 t salt, and drizzle of maple syrup. Roast at 400 F for 20-30 min turning often.
2. Meanwhile, slice onions, mince garlic, and heat spinach. Open package of spinach and microwave for 3 minutes. Set aside until cooled.
3. Saute onions for 10-15 minutes in 2 t oil or until they start to brown. Caramelization is good to bring out the sweetness of the pumpkin. Then, add the garlic and chili flakes and stir for 1 minute. Finally, add the quinoa and toast for about 3 minutes.
4. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add 1/4 t salt. Then, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Once quinoa is finished, set aside for 5 minutes and prepare the following:
5. Drain the spinach by pressing out liquid.
6. Mix in spinach, pumpkin, and 1/2 t cumin, and cover to retain heat for at least 5 minutes.
7. In small nonstick pan, saute halved baby tomatoes for 1 minute. Pour into quinoa.
8. In same pan, saute some pomegranate seeds (keep some raw set aside for garnish) for 2 minutes with 1 t maple syrup until juices start to simmer. Pour this directly into quinoa.
Garnish with almonds or pumpkin seeds and raw pomegranate seeds.
What's in the Fridge? by Chef Joanna is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.