Roast pumpkin quinoa

Perhaps I am a little obsessed with pumpkins right now

But the season only comes round once a year, right? That’s not a rhetorical question – I have no idea if what I’m saying is actually true, but i assume that’s the case, because it seems to be the only time of year that I eat them. I made this recipe up on my neverending journey home from work today. I don’t want to moan, but I don’t know what’s happened with the transport system recently, it’s a bit depressing, especially in gale force winds like we had today in this “green and pleasant land”. I shouldn’t be sarcastic though, as I do love England. It is very green. And mostly pleasant, if a little unpredictable. So, as usual, I missed my dance/yoga class, and decided to come home and cook something delicious, and healthy, to cheer myself up – I wanted to I’d try and do something a bit different with the quinoa I had in my cupboard
Ingredients (serves 4)
250g Quinoa
1 small pumpkin
Tin of chickpeas
Handful mint
60 g cashew nuts
Handful black olives
2 garlic cloves
1 large chilli
Handful sundried tomatoes
Half a lemon
Walnut oil
Salt and pepper to taste
So I scooped the seeds out of the pumpkin and roasted it on a very high heat (about 220 degrees C) for about half an hour. I cooked the quinoa according to packed instructions (more or less), which took 20min. In that time, I prepared the “pesto”, which I guess isn’t really pesto at all, since it has no basil or pine nuts in it… I dry roasted the cashew nuts, chopped the mint, garlic and chilli, then blended it all together with lemon juice, walnut oil and some salt and pepper in my precious pestle and mortar.A blender would work just as well I’m sure, I just love my thai pestle and mortar so much that I would rather do it the slow way. It’s kinda therapeutic
Of course I made a massive quinoa mess along the way…
Once the quinoa was ready, I added the “pesto”, the chopped sundried tomatoes, olives and chickpeas, and let it all steam, with the heat turned off. I peeled the pumpkin, chopped it up and added that in too. You may want to peel it beforehand, especially if you have sensitive hands. My hands seem to be made from asbestos, and I find it much easier to peel once it’s soft, so I do it this way. Finally, crumble the goat’s cheese in. Stir everything while heating gently for a couple of minutes, before adding more black pepper, perhaps another squeeze of lemon, and serving
I thought that all the ingredients really worked together, yet I hope you feel free to mess around with the quantities and substitute stuff if you want to. Since this recipe was literally born a few hours ago, on the bus, I can hardly be too precious about it. But you should definitely give it a go – I’m sure you know already how  ridiculously good quinoa is for you. I feel that I need to go on a bit of a health kick right now (especially after the Saturday night I had), so this is the perfect start. I also put the seeds on a separate tray and stuck them in the cooling oven once I’d taken the pumpkin out. Tomorrow, I’ll add sea salt and have them as a beer snack