Roasted pumpkin stuffed with moroccan spiced lamb

Pumpkin is one of my favourite roasted vegetables, the sweet yet nutty taste gets me every time. Instead of enjoying it as a side dish, I wanted to make it the main focus for a change.

The flavours in the moroccan spiced lamb really complemented the earthiness of the roasted pumpkin and I just know this is going to be a favourite dish of mine during winter – actually, make that, during all seasons!

One butternut pumpkin half

I used butternut pumpkin/squash as its shape acts as a ‘boat’ that can hold the moroccan lamb mixture without if falling over the sides.

Moroccan spices

The spices in this dish include cumin, paprika and cinnamon – you could definitely add fresh chilli or chilli flakes if you’d like some heat. When cooked, the spices become aromatic and fill the room with a beautiful earthy fragrance.

Adding the red lentils

I always associate red lentils with moroccan food; maybe it’s due to their rustic red colour. The lentils add extra bulk to the dish in the way of flavour and texture.

Moroccan lamb mixture

This dish is vegetable friendly, virtually any variety in your fridge could be used. This is great for those nights when you have a few vegetables to use up or need some extra nutrients!

Flesh scooped out

Once the pumpkin is cooked, scoop enough flesh out to create a ‘boat’. I kept about 1cm from the edges and made sure there was still enough pumpkin flesh on the bottom so the moroccan lamb mixture didn’t seep through.

Ready to fill the pumpkin

As I don’t like waste, I added the scooped pumpkin flesh and seeds to the lamb mixture along with the coriander for extra moroccan flavour.

Nearly ready to be enjoyed

As you can see, the pumpkin has now been filled and is piled quite high. I love the colours in this dish – it really goes to show just how beautiful healthy food can be.

Mint yoghurt dressing

This mint yoghurt really sets off the moroccan spices as it brings an element of freshness to the earthiness.

Decorated and ready to be enjoyed!

This dish will keep for two days in a sealed container in the fridge. Store the mint yoghurt separately and serve on top once reheated in the oven.   

Roasted pumpkin stuffed with moroccan spiced lamb

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 butternut pumpkin halves, washed
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 3 tomatoes, washed and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, washed and diced
  • 1 cup spinach leaves, washed
  • 1/2 cup coriander stalks and leaves, washed and roughly chopped – extra leaves for decoration
  • 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt or natural greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup mint, washed and finely sliced
  • 2 TBSP pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 2 TBSP pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place butternut pumpkin halves on baking paper and roast for 45 minutes.
  3. Add coconut oil to a large frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Cook onion, garlic and ginger for 2 minutes.
  5. Add cumin, paprika and cinnamon then stir for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  6. Add lamb mince and cook for 5 minutes or until brown then stir through lentils for a further 1 minute.
  7. Add beef stock, tomatoes, celery, spinach leaves, salt and pepper then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed.
  8. Remove pumpkin from oven and spoon flesh from inside the pumpkin.
  9. Roughly chop the flesh and add to lamb mixture, along with coriander.
  10. Fill pumpkin with lamb mixture then return pumpkin to the oven for 20 minutes.
  11. Mix yoghurt and mint together and set aside.
  12. Remove pumpkin from oven, transfer to a plate, top with mint yoghurt and sprinkle with coriander leaves, pistachios and pine nuts. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • If there is leftover lamb mixture it would be delicious over some cooked quinoa or brown rice!
  • Also, to make it vegan/vegetarian – omit the lamb and use chickpeas instead, and use vegetable stock instead of beef stock.
  • You can use any vegetables you like – grated carrot, mushrooms, zucchini, capsicum and corn would all work really well in this dish.
  • You can definitely eat the pumpkin seeds and skin!

Although it seems as though there are a lot of ingredients, once broken down into spices and vegetables, there really isn’t much to it. It’s definitely worth making and I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did!

Mint chia zucchini fritters with cumin coconut yoghurt

I often draw inspiration from looking into the fridge to see what ingredients have to be used up. Today it was zucchinis so I decided to make fritters for lunch.

These fritters can be enjoyed for breakfast with poached eggs, for lunch with a fresh salad or even as a light snack.

Making ‘flax eggs’

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that a flax egg is what vegans use as a substitute for eggs. It’s also a great source of omega 3s and acts as a binding agent. If you don’t have flaxseed meal, you can use 3 eggs instead for the fritters.

One bowl wonder!

I try to keep my cooking as simple as possible by using only one mixing bowl and mixing all the ingredients at once. This also cuts down on the amount of washing up!

All well combined

Once mixed, the ingredients all come together to create a fairly wet mixture. Don’t be alarmed by this as it helps to keep the fritters moist.

Frying away…

To make sure the fritters stayed together when cooking, I rolled them into balls then flattened them in the frypan. Once cooked they take on a beautiful golden colour.

Cumin coconut yoghurt

The cumin coconut yoghurt really adds a contrasting flavour to the fritters. I love how the earthiness of the cumin really brings out the freshness of the mint. If you don’t have coconut yoghurt, you can use full fat natural yoghurt instead.

All stacked up!

These fritters will keep in the fridge for up to two days in a sealed container.

Mint chia zucchini fritters with cumin coconut yoghurt

Makes 20 small fritters

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchinis, washed and grated
  • 3 TBSP flaxseed meal
  • 9 TBSP water
  • 2 TBSP chia seeds
  • 3 TBSP fresh mint, washed and roughly chopped
  • 6 TBSP buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • Coconut oil for frying

Method:

  1. Place flaxseed meal and water in a bowl and set aside to thicken for 5-7 minutes to make a ‘flax egg’.
  2. Mix grated zucchinis, ‘flax egg’, chia seeds, mint, buckwheat flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add 1 tsp of coconut oil.
  4. Form mixture into small balls and flatten in the frying pan.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes each side, or until cooked through. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all mixture is cooked.
  6. Mix coconut yoghurt and cumin together.
  7. Serve fritters with cumin coconut yoghurt and enjoy!

What do you like to eat with zucchini fritters?

Beetroot, mint and goji salad

Sometimes all you want is a salad that is full of contrasting flavours yet still tastes fresh. Well, this one seems to fit that criteria perfectly.

This salad was a tasty companion to the kale, zucchini and goat cheese tart I made for a picnic recently.

Red onion marinating in lemon

I marinated the onion in the lemon zest and juice for a few minutes to take the sharpness out of the onion and prevent it from becoming overpowering in the salad.

Toasted seeds and nuts

When the seeds and nuts are toasted I find they have a more intense flavour and are crunchier which really works well with this salad.

Coconut yoghurt dressing

I use coconut yoghurt on anything and everything as I think it lends any dish that flavour you didn’t even know was missing. I find that this dressing actually makes the salad.

Salad all tossed

This is a great salad to enjoy on its own, or with a slice of kale, zucchini and goat cheese tart.

Enjoying the salad with a slice of tart

Store in a sealed container to up to 3 days in the fridge (keep the salad and dressing separate).

Beetroot, mint and goji salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 beetroots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, washed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander, washed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, washed and chopped
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup goji berries
  • 2 TBSP pumpkin seeds/pepitas
  • 2 TBSP slivered almonds
  • 2 TBSP pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, washed and chopped
  • 1 TBSP cumin

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Place beetroot on a lined tray and bake for 20 minutes.
  2. Place pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds and pine nuts on another baking tray and toast for 5 minutes, or until golden.
  3. Place onion and lemon zest and juice in a large bowl for 5 minutes.
  4. Mix the dressing of coconut yoghurt, 1 TBSP mint and 1 TBSP cumin together. Set aside.
  5. Add mint, coriander and parsley to onion and lemon bowl. Toss to combine.
  6. Add cooked beetroot, toasted nuts and quinoa. Toss well.
  7. Sprinkle in goji berries. Serve with dressing and enjoy!

Have you ever tried coconut yoghurt before? If yes, what do you use it for?

Beef koftas with fattoush salad and coconut dressing

I love using a lot of different spices in my cooking as it brings the dish alive and tantalises your taste buds. My personal favourite spices are paprika and cumin as they add so much flavour to practically anything, including chicken, beef, prawns, lamb, roasted vegetables, nuts, lentils and quinoa.

I am a huge fan of meals that have many small dishes as they feel that little bit more special. They also enable guests to graze and I find that it makes a dinner last longer.

Soaking the skewers

It’s important to soak the skewers for 30 minutes to prevent them burning whilst in the oven.

Kofta ingredients all processed together

The kofta mixture is quite wet once processed, don’t be alarmed as this ensures they are juicy when cooked.

Koftas all rolled and ready to be cooked

This mixture makes 18 koftas, however it could be more/less depending on how big/small you roll them. If you’re time poor in the evenings, the koftas can be made that morning then placed in a sealed container in the fridge until needing to be cooked.

Brand of wraps I used

As these wraps don’t have gluten in them, they have a more cardboard like texture. This is why I prefer for crisp them up in the oven and use them as ‘chips’ instead.

Vibrant salad

This salad is a standout on its own! I never really use mint in salads, but I definitely will be more often after eating this. It gave the salad another burst of freshness and complemented the spices in the beef koftas.

Turmeric rice once all cooked

Recent research has highlighted the health benefits of incorporating more turmeric into your diet. These benefits include helping to prevent cancer, fighting cold and flus, helping indigestion and aiding in weight loss.

Dinner is served!

Beef koftas with fattoush salad and coconut yoghurt

Serves 6

Ingredients:

Beef koftas
  • 1 cup fresh coriander leaves, washed
  • 2 brown onions, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1kg organic lean beef mince
  • 1 TBSP ground coriander
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP paprika
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 18 Skewers
Fattoush salad
  • 1 romaine lettuce, washed and pat dry, sliced
  • 1 green capsicum, diced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 4 springs mint, leaves only, washed and finely sliced
  • 2 gluten free wraps
  • Macadamia oil
  • 5 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 TBSP sumac
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Coconut oil
Turmeric rice
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 TBSP turmeric
Coconut dressing
  • 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
  • Olive oil, drizzle on top
  • Sumac, sprinkle on top

Method:

Beef koftas
  1. Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line baking tray with baking paper. 
  3. Place fresh coriander, onion and garlic in the food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add mince, ground coriander, cumin, paprika, allspice and season with salt and pepper. Process until well combined and paste like.
  4. Mould 2 TBSP beef mixture with your hands around one of the skewers. Place on the lined tray.
  5. Repeat with remaining mixture and skewers.
  6. Brush each kofta with a little coconut oil and cook in preheated oven for 4 minutes. After turning, cook for a further 4 minutes or until browned and just cooked through.
Fattoush salad
  1. Place wraps on another baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush side facing up with macadamia oil. Place in oven below koftas for 4 minutes. Flip onto other side and cook for a further 4 minutes or until crisp.
  2. Once crisp, cut into triangles and set aside.
  3. Place all the vegetables in a large bowl and toss to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, sumac, salt and pepper until well combined.
  5. Add the toasted wraps to the salad and toss well with the dressing.
Turmeric rice
  1. Rinse the rice to get rid of the excess starch that can make it stodgy. When the water runs clear it is ready. 
  2. Place rice, water, bay leaves and turmeric in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.
Coconut dressing
  1. Place coconut yoghurt in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sumac. Serve koftas with coconut yoghurt dressing. Enjoy!

Tasty dinner ready to be eaten!

What are your favourite spices to cook with?