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!

Roasted vegetable quinoa salad with pesto

I cannot believe it has been a week since Melbourne Cup, as the year goes on time just seems fly by! To celebrate Melbourne Cup at work we all brought in a dish to enjoy for lunch whilst watching the race. I hope you backed a winner!

I made this roasted vegetable quinoa salad with pesto as it caters for almost all dietary requirements as it’s gluten free, vegan, dairy free and can be made nut free by swapping the pine nuts for pumpkin seeds in the pesto.

Basil pesto

My very first post was a quinoa salad (actually, very similar to this one) and remembered how delicious it was. It’s really the perfect dish as it feeds a lot of people, it’s very tasty and you can use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.

I added lemon juice to the pesto as it lends a freshness to this otherwise heavier salad due to the roasted vegetables.

Salad ready to be served!

This salad will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Roasted vegetable quinoa salad with pesto

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 4 cups vegetables (I used carrot, sweet potato, red and green capsicum, potato, pumpkin and zucchini), all thoroughly washed and diced*
  • Coconut oil
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, washed
  • 2 cups basil, washed and dried
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/8 cup macadamia oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place vegetables onto baking paper and coat with just enough coconut oil.
  3. Roast for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down.
  4. Place basil, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and garlic in the food processor. Process until everything is combined. Slowly add macadamia oil (you may not need 1/8 cup) and continue to process until it forms a paste. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Mix together the cooked quinoa, roasted vegetables and spinach leaves in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Fold through the pesto and mix until the quinoa and vegetables have all been coated. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • If you like to keep the skin on your vegetables (like me) ensure they are washed thoroughly to remove all the dirt
  • This is delicious when topped with hummus and sliced avocado!
  • I doubled the recipe for Melbourne Cup and it served 10 people easily
  • If you don’t use all the pesto, keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days!

What’s your favourite dish to bring to a friend’s party/work function?

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 with eggplant, fig and goat cheese salad

As last week was quite busy for me I tried to keep my meals simple yet full of flavour. This was a quick and healthy salad I made up for dinner, drawing inspiration from the ingredients that were in the fridge! I love the contrast of the earthy eggplant against the sweetness of the fresh figs. I will definitely be recreating this whenever I need a tasty meal on the go!

Bursting with flavours!

Beef with eggplant, fig and goat cheese salad

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 fillet organic grass-fed beef
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/4 eggplant, washed and diced
  • 1 fig, washed and cut into slices
  • 50g goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup spinach leaves, washed
  • 1 TBSP pine nuts
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. In a small frypan, place 1 TBSP coconut oil and beef. Cook for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for a further 2 minutes, longer if you prefer it well done. Let it rest for a few minutes once cooked then slice.
  2. In another small frypan, place 1 TBSP coconut oil and eggplant. Cook for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for a further 3 minutes. Season with salt.
  3. In a bowl, place spinach leaves, eggplant, fig and goat cheese. Toss until well combined.
  4. Add pine nuts and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Arrange salad on the plate then top with sliced beef. Enjoy!

Have you ever used figs in a salad? If yes, I’d love to know how!

Homemade zucchini pesto ‘pasta’ with goat cheese and asparagus

As much as I love cooking, usually the last thing I feel like doing after a long busy day is cook a complicated meal. This zucchini pasta recipe is very simple yet packed with flavour. It is a great dish to have any night of the week!

Vibrant green pesto

After making your own fresh pesto it is very difficult to go back to using the store-bought version. When you do have the chance to make some, make enough to last a few meals and store in a glass container in the fridge. That way you’ll always have fresh pesto on hand to enhance any meal.

Ribboned zucchini

By using ribboned zucchini instead of actual pasta, you are still able to have the ‘pasta’ experience along with all nutrients from the zucchini.

Asparagus

A little tip when preparing asparagus for cooking, always break the ends off. This removes the woody end and leaves you with the fresh spear. I actually find snapping the ends quite therapeutic!

Light, healthy dinner served

Homemade zucchini pesto ‘pasta’ with goat cheese and asparagus

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchinis, ribboned
  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 50g goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, washed
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, extra for on top
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced, 1 for pesto and 1 for zucchini
  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Place basil, spinach leaves, pine nuts, 1 garlic clove and nutritional yeast in the food processor. Process until well combined. Add the olive oil slowly whilst processing. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large frypan, place the other garlic clove and 1 TBSP coconut oil over medium heat. Add zucchini and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. In a small frypan, add 1 TBSP coconut oil and asparagus over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. In two bowls, place zucchini, asparagus, pesto and goat cheese. Top with pine nuts and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

What is your go-to meal after a long busy day?