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?

Vegan spelt pizza

I love having pizza nights. There’s something so enjoyable about getting friends together, making pizzas and watching movies.

This spelt pizza is a healthy, vegan alternative to the traditional pizzas. Please don’t let the term ‘vegan’ deter you from making it. Vegan basically means it does not contain any animal products e.g. eggs, honey, chicken, goat cheese, etc. However, feel free to add some chicken or lamb as toppings if you’d like some animal protein!

Mixing the wet and dry ingredients

What I really like about spelt flour is it’s very filling, but surprisingly doesn’t make you feel heavy.

Finished kneading, ready for rolling!

It’s important to knead the dough as this helps it to come together and makes it easier to roll out.

Ready to be baked

I baked this before adding the toppings as this ensured it was properly cooked.

All toppings on

I love the combination of earthy basil pesto and zesty cashew cheese – they really complement each other.

Dinner is served!

This pizza will keep in the fridge for up to four days in a sealed container. Reheat in the oven at 180C/350F for 10 minutes or enjoy cold!

Spelt pizza

Makes 1 large pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour, extra for flouring surface
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons macadamia oil
Toppings (feel free to adapt to suit your tastebuds)
  • Basil pesto
  • Cashew nut cheese – place in a ziplock bag, cut off one corner and squeeze to pipe the cheese on top
  • Red onion, washed and chopped
  • Zucchini, washed and chopped
  • Spinach leaves, washed
  • Asparagus, washed and chopped
  • Pumpkin, washed and chopped
  • Mushroom, washed and sliced
  • Broccolini, washed and chopped
  • Red capsicum, washed and chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line baking tray or pizza tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the spelt flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center and add the water and oil. Combine ingredients gradually, be careful not to over mix.
  4. Transfer the dough to a clean, floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes, until smooth.
  5. Roll the dough out to your desired thickness and place on prepared tray and into oven.
  6. Bake spelt base for 10 minutes then removed from oven.
  7. Place pesto, then toppings of your choice, finishing with cashew nut cheese.
  8. Place into oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden on top.
  9. Slice to serve and enjoy!

What are your favourite pizza toppings?

Moroccan mince and vegetables topped with hummus

I am a huge fan of moroccan dishes; the earthy spices used provide so many warming flavours and really enhance any meal. This mince recipe is such an easy mid-week dish that will definitely tantalise your tastebuds.

With winter approaching in Australia, this would be great served over some cooked quinoa or served with some fresh spelt/gluten free pita bread to scoop up all the delicious flavours.

Easy yet tasty meal

Moroccan mince with vegetables topped with hummus

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 100g organic beef mince
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 large eggplant, washed and diced
  • 1/2 zucchini, washed and diced
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves, washed
  • 1 TBSP homemade hummus or store-bought gluten free version
  • Pine nuts for serving
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. In a medium-sized frypan over medium heat place 1 TBSP coconut oil and onion. Cook for 1 minute then add mince. Cook for 5 minutes then add all the spices, salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside covered.
  2. In the same pan over medium heat place the other TBSP coconut oil, mushrooms, eggplant and zucchini. Cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the mince mixture and spinach leaves. Cook until spinach has just wilted.
  3. Serve with a dollop of hommus, pine nuts and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Do you enjoy cooking with Moroccan spices? If yes, which ones in particular?

Lentil chickpea soup with quinoa, pumpkin and spinach

I am a sucker for a hearty soup and with winter fast approaching it definitely makes me want to start cooking them! I find them comforting, very filling and full of essential nutrients. My favourites are pumpkin soup and chicken and vegetable soup, but I think I now have a new favourite!

Pumpkin coated in spices

The spices provide this soup with a rich earthy flavour and when served with the guacamole, the lime really makes the flavours pop.

Full of vegetables

This soup is a great way to use up extra cooked quinoa. Quinoa is full of protein and has a low-GI which is beneficial in keeping blood sugar levels stable.

Winter warming soup

Lentil chickpea soup with quinoa, pumpkin and spinach

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 brown onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 TBSP macadamia oil
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP turmeric
  • 1 TBSP dried coriander leaves
  • 700g pumpkin, washed and diced
  • 6 tomatoes, washed and diced
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and washed
  • 1 can green lentils, drained and washed
  • 2 cups spinach leaves, washed
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • Serve with guacamole

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add cumin, turmeric and coriander and cook until fragrant, around 2 minutes.
  3. Add the pumpkin and stir to coat in spices.
  4. Stir in the vegetable stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add chickpeas and lentils and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft.
  6. Take off the heat and stir in the spinach leaves and quinoa.
  7. Serve with guacamole and enjoy!

Do you have a favourite winter soup flavour?