This weekend saw many of us participating in Halloween celebration. I haven’t revelled in the festivities of Halloween since I was a child, and now I only really observe the true spirit of it when I’m greeted at my door by children disguised as witches and other ghoulish characters, and whom I always feel obliged to give a treat to because I can’t take the risk of being tricked.
Halloween, coinciding with the midst of autumn, is also a time when avid foodies take full advantage of farmer’s markets to make their seasonal culinary delights, however, if I see another pumpkin soup it will be too soon; I’m not a fan of soup at the best of times! I was always going to do a recipe post this week, but I debated whether I should conform and make the cliché pumpkin-based dish. Having talked myself out of it, I happened on a hearty, somewhat healthy pumpkin recipe which I thought I would try: it looked creamy (I typically love a Carbonara sauce); it gave me an opportunity to use my spiralizer again; it suggested I could sprinkle feta cheese on it; and it resembled proper comfort food, which is exactly what I need now the nights are drawing in and the temperatures are dropping. It’s a nutrient dense, plant-based gem of a meal if I do say so myself: Pumpkin & Lentil Courgetti.
I adapted the dish by adding some lentils to boost the protein and fibre content, substituted the cream for low fat natural yoghurt to reduce the fat and calorie content, and I used the seasoning I already stocked in my cupboard rather than what the recipe suggested.
What I used:
A generous slice of a whole pumpkin
500ml of vegetable stock (or to taste)
Herbs of choice including salt and pepper (I’m not keen on garlic but most chefs would suggest this I guess)
½ tin of lentils
What I did:
-Slice your pumpkin into smaller slices and place in a baking tray with your herbs of choice (I used bay leaves, thyme and rosemary), add a dash of salt & pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to cover all the slices. Put them in a pre-heated oven (gas mark 6) and roast until soft, which will be approximately 45 minutes
-Whilst they’re baking, prepare your other ingredients: sprialize the courgette (I tend to use my spiralizer for this) and sauté your lentils and onions in a pan
-When the pumpkins are roasted, you will need to puree them with some vegetable stock and two tablespoons of natural yoghurt; I also added a teaspoon of turmeric for colour and an additional nutritional kick. I just pureed it in my standard blender that I use to make smoothies to do this
-Add your spiralized courgette to the pan of lentils and onions and fry for a further 1-2 minutes. In my opinion you don’t want the courgette to be too soft, you want it to have a little al-dente bite just as you would with pasta in a sauce.
-Add the pureed pumpkin mixture to the pan of courgetti and lentils and heat through gently until piping hot.
-Serve with a generous amount of feta cheese and enjoy straight away.