Here’s a flavorful way to enjoy pumpkin. Loaded with nutrients and fiber from pumpkin and whole-grain quinoa, this salad can be served as a side or as a light vegetarian meal in itself.
1½ pounds firm-fleshed pumpkin or winter squash (acorn, butternut)
1½ teaspoons butter or dairy-free margarine or mild-flavored oil
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup uncooked quinoa, thoroughly rinsed in a sieve and drained
¼ cup pumpkin seeds, optional
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 handful basil leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Peel pumpkin or winter squash, remove seeds and cut flesh into small cubes (should yield 3 cups cubed pumpkin or squash). Put pumpkin or squash in medium-sized skillet with butter and rosemary. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat. Then remove lid and cook about 10 minutes more until just tender. Turn pumpkin or squash often as it cooks so that it doesn’t over-cook and get squishy. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Cook quinoa in plenty of gently boiling water for about 12 minutes or until it softens (organic quinoa may take a few minutes longer). Tip quinoa into a fine sieve, make several steam holes through it with the end of a skewer and leave it to drain.
3. If using pumpkin seeds, toast them in a small pan in a smidgen of hot oil. Cover seeds with a screen as they cook to absorb splatters. Tip them on to paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt.
4. Mix dressing ingredients together in a large bowl. Add quinoa and toss well. Then add pumpkin or squash, tomatoes and basil leaves and gently toss together. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over the top, if desired, and serve immediately.
Each serving contains 209 calories, 10g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 3mg cholesterol, 198mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 5g protein.
Recipe by Julie Biuso, author of Sizzle, Sensational Barbecue Food (Julie Biuso Publications).Yields 6 servings