How awesome are vegetables! They are so versatile, exciting, colourful, textural, interesting, and above all, nourishing. I love treating my vegetables as the main point of a meal, all you need is a bit of love and a few extra touches, and the next thing you know you’ll be turning your humble piece of pumpkin thats been hiding at the bottom of your veggie draw, into a beautiful, shining, and delicious star!
I came across this Naranka Gold Pumpkin at the markets here, I’ve never seen it before, but, as I love to roast pumpkin with its skin on, I thought the look of this pumpkin’s golden skin was very enticing. Roasted to perfection with a hint of sweetness and citrus, it was absolutely delicious. Not to mention the nutty wild rice, the bursts of sweetness from the pomegranate, the earthiness of the kale and the strong scent of the blue vein. It is perfectly satisfying as a main meal but would also be great as part of a feast, along with roasted meats, spreads, other salads and breads. You could also replace the rice with quinoa and the blue vein with goats cheese or feta.
1 1/2 cups blended black, red and brown rice
1/2 a small naranka gold pumpkin, about 800g-1kg, cut into thick 5cm wedges, seeds scraped out
1 tbs golden syrup
1 tbs lemon infused olive oil
1/2 cup mixed seeds, such as pepitas, sunflower and pine nuts, toasted
4 large kale leaves, about 120g, stems cut out and leaves finely shredded
Small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Handful of fresh parsley and mint, roughly chopped
120g blue vein cheese. crumbled
Fruit from 1 fresh pomegranate
2 tbs pomegranate molasses
Splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin with the lemon infused olive oil, maple syrup and some salt and pepper.
Lay the pieces of pumpkin in a single layer on the lined baking tray. Place in the oven and cook for about 45 mins, turning halfway, until golden and tender, crisp edges are good. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Boil the rice until tender. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl to cool.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until soft, about 5mins. Add the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and kale, and continue to sauté for another 5mins. Add to the bowl with the rice, along with half of the toasted seeds, half of the pomegranate, the fresh herbs, a splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Mix well.
Empty the rice mixture out onto a large serving plate. Top with the pumpkin, the rest of the seeds, the rest of the pomegranate, the blue vein, and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.