Not quite sure who else around here is into baking pumpkin in the middle of summer, other than me that is, but here I am trying to convince you to ditch the salads, soups or raw pasta dinners for one night and stuff a pumpkin. Or two. Because it’s too good not to do it. And because you shouldn’t wait ages for that colder weather. Your tummy needs some pumpkin lovin’ now!
There’s really not much I can say about this pumpkin that is not already clear from the photos. It’s baked to sweet, tender perfection. The filling it sweet and mildly spicy. Perfect. Soft, sweet shallot onions come through, flavorsome currants and deliciously chewy quinoa. And you have to add those herbs and spices! Thyme and nutmeg make the filling even dreamier. Oh, and you have to serve it freshly baked and hot. Or right after you finish taking photos of it.
I already had some leftover plain cooked quinoa from a salad I had the day before (I always cook extra quinoa and it never ever goes to waste!) and that made this recipe extremely easy to put together. It’s easy if you have to make it from scratch (just chuck 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water/veggie stock in a rice cooker), but it’s literally effortless if you have some precooked grains of some sort. Millet, wholegrain cous cous, quinoa or brown rice all work great I reckon.
- 1 pumpkin (I used a 1kg one)
- For the filling:
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 small shallot onion, finely minced
- a handful of currants
- pumpkin flesh, grated (what you scoop out to make room for the filling)
- 2 tsps fresh thyme
- sea salt flakes, to taste
- black pepper, to taste (I was quite generous)
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- chili flakes, to taste (I was generous with this too)
- 2 TBSP olive oil for cooking
- To serve: more fresh thyme, pumpkin seeds and pine nuts, good olive oil
- Preheat your oven to about 190-200C and line a baking dish with baking paper.
- Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. If needed, also scoop out some of the flesh to make room for the filling.
- Finely grate the pumpkin flesh if you scoop out any and combine it with the rest of the ingredients and seasonings for the filling.
- Fill your pumpkin halves, gently pressing the filling in.
- Place the pumpkins in the baking dish making sure they won’t roll over. You can put them next to each other.
- Sprinkle another 2 TBSP of olive oil on top, add a bit more black pepper and cover them with aluminium foil. This does not need to be sealed all the way around the pumpkins, just needs to roughly cover the top and sides, so that the quinoa filling remains moist.
- Bake until the pumpkin is tender. About 35-40 minutes.
- Serve with fresh thyme, pine nuts and pumpkin seeds and sprinkle them with some good olive oil.