Before coming to New Zealand, I have to admit that I’d probably never tried pumpkin in my life. The only time it was available in supermarkets in the UK was around Halloween – and even then I’d only buy it to carve, then it would go straight in the bin. And I know I’m not alone.
But since coming here six months ago, I’ve had more pumpkin than you can shake a broomstick at – in curries, soups, salads, sides – and even desserts! Initially thinking I’d be so sick of it before I left, I was sceptical when we took one away with us on our road trip. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. It lasted us almost the entire trip – even though we ate it several times a week. And in our quest to be more conscious and sustainable eaters, it became a new favourite as the hero ingredient of our dinners. It’s filling, warming, colourful – and pretty damn delicious.
As autumn approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, we wanted to arm you with some of our favourite pumpkin recipes, so that when Halloween comes around, you won’t be tossing your creations straight in the compost- but serving them up for dinner instead. And for the Kiwis among you, don’t worry – pumpkins are available all year round in New Zealand, so you’ll always be able to get your kick even though winter’s nearly over.
Vegan Pumpkin, Chickpea & Spinach Curry
Ingredients (serves two)
For the curry
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 diced onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 chopped red chilli
2 tsp grated ginger
400ml coconut milk
1 Tbsp curry powder
1½ tsp garam masala
1 bag or bunch of spinach
For the rice
1 cup of rice
In a large frying pan, heat the coconut oil on a medium heat, then add your onion, garlic, chilli and ginger, and cook until soft. Stir through the curry powder and garam masala, stirring frequently, and cook for two minutes.
With this on the go, cut your pumpkin into small, bite-size chunks. Pour the coconut milk into your curry, and add your pumpkin pieces. Bring to the boil before simmering for around 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, place a cup of rice and two cups of water in a pot. Bring to the boil, then reducing to a low heat.
Once your pumpkin is soft, drain and rinse your chickpeas, and add to your curry along with your spinach, folding through until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
When your rice is cooked, drain and rinse your lentils and add to the rice, keeping the lid on for a few minutes to heat the lentils through.
With everything ready, fluff you rice and lentils with a fork, and serve with your curry. For extra goodness, steam your choice of veg – we love to add some broccoli and green beans on the side. Garnish with some fresh coriander, and enjoy!