Far more than just a decoration at Halloween, pumpkins are a nutrient-dense food that are rich in vitamins and minerals and low in calories, too. In fact, the only scary thing about them is how often they're over-looked! This vegetable is a great source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that can reduce the risk of developing cancer, protect against asthma and heart disease, as well as delay ageing and body degeneration. So, rather than carving menacing faces on them this season, cook up an array of healthy treats – no tricks included!
Asparagus, salmon & pumpkin rice bowl
Great for a midweek dinner Serves: 2 • 500g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces. • 1tbsp oil • 2tsp cumin seeds • Pinch of chilli flakes • 2cm ginger grated • 1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed • 2 salmon fillets • 2tsp honey • 200g cooked brown rice • 1tbsp peanuts, chopped • 4 sprigs coriander • Squeeze of lemon 1. Heat the oven to 220°C. Toss the pumpkin, oil, cumin, chilli and a pinch of salt in a large oven tray and roast for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, rub the ginger over the salmon and drizzle with honey. 2. After 25 minutes, add the asparagus and salmon to the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes. 3. Once cooked, put the pumpkin, asparagus and rice in a bowl. Top with a salmon fillet, the chopped peanuts and coriander. Squeeze a little lemon over everything. Serve and enjoy!
Costs £ 1.81 per serving Serves: 4 • 2kg pumpkin • 2tbsp olive oil • 125g bulgur wheat, rinsed • 300ml hot vegetable stock • 1 onion, roughly chopped • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped • Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped • Small handful chives, chopped • 100g pack goat’s cheese, cut into 1 cm pieces 1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Slice the top quarter off the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and discard. Put the pumpkin on a baking tray and brush the inside with a tablespoon of olive oil. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, put the bulgur wheat in a heatproof bowl and cover with the hot vegetable stock. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes. Drain well. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and fry for one minute before adding the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened. 3. Stir the onion mixture, parsley and most of the chives and goat’s cheese into the bulgur wheat; season well. 4. Remove the pumpkin from the oven. Reduce the oven to 180°C. Spoon the mixture into the pumpkin and top with the remaining cheese. Return to the oven for a further 30 minutes, or until golden. Serve scattered with the remaining chives.
219 calories per serving Serves: 4 • 400g pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 2.5cm cubes • 120g ricotta, drained • 50g finely grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve • 1 egg, lightly beaten • 200g plain flour, plus extra to dust • 60g salted butter • 1tsp oil • 20 sage leaves 1. Steam the pumpkin in a colander and set over a pan of simmering water, or use a steamer pan, for 20 minutes until very soft and tender. 2. Using a potato masher, mash the steamed pumpkin to a smooth purée. Line a surface with kitchen paper and spread the pumpkin purée over before patting dry to ensure you remove as much moisture as possible. 3. In a bowl or food processor, mix the pumpkin purée, ricotta, grated Parmesan, the egg, ¼ teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Stir well to combine, then add the flour and use a wooden spoon to mix to a soft dough, taking care not to over mix. 4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and cut into four. Roll each piece into a 1.5cm wide log. Cut the log into 2cm pieces using a floured knife. Gently mark each gnocchi with the back of a floured fork to achieve the traditional ridges. 5. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Tip in half the gnocchi and cook for 1-2 minutes, until they rise to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and cook the remaining gnocchi. 6. Heat 15g butter and the oil in a large frying pan. Add half the gnocchi and fry for 2 minutes or until starting to brown. Add 15g more butter and, once melted, add the sage leaves. Fry for 1-2 minutes, until the gnocchi are golden all over and the sage is crispy. Repeat with the remaining butter, gnocchi and sage leaves. 7. Divide between serving plates. Season with a twist of black pepper and some shavings of Parmesan.