Beautiful October, when the air turns crisp, leaves are showing their true colors and, yes, pumpkins are popping up on many porches. Some are surprised to know that these delightful orange gourds are more than just Halloween decorations, they are deliciously edible. Pumpkin can be enjoyed in more forms than just pumpkin pie or your pumpkin spiced latte, it makes a healthy side dish to add to any meal. This nutty, slightly sweet winter squash can be boiled, steamed, or roasted to make a savory side dish or sweet dessert. Besides being delicious, pumpkin is jam packed with vitamins A and C, and is a great source of dietary fiber. So when taking the kids to the pumpkin patch this October, be sure to pick a pumpkin for eating as well as carving!
Roasted Pumpkin with Quinoa, Dates, and Sage
Serves 8-10 Active Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Cook Time: 1 ½ hours
1 small sugar pumpkin (2 to 3 pounds) halved and seeded
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups quinoa
*2-3 cups pitted Medjool dates, julienned
*¼ cup small sage leaves torn
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, Cut Pumpkin into about 3-inch chunks and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet skin-side down. Drizzle pumpkin pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast pumpkin until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let sit until it’s cool enough to handle. Peel and discard the skin and place the roasted pumpkin in a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, place a large dry skillet over medium heat and add quinoa, toast for 5- 10 minutes. Add 3 cups of water (or broth) and 1 tablespoon of salt; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer the quinoa until all the water has been absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add quinoa to the bowl of pumpkin along with dates, sage leaves and ¼ cup olive oil. Toss gently to combine. Serve at room temperature.
Note* This recipe can be adapted to what’s in your pantry. No dates? Try raisins, dried cranberries or dried apricots. No fresh sage? Substitute with 1.5 tablespoons dried sage; or try a few sprigs of rosemary. Want to add a crunch to this side dish? Try toasted walnuts or sliced almonds.
Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence of the Food Network.