This year is absolutely flying by, I can’t actually believe it’s already Halloween… and pumpkin season!
I bought a beautiful little pumpkin last week from which I will be enough to make two or three dishes. The first one I’m sharing with you today, is a very simple dish of roasted pumpkin, kale and black rice noodles – you can use any pasta or noodles of your choice, I just particularly love the black rice noodles for the Halloweeny feel. I love a quick, simple, throw together meal, and this one definitely fits into this category perfectly. Although I love cooking and have tons of amazing recipe books (which I do get out and cook from occasionally), sadly my life doesn’t currently always allow me the time to make fancy, elaborate meals. For this reason, the recipes I tend to share here with you are generally things that are quick and easy, the real food that we eat as a busy family.
So instead of just carving your pumpkin today, make sure you eat some too. The orange colour of pumpkins, is a give away for the high amounts of beta-carotene they provide. Especially important for eye health, Vitamin A, which beta carotenes are converted into, is also required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucosal linings. Consuming foods rich in beta carotenes may reduce the risk of heart disease, while the potassium, fibre and vitamin C content of pumpkin is beneficial for protecting the heart and improving blood pressure, delaying ageing and macular degeneration.
Pumpkin also provides us with a good source of B-complex vitamins including folate, B3, vitamin B6, B1 and B5, important for energy production, good mood and many other important body functions. It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
Although very nutrient dense, pumpkin is also a very low calorie vegetables. 100 g fruit provides just 26 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.
Before I move on to the recipe, here’s a little bit about kale, probable one of my favourite veg, and black rice, also known as ‘The Forbidden Rice’.
Kale is one of the most nutrient rich vegetable around, containing vitamin A, C, K and B6, B1 and B3, calcium, magnesium, copper and potassium, iron and phosphorus. The vitamin A is derived from beta-carotenes but in the case of kale it is masked by kale’s rich chlorophyll content. Among it’s many health benefits, Chlorophyll is a potent antioxidant, promotes the body’s healing and helps cleanse and detox the body of toxic heavy metals.
Black rice is an amazing food also, naturally gluten free with a protein content higher than its other rice types counterparts. It’s rich in iron, fibre – great for digestive health and antioxidants such as Vitamin E, which is useful in maintaining eye, skin, and immune health in addition to other important functions.
This is a good dinner to have on the go when you need to do ten things at the same time. The pumpkin roasts in the oven without needing much attention at all, then the rest comes together in 10min flat.
Pumpkin, Kale and Black Rice Noodles
Ingredients (serves 2):
1/2 small pumpkin
big bunch of kale
120g black rice noodles (or the pasta or noodles of your choice)
1tbsp coconut oil
1tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
hand full of pumpkin seeds
Chop the pumpkin (I left the skin on, but you can peel it if you prefer) and place in a baking tray. Add the coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a pre-heated oven at Gas mark 6 / 200C and roast for 30min or until tender. In the mean time prepare your kale by washing it, removing the stalks and chopping it.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and add your noodles or pasta following the cooking instructions on the packet. Once cooked, drain, cover and set aside. In a shallow frying pan add some water, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1/2cm and bring to the boil. Add the kale and cook for 2-3 min. If the water has evaporated add the Olive Oil and garlic and cook for another 2-3min (if there’s still water in the pan, then drain it off before adding the garlic and olive oil). Add the roasted pumpkin and black rice noodles and stir through. Add more salt and pepper to tasted and scatter pumpkin seeds over to serve.