Autumn means PUMPKINS, one of the very low calorie vegetables. They are a particularly good source of dietary fibre, as well as a range of vitamins and minerals.
Quinoa (a mix of white and red), cooked in vegetable stock, scented with cinnamon, tossed with pumpkin seeds and cranberries, is stuffed into Hokkaido pumpkin halves, then baked until tender for a delicious, gluten-free, vegetarian meal. You can easily replace the Hokkaido with another squash like acorn or kabocha.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When it is hot, add the diced onion and ground cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add the quinoa to the saucepan and stir to coat the grains. Add the stock and raise the heat to high. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, add the cranberries, and cover the pan. Cook at a slow simmer until the liquid has been absorbed, 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the Hokkaido pumpkin in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds and fibers. Place the pumpkin halves on a rimmed baking sheet and set it aside.
- When the quinoa is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 190C/375F.
- Divide the quinoa filling among the pumpkin halves. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast until the quinoa is hot and the flesh of the pumpkins is tender when pierced with a skewer or fork, 50 minutes. Serve immediately.