When cooking for friends, I often have visions of that scene from Bridget Jones’s Diary with the blue soup and marmalade mush.
So, I used to refuse to do it in fear of failure.
But now I enjoy it.
Because I have learned how to cheat.
I discovered that simple meals can blow people’s socks off (in a very “non-blue-soup” kind of way).
Here is a recipe you can make for 1-10 guests without extra effort. Plus, you have time to socialise while the elements are making themselves.
Yes, that’s right. Making themselves, people.
Quinoa Stuffed Individual Pumpkins
Cooking time: 1hr
1 small pumpkin/squash per guest*
1 cup quinoa per 4 people
1tsp vegetable stock powder
Desired vegetables (zucchini, mushroom, anything you love)
Big handful spinach
1 tbsp coconut oil
Optional: 1 x 175gm pack goat’s or sheep’s feta, cubed small (for vegan, swap for diced black olives)
To prepare the pumpkin:
Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius / 350 Farenheit
Remove the top by cutting downwards into the centre in a squarish/hectagonal shape.
Use the knife to prise the top up, which may bring some seeds with it. Cut these off.
Use a spoon to scoop out all seeds and create an empty cavity.
Rub the coconut oil inside each pumpkin, replace the tops and place in oven for approx. 1 hr (depending on size).
When outside is mildly crisping, pumpkins are done.
To Prepare Quinoa Stuffing:
Place quinoa and package recommended amount of water into pot.*
Add stock powder and vegetables (not spinach)
Cook according to quinoa packet directions.
*Cheat: I use my rice cooker. It cooks perfectly without me checking, and stays warm until the pumpkins are ready.
Add spinach and feta/olives to quinoa mixture.
Carefully take tops off pumpkins and stuff with mixture.
Golden nugget, butternut, any small pumpkin that will stand on its own is perfect. Markets are great for finding these babies, or ask your grocer to order for you.
Organic quinoa is best for taste and health. Remember to wash it thoroughly first!
This is filling enough for a main meal, and tastes so good I can’t even tell you.
Gluten free, lactose free, meat free.
Author: Crystal Davis
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: Courtesy of the Author
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