I’m slightly obsessed with side dishes because I love vegetables. I’ve always loved them. Raw, steamed, grilled, mashed, blended, juiced. I can’t get enough of them.
Most kids are of course a bit harder to convince when it comes to veggies, but I find that roasting really works wonders. When roasted, vegetables caramelize around the edges, intensifying and sweetening the taste.
In addition, I find it a very easy and time-efficient way of preparing vegetables: you just have to add a few oils and spices, put them in the oven and forget about them while you do something else.
That’s why you’ll often find oven-roasted veggies on my dinner table.
From September to December, roasted pumpkin is often the star of the table. Most kids adopt pumpkin quite easily thanks to its slightly sweet taste.
Although the taste of roasted pumpkin is great on its own, I like to add a few spices for extra flavour and nutrients. In this recipe I use thyme, turmeric (curcuma), and pepper to jazz things up.
In most of my roasted recipes I use extra virgin olive oil and tamari (fermented soy sauce) as liquid ingredients. I almost always add garlic because we love the flavour, and some pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds to add crunch.
Towards the end I crumble some feta on top. When I serve this as a main vegetarian dish, I just add more feta, in bigger chunks.
But be creative and feel free to experiment with different tastes and spices, such as cinnamon, paprika, cumin, and honey, to name a few.
Why is pumpkin healthy?
Pumpkin is part of the winter squash family including butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash. Just like other orange coloured vegetables, pumpkins are a very good source of carotenes, which are powerful antioxidants and good for your eyes and skin.
They’re also fairly high in vitamin C, and some of the B-vitamins. And of course they’re full of dietary fiber, which helps lower blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation.
How to cut a pumpkin
I have to admit I used to find pumpkins a bit intimidating. Some are just so huge and thick-skinned that cutting them into pieces is not exactly the battle I want to have at the end of a long day.
So here's my secret weapons when dealing with pumpkins:
- Use a good knife, and it will do the job for you.
And here’s how you cut and chop pumpkin:
- Dig the tip of your chef’s knife in the top centre of the pumpkin and push the handle down all the way through the pumpkin. With a good sharp knife this will be a piece of cake
- Using a tablespoon, remove all the seeds
- Now cut both halves to have 4 quarters
- Cut off top and tail.
- Cut into 2 cm strips.
- Cut into cubes.
55 min grill
- 800 g pumpkin flesh, with skin (about ½ a pumpkin, depending on size)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 3 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp. thyme
- ½ tsp. turmeric (curcuma)
- 1 + ½ tbsp. tamari (fermented soy sauce)
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Pepper to taste
- ¼ cup crumbled feta
- Preheat the oven to 180° C (356° F)
- Cut the pumpkin into cubes (see tips above)
- In a mixing bowl, add the garlic, seeds, thyme, turmeric, tamari, and olive oil, and mix well with a spoon or your hands
- Spread the pumpkin evenly onto a baking tray lined with a baking sheet. Try to arrange them in a single layer for best results
- After 40 minutes add the crumbled feta and roast for another 5 minutes
- Enjoy hot or cold