Being in the Southern hemisphere, we don’t quite have the same obsession with all things pumpkin at this time of year as our Northern hemisphere counterparts. Between Halloween and Thanksgiving, pumpkins seem to dominate food blogs, dining room tables, and even front porches.
Whilst pumpkin is pretty much a staple in my diet all year round, and most of the recipes that are floating around are probably better suited to a colder climate, I am more than happy to jump on the bandwagon at this time of year.
I’m working two days a week on daylight savings time at the moment. Which means having to leave home by 5.45am to get there on time. As such, having lunches prepared has been more important than usual. You have no idea how good it is to not have to think about what I am going to eat that day at 5.30am. Successfully putting on makeup is enough of a mental challenge that has actually been called into question by people I am working with (apparently I should reconsider drawing on eyebrows before 6am).
Anyway, a few weeks ago, while reading Delicious magazine, I stumbled across an amazing “vegetarian meatloaf” recipe that looked perfect for premade lunches. They had me at pumpkin.
This pumpkin, chickpea and quinoa loaf with crispy sage is incredibly simple to make, high in protein and healthy nutrients, and makes for an extremely balanced meal in each slice. I froze the slices in individual sandwich bags, which I grab out in the morning and eat at lunch with my aunty’s homemade tomato chutney or fresh avocado. I didn’t have buckwheat flour, so I substituted it for oat flour, which worked out perfectly!
- 1/2 cup (100g) quinoa, rinsed, drained
- 400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
- 21/2 cups (350g) firmly packed grated pumpkin
- 60g baby spinach leaves
- 2 cups (300g) buckwheat flour
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 4 eggs
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 2 thyme sprigs, leaves chopped
- 1/2 bunch sage, leaves picked
- Avocado or homemade tomato chutney, to serve
- Place quinoa and 3/4 cup (185ml) water in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Cover with a lid, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Cool.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a 22cm x 10cm loaf pan with baking paper. Place chickpeas in a bowl and roughly crush using the back of a fork. Add cooled quinoa, pumpkin, spinach, our, apple cider vinegar, bicarb, eggs, oil and thyme.
- Chop half the sage and add to the bowl. Season. Stir to combine, then spread into pan. Top with remaining sage and drizzle with extra oil.
- Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean and sage is crisp. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then slice and serve immediately with a salad and tomato chutney or freeze in individual bags for lunches.