This Baked Spiced Pumpkin recipe is not only utterly delicious but also comes with a funny story. We had friends over for dinner in the summer and had received some pumpkin in our local farmer’s box. Because we were doing a BBQ, my husband added some olive oil and spices to the pumpkin and put it on the grill. It was delicious – but I did not think much more of it.
Enter about three weeks later: I was on a plane and landed to about 10 messages from my friend asking me about the recipe for the pumpkin because she was craving it badly. By the end of the exchange I, also, was craving it super badly because she was describing it in mouth-watering detail. But, I was also none the wiser about the recipe because I had not added the spices to the pumpkin in the first place 🤷♀️.
So, back to the kitchen I went with the – might I add very loose – memory of my husband as to which spices he had used. It took a bit of playing and a few trials, but this version is amazing!! The spices are warming, comforting and perfectly complement the pumpkin. It is the highlight of the dish, which is the reason why I kept the other ingredients flavorful, complementary, but simple, in order to give the pumpkin its great opportunity to shine 💫. I also think it tastes even better this time of the year 😉.
Why is this Baked Spiced Pumpkin good for you?
Pumpkin is not only delicious but also a powerhouse when it comes to its nutrient content. It contains Vitamin A, which vital and essential in protecting your eyesight and keeps your immunity in check. Next to Vitamin C, E, and B2 it also contains quite a bit Potassium. Potassium helps the body with muscle strength, regulating your metabolism, water balance, and your nervous system. Potassium has been proven in some studies to help with managing both anxiety and feelings of stress. Pumpkin also contains some powerful antioxidants, which protect your body against damage from free radicals and may also protect from certain types of cancer.
Walnuts are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. This fat is essential, meaning our bodies cannot produce it ourselves, and we have to get it from our diet. Omega-3 fatty acids can lower your blood triglycerides, which essentially lowers your risk for heart disease and stroke. These fatty acids may also protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Walnuts also contain antioxidants that help reduce inflammation in our bodies and brains (is it a coincidence that the walnut looks like a tiny brain?!).
One of my favorite lettuces (next to kale) now that the fall and winter times have arrived! This salad is full of beta-carotene, which your body converts into Vitamin A within the body. It also contains Vitamin B9, which helps to form both DNA and RNA and plays a vital role in protein metabolism for your body. Vitamin B9 is also particularly important for pregnant women and their fetus development. Additionally, lambs lettuce contains Potassium, which, again, helps your body to manage and calm your nervous system.
Cayenne is a type of chili pepper. They are said to have been used in cooking as a medicinal property for ages. Cayenne contains healthy amounts of Vitamin A, E, C, B6, and K. The capsaicin in Cayenne’s may even increase your metabolism. Cayenne peppers have also been shown to reduce signs in hunger and could potentially aid your digestive health.
How to adjust this recipe to your dietary requirements?
This Baked Spiced Pumpkin could easily be made vegan and paleo by omitting the feta cheese. You may have to add a bit of salt to the dressing though, which you would have otherwise gotten from the cheese. You can also make this recipe nut-free by simply swapping the walnuts for pumpkin seeds.
And there you have it for this week 🤗 I sincerely hope you enjoy this Baked Spiced Pumpkin as a lovely starter for four or main for only two people who are feeling super hungry 😉. As always, if you do make this recipe I would love to hear from you! Please tag me with your creations under @life_and_lemons_foodblog and with the #lifeandlemonsfoodblog. You can also leave me a comment below👇🏻.
Baked Spiced PumpkinCourse: Entree, mainCuisine: VegeterianDifficulty: Easy
This baked spiced pumpkin is the perfect food for fall! This dish is nourishing, warming, comforting with just the right amount of heat.
- For the pumpkin
1 medium-sized Hokkaido pumpkin
1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 + ½ tsp cumin powder
1 + ½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cayenne
½ tsp paprika, spicy
½ tsp cinnamon
- For the salad
1 cup balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
About 250 gr of lambs lettuce, rocket or other dark, leafy salad greens
150 – 200 gr feta cheese
½ cup walnuts, crushed
Dash of pepper to serve
- Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 Fahrenheit) and set it to the grill setting. Line a baking tray with parchment paper
- Wash and cut open the pumpkin (you do not need to peel it). Scoop out the seeds and then cut into small, long pieces
- Mix the olive oil, salt, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Place each piece of pumpkin in the sauce and ensure it is covered – first from one side and then the other before laying on the baking tray. Do not put too much oil, else the pumpkin will go soggy. Put into the oven and bake for 25 minutes before turning over and baking for another 25. The pumpkin should be cooked and partially crisped up (like a chip).
- Whilst the pumpkin is baking, prepare the salad. Put the balsamic vinegar on the stove and let simmer over medium heat until 1/2 to 2/3 has evaporated. Take off heat and add olive oil to create a dressing
- To serve, wash the salad leaves and toss with the dressing. Add feta and walnuts on top before adding the spiced pumpkin. This recipe makes a great starter for 4 or a big main for 2 to 3. ENJOY!!