Autumn brings an end to warmer and longer days but it does add great colour to our trees and plates. Squash plants and in particular pumpkins are in prime condition at this time of year. I’m definitely trying to make the most of them and adding them to lots of different dishes.
A simple spoonful of pesto brings lots of flavour to any recipe and I love to experiment with different combinations. Pesto is traditionally made using pine nuts but they can be quite expensive and hard to find in shops. Hence I use nuts or seeds in my recipes. Roasting pumpkin seeds until they begin to pop make a great base for pesto. So reserve your seeds when you are carving your pumpkin to make this very tasty pesto.
This pumpkin recipe is great as a side with roast or grilled chicken or added to any salad.
Find out more great pumpkin and squash recipes here.
- 1 small pumpkin
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp honey
- pinch of salt and pepper
Pumpkin Seed & Coriander Pesto:
- 30g pumpkin seeds (reserved from the fresh pumpkin)
- 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 40g coriander/mint/basil include the stalks
- 10g parmesan
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Preheat an oven to 180°C.
- Halve the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, set the seeds aside and slice the pumpkin into half moon shaped wedges.
- Stir the honey, oil, salt and pepper together in the bottom of a roasting tray before adding the pumpkin.
- Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Wash the seeds in a fine sieve, place in a dry frying pan over a low heat until they begin to pop.
- Place all the pesto ingredients excluding the olive oil in a food processor/blender or pestle and mortar. Combine until a smooth texture is formed, gradually adding the olive oil.
- Place the pesto in a sterilised glass jar with another layer of olive oil on top. Store in the fridge for 3 weeks.
- To serve: drizzle the pesto over the pumpkin wedges.
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This is the possibly the quickest dinner to russle up that delivers on taste, nourishment and style! Making your own pesto is an added extra but shop-bought works fine too. Prepare the chicken marinade the night before so all you have to do is pop it into the oven when you arrive in the door starving from the day. The pesto should keep fresh for at least 5 days in an jar in the fridge.
- 1 chicken breast
- 2 tbsp pesto
- 1 tbsp natural yoghurt
- 1/2 courgette
- 1 medium carrot
Almond & Basil Pesto:
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves & stalks
- squeeze fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- thumb length piece of Parmesan
- For the pesto: roast the almonds for about 20 mins at 180°C until the colour darkens but doesn’t burn! Add the roasted almonds, basil, garlic, lemon juice and 2 tbsp oil to a food processor and blitz until the almonds have broken down considerably, slowly adding the remaining oil. Grate in the Parmesan and continue to blitz until smooth. Add more oil if it is too dry.
- To marinade the chicken, simply place the pesto and natural yoghurt into a resealable bag, add the chicken, close the bag and mush it around until the chicken is well covered. If the night before, leave the chicken in the bag in the fridge.
- Otherwise, pour the chicken and contents into an ovenproof dish. Bake in the oven at 180°C for about 20 mins until the chicken is cooked through.
- Using a spiraliser/Julienne peeler/edgy knife, create thin long strands of the courgette and carrot.
- Place a large frying pan over a high heat, ensure the pan is hot enough by adding one veg strand and it should hiss once it hits the pan. Add the remaining veg and continuously toss ensuring they don’t stick.
- Reduce the heat and stir through some of the pesto juices from the chicken. Add more pesto and natural yoghurt if you want a more creamy sauce.
- To serve: slice the chicken into generous slices and serve on a bed of vegetables.
This is a lovely light salad for lazy summer days when you don’t feel like something heavy or what to waste a minute inside away from the sun! Works great on its own as a sharing starter plate, add some grilled chicken as a lunch option or simply as a side for a BBQ.
- 2 ripe nectarines
- 2 fresh mozzarella balls, strained
- 5-6 fresh basil leaves
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- Simply de-stone the nectarines, slice into segments and place around the outer edge of a large plate.
- Slice the strained mozzarella into even rounds and add to the centre of the plate.
- Gently tear the basil leaves in half and scatter over the plate.
- For the dressing, mix the remaining ingredients together until it thickens and using a spoon lightly drizzle over the plate.