Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween-stuffed pumpkin with spider surprise

Trick or treat?
Halloween, as well as other holidays, are not a big deal at my house. Ritalin Boy (RB/hubby) is all about being practical and well, holidays definitely do not fall into the category of "practical." They are more about "pure fun" and enjoyment of family and friends. RB does appreciate the family/friends aspect of holidays and especially, the sugar aspect of Halloween.

Vegan lentil/quinoa spider on bed of pumpkin

On the other hand, I am a kid at heart who cannot give up on Halloween. There will be no trick or treaters at our doorstep because we live far off the beaten path. But I celebrate by conjuring up a ghoulish recipe of some sort. This year, I am tweaking my diet to make it as anti-inflammatory as possible as I am trying to rule out any cause of my chronic pain. It's not fibromyalgia; it's not arthritis; we're not sure what it is. I only know it's painful.

I can only eat healthy sweets so that rules out most Halloween goodies. I decided to focus on a Halloween-inspired entree with the result being Stuffed pumpkin with a spidery surprise. This is a multi-step recipe that can seem overwhelming. The trick is doing some of the prep in advance. For instance, you will need to bake pumpkin halves for 1-1/2 hours depending on their size. This can be done ahead of time. The vegan lentil/quinoa spiders also can be made a day or so in advance and stored in the freezer.

Stuffed pumpkin with a spidery surprise
Servings: 2    Time: 2 hours

Ingredients for pumpkin and stuffing:

  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 2-4 T. vegan pesto
Ingredients for vegan lentil/quinoa spiders
  • 1/2 cooked lentils
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 2 T. chia seed
  • 2 T. Bragg's amino acids
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 roasted red pepper strips
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. coconut nectar or agave
Halloween-inspired pumpkin with spider surprise

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds and discard or save for later use.
  • Place the pumpkin halves in a large baking pan. Brush the insides of the pumpkin halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip the pumpkins over and pour 1/4 inch of water into the bottom of the baking dish. Place the baking pan into the center of the preheated oven and bake for 1-1 1/2 hours or until pumpkin halves are soft.
  • Meanwhile, make the vegan lentil/quinoa spiders. Mix all the ingredients(except for roasted red pepper strips) in a large bowl. Mixture will be sticky but manageable.
  • Form spider-shapes out of the dough and place on a sprayed baking sheet. You will probably get 8-12 depending on the size of your spiders.
  • Bake along with the pumpkin for 25-30 minutes. Turn half way through.
  • These freeze well.
  • Closer to serving time, saute sliced onion and julienned zucchini and carrots until tender.
  • For the pesto, I tossed 1 cup pumpkin seeds, 1 bunch kale leaves, 1/4 cup each olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper, 1 tsp. cumin in my food processor.  Pulse to make a pesto sauce. Or substitute a pesto of your choice.
  • To serve, fill each pumpkin half with the sauted veggie mixture and 2 T. + pesto. Top with a vegan lentil/quinoa spider. Arrange the roasted pepper strips around the spider body to form legs.

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