December has arrived and we have really made a shift into winter mode in Mallorca! Chilly evenings and shorter days calls for comfort food that will keep our energy levels up and our immune system boosted.
At this time of year, we need Vitamin A (beta-carotene) rich foods. Think orange in colour – pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, carrots, oranges will all help to support the immune system and skin. They are also rich in antioxidants (carotenoids) that will cleanse the body. These foods are in season and readily available at all of the local markets.
This tasty recipe is protein rich and gluten-free. Delicious quinoa, immune boosting mushrooms, superfood kale, respiratory system supporting thyme. The cranberries and local almonds bring in those festive flavours.
1 large pumpkin or butternut squash
1 table spoon of coconut oil, olive oil or ghee
1 cup of quinoa
2 large onions, finely chopped
250g brown mushrooms, quartered
2 large stems of kale, stems removed and finely chopped
3 tbsp of white wine or water
1 tsp dried thyme
sea salt and pepper
1 cup of cranberries (fresh, frozen or dried)
1 handful of raw almonds, coarsley chopped (or pumpkin seeds)
Preheat the oven to 200°C
Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin, shaping a ‘lid’. Scoop out the seeds and pulp. Rub the inside with oil. Now it is ready to be stuffed
Place quinoa in a sieve and pour over hot water. Rinse and drain. Place in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups water or stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat immediately and let gently simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for 10 minutes
Heat oil in a large skillet. Sauté onions, mushrooms and kale for a couple of minutes until soft. Add wine, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 more minutes
When the liquid has almost evaporated, add cranberries, almonds, parsley
Turn the heat off and remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the cooked quinoa
Add the crumbled feta and combine
Fill the pumpkin with the quinoa stuffing
Place the pumpkin ‘lid’ on top. Bake in the oven for about an hour (maybe less or more, depending on size of the pumpkin)
Check the pumpkin flesh with a knife from time to time and stir around the stuffing with a spoon. The pumpkin is ready when skin is browned and bubbly and the flesh is soft
Garnish with parsley and feta
About the author
Suzanne is a Nutritional Therapist trained in London at College of Naturopathic medicine. She has 25 years experience as a chef and recently trained in raw foods, at a gourmet level with Matthew Kenney.
Suzanne’s business is Vital Nutrition which she founded in 2008. She offers private consultancies focusing on diet and lifestyle improvements supporting patients on their journey to optimum health. Her regular cookery workshops are delicious, fun and educational and her cooking skills are available to private clients, on retreats and for chef training.