Roasted Pumpkin Wild Rice + Pumpkin Seed Pesto

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Hello jeans! Hello crisp air! Hello October! I have a fondness for the Fall. Although the leaves don’t actually change colors here in Houston until closer to December, we still have a change of seasons. And for me that means one important thing: comfort food.

I’m a complete sucker for the pumpkin displays at the grocery store. So the other day I picked up a little pie pumpkin and decided to roast it and serve it with simple wild rice pilaf. I came up with the pesto idea when I was cleaning up the seeds. It’s really nice to use the entire vegetable.

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Working with pumpkin is a lot easier than you might think. I peeled it first. Cut thick pieces, working my way outside in to avoid the seeds. Then I chopped those pieces into 1 inch chunks and roasted them. To add more texture to the rice, I sauteed onion, celery and carrot first. For the pesto, I pureed roasted pumpkin seeds, basil, garlic and olive oil. It was all very simple stuff.

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I used this totally yummy sprouted rice blend of brown rice, red rice and wild rice. But you could use anything you like here, even another grain would work fine.

Roasted Pumpkin Wild Rice + Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Serves 4

1 pie pumpkin, peeled, seeds separated and rinsed

1 cup wild rice blend

2 stalks celery, diced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

1/2 onion, diced

1 3/4 cup water or vegetable broth or a combination of the two

1/2 Tbsp vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance)

1 tsp agave nectar or maple syrup

Coconut oil

Sea salt and pepper

Pumpkin seed pesto (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut pumpkin into 1 inch chunks, place on baking sheet and toss with 2 tsp coconut oil and salt and pepper. Roast until tender about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a small bowl. Gently toss pumpkin with vegan margarine and agave nectar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tsp coconut oil over medium heat and add celery, carrot and onion. Saute about 10 minutes or until tender.  Stir in rice and cook a few minutes to lightly toast the rice. Add liquid and bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat to simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.

Serve roasted pumpkin over wild rice and top with pesto.

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp olive oil

Sea salt

Add pumpkin seeds, basil and garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Puree until pumpkin seeds are finely chopped. This pesto will be a little chunkier than a traditional basil pesto. Through the tube, add olive oil while the machine is running. Add more olive oil if needed to get desired consistency. Taste and add salt to your liking.

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