Orange, Pumpkin Quinoa w/ Pomegranate & Candied Walnuts

It’s the festive season so here on Veggie num num I’m celebrating with this beautiful vegan Christmas inspired recipe plus offering a chance for you and someone you love to win a copy of my new book Going Veggie!

This time of year is always filled with a little sense of magic, anticipation and joy for me and I can’t wait to travel home this year to celebrate a big family Christmas. With my side of the family all in the one place for the first time in forever!! We’ve been excitedly discussing the food for our Christmas day lunch and pouring over recipes for different vegetarian dishes, crunchy salads and I can’t wait for the decadent desserts whipped up by my talented sister. Did I mention I seriously cannot wait!!

This vegetarian Christmas recipe is a recreation of a tasty pumpkin quinoa recipe I shared way back in 2010 and I’ve wanted to update for a long time. With the sweet flavours of orange and cinnamon it makes a lovely fragrant pumpkin quinoa dish full of the tang of pomegranate. The candied walnuts take this vegetarian dish to something extra special and the flavours are really perfect to serve alongside traditional Christmas fare. Hearty enough to serve as a main dish it also works beautifully as a side.


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Orange, Pumpkin, Quinoa w/ Pomegranate & Candied Walnuts
Preparation time: 40mins // Serves 8 as a side

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 kg (2 pound) piece of pumpkin, diced into 1cm cubes
  • 1 cup chickpeas (cooked or tinned)
  • ½ red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 bulb garlic, sliced in half lengthways
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups salad rocket or baby kale
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds
  • small handful of fresh mint

Candied Walnuts

  • ¾ cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1½ olive oil
  • 1 tbs pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • pinch of salt flakes

Pomegranate + Orange Dressing

  • 6 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs pomegranate molasses
  • 2 wedges of the roasted orange

Preheat the oven to 200°C/392°F

Place the quinoa, water and juice of 1 orange (approx. ½ cup) in a medium sized pot and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat to low and gently simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set-aside for a further 8 minutes. Keep warm.

Cut the second orange into 8 wedges. Reserving two wedges slice the remaining 6 into 1cm (1/4 inch) thick triangles.

Throw the chopped pumpkin, chickpeas, pieces and two wedges of orange into the oven tray with the onion wedges and the two halves of the garlic bulb. Sprinkle over the spices and drizzle over the olive oil. Use your hands to toss and coat everything well with the oil and spices.

Place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until pumpkin is tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile candy the walnuts by adding all the ingredients to a good heavy-based saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer over a low heat and stir frequently for around five minutes until the mixture becomes sticky and toffee like. Spoon out the walnuts and arrange in a single layer on baking paper. Allow to cool.

Once the vegetables are cool enough to just handle. Take out the onion wedges and garlic bulb and discard. Remove the two wedges of orange and squeeze the juice from these into a screw top jar with the remaining dressing ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and shake to combine.

In a large bowl combine the warm prepared quinoa with the roasted ingredients and the rocket (or kale) leaves. Toss quickly to combine and then transfer to a large warm serving platter. Scatter over the candied walnuts, pomegranate seeds and fresh mint leaves. Just before serving pour over the prepared dressing.

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