This is a recipe that came together slowly, and then all at once- thanks to Trader Joe’s. I have been dreaming for a while about a grain bowl in the style of a rice pilaf, but full of fall flavors. Enter Trader Joe’s. I walked in an was instantly inspired. Sugar pumpkins were on sale, there were two different kinds of dried lentils and I recently discovered Trader Joe’s organic veggie broth and have not looked back. It’s so hearty and adds so much flavor to anything you cook in it.
An important part of this recipe is mise-en-place, which means everything in its place. All of the components of this recipe cook separately, are set aside and then come together in the end as they are tossed together with pecorino and browned butter. This makes this recipe a great one to make in big batches for when you’re entertaining or for meal prep for the week.
This quinoa-lentil pilaf is studded with roasted pumpkin and dried cranberries and topped with chopped pecans and nutty pecorino romano cheese. This dish is hearty, full of fiber and protein, and most importantly, every bite tastes like the most perfect fall afternoon. So stop by your Trader Joe’s, pick yourself up a sugar pumpkin and make yourself this delicious pilaf- you’ll thank me later.
Makes 3-4 servings
1 small-medium sugar pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1/2 tbs ground sage
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1-2 tbs olive oil
2/3 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup dried lentils- I used green but any variety works
2 1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 of a large white onion
2 cloves of garlic
5 tbs browned butter
ground pecorino romano cheese to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel a sugar pumpkin and cut into bite sized cubes.
- Lay the cubes of pumpkin on the lined baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and ground sage.
- Roast pumpkin for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove pumpkin from oven and set aside.
- In a dry pan, toast quinoa for around 5 minutes on medium heat, or until you smell a light, nutty aroma. Remove toasted quinoa from pan and cook in vegetable broth according to package.
- At the same time, cook the lentils in vegetable broth according to package.
- While the quinoa and lentils cook, toast the pecans in a dry pan for about 5 minutes on medium heat, or until you smell a light, nutty aroma. They can burn easily so keep a close eye on them!
- Once the pecans have been toasted, remove from heat and set aside.
- Brown 5 tbs of butter and set aside.
- Chop and sautee 2 cloves of garlic and 1/4 of a large white onion in a pan over medium heat in 1-2 tbs of olive oil. Once they have softened and turned translucent, remove from heat.
- Once the quinoa and lentils have finished cooking, toss all cooked ingredients together in a large bowl with the browned butter.
- Top with pecorino romano cheese to taste and enjoy!