Forget canned pumpkin! Truly eat with the seasons with this cool-weather recipe, which features whole pumpkin, leeks and hearty kale over a bed of comforting polenta. Top it off with a homemade basil dressing for a spectacular plant-based meal.
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For pumpkin and kale with creamy polenta:
1 1/2 cup polenta
4 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (optional)
1/2 small pumpkin
1 small red chili pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 clove garlic chopped
7 oz curly kale chopped, veins removed
1/3 leek sliced
4 oz mozzarella (optional)
For the dressing:
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Demerara sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (to serve)
In a pot, bring water with a tablespoon of salt to a boil. Gradually add polenta, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat, add parmesan (optional),cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the pumpkin. Heat a lug of vegetable oil in a large pan or wok over medium high heat. Add pumpkin and cook until the pumpkin it is soft, about 8 minutes. Chop red chili pepper and thyme leaves and add them before the pumpkin is ready. Transfer to a plate and put the pan or wok back on the stove.
Add a bit of oil to the pan and once it’s hot, add garlic and kale. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add leek slices and cook until soft and slightly golden, about 4 minutes.
Make the dressing: combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Demerara sugar (optional), chopped basil, a pinch of salt and black pepper. Arrange polenta, pumpkin, kale and leek on two plates. Add sliced mozzarella (optional). Serve with balsamic dressing and pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!