Ommmmm Nom Nom Brown Rice Salad with Roast Pumpkin, Avocado and Hummus


Crazy name, yes, but it suits my start to the year which has seen some very healthy eating (and some not-so-healthy eating), interspersed with introductory yoga sessions around about Auckland, seeing which ones will take my fancy for my new year's yoga resolution (so far Naam and Vinyasa, next up Hot Yoga). Do not fear, my blog isn't about to radically change into a hard-core health food site, although as I am sure you will have noticed if you are a regular visitor, I do like to use relatively healthy ingredients most of the time... Anyhoo, Henry the 18-year-old and I have long been partial to brown rice combinations, sometimes called Pog's Rice (Henry's nickname) or crazy rice, and this one was particularly tasty and well suited to my virtuous yoga-days. This is a super-simple, fab lunch-box filler, or healthy on-the-go work lunch - brown rice seasoned with a tamari dressing, loaded with sweet roasted pumpkin and kumara (sweet potato), avocado and coriander, topped with eggplant hummus and a sprinkling of tamari-roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds for crunch. The beauty of it is you can just throw in whatever takes your fancy (whatever you can find in the fridge), like finely chopped celery, or bell/red pepper, roasted beetroot, cauliflower or carrot, shredded chicken or hot roasted salmon, basil, parsley, spring onions, pesto, onion jam...the variations are endless - go wild!



1 cup uncooked brown rice - either short or medium grain, cooked according to packet instructions

1 medium kumara (sweet potato), chopped into 3cm cubes
300g pumpkin, chopped into 3cm cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tsp tamari
1 tsp olive oil

Dressing:
2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tsp tamari (according to taste)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 large avocado
1/2 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup hummus (recipe follows)

While rice is cooking line a roasting dish with baking paper and preheat oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Put kumara and pumpkin chunks on the tray, drizzle with oil and honey and sprinkle with cumin seeds, salt and pepper and bake about 30-35 minutes until cooked through and easily pierced with a knife. Leave to cool. 

While root vegetables are cooling, line another tray with baking paper and spread out pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Mix tamari with olive oil and spread through seeds (just stir it around with your hands.) Bake at 180˚C (350˚F) for about 7-8 minutes until dark golden and toasted.

When you have your veges, rice and seeds ready, put your rice in a mixing bowl. Stir through dressing ratios of tamari, olive oil and lemon juice, fold in pumpkin, kumara, avocado and coriander and 1/4 cup of the toasted seeds. Divide into two serving bowls and serve topped with a few tablespoons of hummus and an extra sprinkling of coriander and seeds. Serves 2


Eggplant Hummus:
2 small or 1 medium eggplant
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained
2 tbsp tahini
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
water* 
Preheat oven to 220˚C (425˚F). Pierce eggplant/s all over with a small sharp knife. Bung in the oven and roast about half an hour if small, 40 minutes if larger. They should be wrinkly and a bit squishy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little. Get the food processor out and ready, then cut down the centre of the egpplant/s and scoop the mushy cooked insides into the whizzy. Add chickpeas, tahini, cumin, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Whizz until combined then add a little water to your desired consistency. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

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