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Pumpkin Risotto with Kale Crisps and Parsley Pesto

I love onion (winter) squash. It has a brilliant orange colour and a nutty almost chestnut flavour that is super in Autumn soups and risottos. I have found if it is roasted first in an 180C oven until just soft but not mushy (about 50 minutes), it deepens and sweetens the flavour. This gorgeous but rustic risotto, combined with kale crisps, dehydrated in the oven and a slice of rich Roquefort (sheep's) cheese with a parsley/basil and walnut pesto, is a marriage made in heaven. Ditch the Roquefort and you have a simply divine vegan supper dish.

200 g of cooked squash provides more than 450% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A and over 50% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C. It is also rich in carotenoids — including beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and alpha-carotene — plant pigments that give squash its bright colour.


serves 4

300 g risotto rice

1 large onion, finely chopped

Approximately 800 g size onion (winter) squash

10 large kale/cavolo nero leaves, washed and dried and cut into large pieces

1 tbs finely sliced fresh sage leaves

2 tsp Marigold organic vegetable stock powder, or 1 litre vegetable stock

boiling filtered water (if using stock powder)

3/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt

1 bulb garlic, roasted for 20 minutes in a 180C oven

60 g pine nuts, toasted

extra pink Himalayan salt

garlic powder

coconut oil

200g Roquefort (sheep's) cheese - optional

** 1 cup Healing Intent


60g walnuts

30g basil leaves

30g bunch of flat-leaf parsley, stalks removed,

1 clove of organic garlic, peeled

35g Parmesan, finely grated

100 -–150ml extra virgin olive oil

pink Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 - 2tbs boiling water

1. Heat the oven to 180C and roast the squash whole until tender (around 50 minutes). Halfway through the cooking time, wrap a whole garlic bulb in foil and cook for around 20 minutes.

2. Heat a tsp of coconut oil and coat the kale leaves and lay on two baking trays. Sprinkle with a little salt and garlic powder and put into the oven at 180C for around 5 - 7 minutes or until crisp. Remove and set aside.

3. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle carefully peel away the skin, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Dice the pumpkin flesh. When the garlic is cool enough to handle squeeze out the garlic pulp and add to the pumpkin flesh.

3. Melt 1 tbs coconut oil and fry the sage leaves and onions over a gentle heat until soft and translucent. Add the risotto rice, garlic, pumpkin, salt and the Marigold vegetable powder and stir for around 1 minute then cover the rice with boiling filtered water, and keep stirring and adding boiling water until the water is absorbed and the rice is al dente and has a soup like consistency. Season to taste.

4. To make the pesto, add all the dry ingredients into a small food processor and process and then add the oil slowly until emulsified. When thick, add 1 - 2 tbs of boiling water and process again. This keeps the green of the basil and parsley bright and makes the resulting pesto creamy.

5. To serve spoon risotto onto a plate, add three small dollops of pesto, a slice of roquefort (if using) and a few kale crisps and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. Enjoy.

** Healing Intent: when cooking foods to heal the body it is important to set your intent. The best way to do this is imagine that you are cooking this dish for yourself or for someone you love who is very ill and that this dish is the only thing that will help in their healing. You will find that the way you handle the food will change, and will not only result in a better dish, but you will feel the food actually nourishing your body and spirit.

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