Here in the desert of the American southwest, it may be autumn according to the calendar but we are still experiencing daily temperatures in the 100s. This last weekend, as a belated birthday present, my in-laws and I took Bradley on a short two-day trip to cooler locales: we walked near Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte in Sedona, lounged in the cool shade and hopped rocks at Oak Creek Canyon, spent the night in Flagstaff, experienced Bearizona in Williams, swung by Walnut Canyon National Monument and enjoyed flock of thirty or so ravens conduct impressive aerial maneuvers, and stopped in Campe Verde along Moonrise Drive to watch the spectacular lunar eclipse.
It was great to get away from the heat of the valley and just relax. Up in the Flagstaff area, it actually almost felt like autumn and autumn is our favorite season. Perhaps inspired by our trip, last night I created my first original recipe for Autumn and it was delicious!
Pumpkin Coconut Pasta by Jacquelyn Van Sant
1 bag of brown rice gluten free pasta
1 can of pumpkin puree, 15 ounce
1 can of Thai Kitchen Small Coconut Milk, 5.46 ounce
1/3 can of tomato paste, 5.46 ounce
1 small onion, chopped
1 red apple (any sweet or semi-sweet apple, not tart), chopped
1/2 can of chickpeas, 15 ounce
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
Italian spice blend*
Prepare the pasta as per the directions.
Meanwhile chop onion and apple into similar sized chunks. Heat the oil in a small pan and sauté the onion and apple on medium-high for 3-5 minutes, tossing/stirring often. Add the almonds, dried cranberries and chickpeas. Lower heat to medium-low, cover and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt, garlic powder, and Italian spice blend to taste. When the apples, almonds and chickpeas are the right softness for you, turn off the burner and keep covered for warmth.
In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, coconut milk and tomato paste. Stir until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Add salt, garlic powder, and Italian spice blend to taste.
When pasta is done, drain and rinse in cold water. Return pasta to the pot and gently mix in the pumpkin puree mixture. Stir until all of the pasta is evenly coated. Add in the onion, apple and chickpea mixture and stir. Add more salt, garlic powder or Italian spice blend to taste. Top with parsley.
Please check all ingredients for possible allergens before preparing for someone with a food allergy or sensitivity.
We ate the pasta with steamed asparagus and a light butter lettuce/spinach salad topped with cherry tomatoes, black olives and artichokes. It was delicious! The almonds and pumpkin combined with the hint of sweetness from the apple and cranberries made the dish truly tasted like autumn. At first I was nervous about combining pumpkin with coconut milk, but after the spices were added, the two flavors blended nicely together.
It was so good I went back for seconds, even though I know I should not eat seconds at dinner. And I brought it for lunch today. Yummy!
*The particular Italian spice blend I used is a special blend usually used for bread dipping (by adding it to olive oil). My sister and brother-in-law, who are now selling different oils, balsamic vinegar, hot sauces, and possibility spice blends at Sassy Olive. I will check which one it was when I get home and update this post.