15 October 2016

Spooky Spaghetti and Pumpkin Eyeballs

Halloween is such a fun holiday when you're a child, but it can also be a very unhealthy one. At university lately we've been learning about childhood nutrition and as you can probably expect the numbers of children who are not meeting daily requirements for simple things like fruit and veg intake is quite shocking. We learnt about a term called nutrient displacement, where the intake of certain, more unhealthy foods may fill the children up, or satisfy their sweet tooth, so they then don't feel they need the healthy things, like a piece of fruit for example, and miss out on the nutritional foods required for them to thrive.

This next recipe is perfect for a Hallows eve dinner, all the spooky and super healthy too! Black bean spaghetti, topped with blood-red sauce and pumpkin eyeballs...perfect for the kids (and grownups) this Halloween! Packed full of veg and protein, this themed recipe will fill your kids up on the good stuff (leaving less room for the bad!).

The recipe can take a little while, with roasting the pumpkin and boiling the red lentils, but it's more than worth it and you could always use canned pumpkin puree and lentils for a quicker method.  You can also fry them, instead of baking and even prepare the mixture the day before, for a more speedy prep time on Halloween. This recipe is gluten free, allergen free and of course vegan, so perfect for children with special dietary requirements too.

Spooky Spaghetti and Pumpkin Eyeballs | Serves: 4-6 | Time: 1 hour 50 mins

You'll need

  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Large baking sheet
  • Medium saucepan
  • Large saucepan
  • Large frying pan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Potato masher


Pumpkin Balls:

  • 1 white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1.2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1.5 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup dried red lentils/ 2 cups cooked red lentils
  • 1 small pumpkin/ 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups chickpea flour 
  • 6 pimento stuffed olives

Spaghetti & Sauce

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • Salt & pepper


Pumpkin balls

  1. Chop the pumpkin, removing the seeds, but leaving the skin in place and roast at 200°C for 30-40 minutes, then boil the red lentils for 15 minutes and drain. Skip this step if using canned pumpkin and lentils. 
  2. Chop an onion and fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes, then mince the garlic and add this to the pan along with the rosemary, thyme, sage, 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of black pepper. Fry for a further 5 minutes, then transfer into a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Peel the roasted pumpkin, mash, season with salt & pepper and add to the mixing bowl along with the cooked and drained lentils and the chickpea flour. Combine and refrigerate for 30 minutes, until cooled and set slightly. 
  4. Shape the mixture into 24 balls and place on a large baking sheet - the mixture will be quite wet so do not worry about this. Slice the olives and place one slice onto each ball and press down slightly. Bake the balls for 20-25 mins at 200°C.

Spaghetti & Sauce
  1. Dice the onion and fry for a few minutes, before adding the garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Fry for 2 more minutes, then add the tomatoes and tomato puree, simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the pasta and boil for 4-5 minutes, then drain.
  3. Divide the pasta onto 4-6 plates, top with the tomato sauce and then place the 'eyeballs' on top. Serve up and enjoy! 
Cassidy xx