Donna Hay’s Pumpkin, Chickpea and Brown Rice Balls make for a perfect mid-week lunch that offers so much versatility. This vegan recipe also works brilliantly for sharing at dinner parties and is a recipe the entire family will love!


400g butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded and chopped

24 heirloom baby carrots

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing

sea salt and cracked black pepper

1 x 400g can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

2 cups (400g) cooked brown rice

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons ground sumac, plus extra for sprinkling

1 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves, finely chopped

¼ cup (40g) sesame seeds

labne or coconut yoghurt to serve

mint leaves and baby (micro) watercress (optional), to serve


Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the pumpkin and carrots on a large baking tray. Drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes or until golden and tender.

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Add the pumpkin, rice, lemon rind, chilli, garlic, sumac, coriander, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Divide and shape the mixture into 2-tablespoon balls and flatten slightly. Press into the sesame seeds to coat and brush with extra oil. Place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and roast, turning halfway, for 20 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle with extra sumac and serve with the carrots, labne/coconut yoghurt, mint and baby watercress.

Recipe taken from Donna Hay’s cook book, life in balance, which is available to buy here