This Pumpkin and Black Bean Baked Rice is one of those recipes that you can shove on the stove and let simmer away while you tick off the rest of your to-do list on a busy weekday evening. It’s the perfect dish to serve as summer draws to a close and crisp autumn evenings greet us once again.

INGREDIENTS – Serves 4-6

a generous glug of olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

1½ teaspoons ground coriander

1½ teaspoons sweet smoked paprika

440 g (15½ oz/generous 2 cups) long-grain white rice

400 g (14 oz) tin black beans, drained and rinsed

¼ pumpkin or ½ butternut squash (approx. 500 g/1 lb 2 oz), halved, seeded and cut into

5 mm- (¼ in-) thick wedges

2 teaspoons salt

1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) water

2 tomatoes, finely chopped

1 fresh jalapeño (or ½ green/ (bell) pepper if you can’t do spicy), seeded and finely chopped

a handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped

To serve:

1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced

1 lime, halved

vegan sour cream or Cashew Cream (recipe here)

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas 7).

Heat the olive oil in a large casserole pot (Dutch oven) or an ovenproof saucepan over medium-high heat, add three-quarters of the onion, and cook for a couple of minutes until it is starting to go transparent. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the rice, beans, pumpkin, salt and water. Increase the heat to high then, once the water is simmering, cover with a lid and transfer to the hot oven to cook for 30 minutes.

While the pumpkin and rice is cooking, make a simple salsa by combining the reserved finely chopped onion with the chopped tomato, jalapeño and coriander leaves in a small bowl.

After 30 minutes, remove the dish from the oven, take off the lid, give it a stir, then serve in bowls and top each serving with the salsa, diced avocado, a squeeze of fresh lime and spoonfuls of sour cream or cashew cream.

Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and up to 3 months in the freezer.

Recipe extracted from Vegan One-Pot Wonders, Hardie Grant

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