Roasted pumpkin is one of the best fall foods, and it comes alive when smothered in chimichurri, an Argentinian sauce usually reserved for steak. Chimichurri is similar to pesto in that it’s full of fresh puréed herbs; this version combines parsley and cilantro with pepitas and a healthy dose of red wine vinegar for a thick, nutty sauce with a serious hit of acidity. The contrast of the sweet autumnal pumpkin with the intensely herbal chimichurri is killer. And black beans are a natural addition that pulls everything together.
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 (cost per serving: about $2.85)
For the pumpkin and noodles:
1 (3-pound) sugar pumpkin, sliced in half and seeded (see sidebar)
8 ounces soba noodles
For the chimichurri:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup pepitas
2 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish (optional)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish (optional)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained (3 cups), warmed
1/4 cup pepitas
To prepare the pumpkin and noodles:
First bake the pumpkin; preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease. Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until very tender. In the meantime, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your noodles according to the package directions. Drain, place back in the pot, and set aside.
To prepare the chimichurri:
While the pumpkin bakes, place the garlic in a blender or food processor and pulse to get it chopped up. Add the pepitas and pulse into fine crumbs. Add the rest of the chimichurri ingredients and purée. It should be thick, with a gritty texture from the seeds. Taste for seasoning.
Toss the noodles with about 1/3 cup of the chimichurri and divide among bowls. Scoop out spoonfuls of cooked pumpkin into each bowl, and add some black beans. Top with additional chimichurri and pepitas. Garnish with additional herbs, if you like, and serve.
By Isa Chandra Moskowitz
From Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week (Little, Brown and Company, 2013). In stores now!
This story appears in the Oct/Nov 2013 issue of BUST Magazine with Neko Case. Subscribe now.