pumpkin-seed pasta sauce

pictures of pumpkin seeds soaking in water, sauce in a saucepan, and a plate of pasta in sauce, peas and coleslaw.

A while back, someone over at the Post Punk Kitchen forums started a thread about iron-rich recipes. Since I’ve been eating a lot of pumpkin over the past few months, including seeds, and because I like to check out the nutritional content of my food, I recently became aware that pumpkin seeds are a really good source of iron, and suggested a variant on the Post Punk Kitchen sunflower macaroni cheese recipe. I was asked if pumpkin seeds got creamy in the sauce and had to confess that I hadn’t tried it. Well, now I have, and they do!

I had to make a couple of subs/omissions due to the challenge: I didn’t have any nutritional yeast, which Isa mentioned in the recipe comments as being necessary for texture. I put a tablespoon of oats in the blender instead of that and hoped for the best. I didn’t have any tomato purée and couldn’t find any very small tins when I went shopping. I wasn’t going to buy a tube because I hardly ever use it, so I put in twice the amount of some jarred pasta sauce. Obviously I omitted the sunflower seeds and used pumpkin seeds instead, and I halved the recipe as I wasn’t sure how well it would work, however I was very pleased with the taste of the final pasta dish, which I served with leftover pumpkin coleslaw and peas.

I had to buy pasta and carrots for the recipe, which I got from Morrisons. I was also after some green veg, but after weighing up my options (literally weighing all the piece-priced items on the in-store scales), I opted for a red cabbage as the best balance between value and nutrient-density.


I bought carrots for 85p, cabbage for 79p, value pasta at 29p and a not-strictly-necessary jar of value marmalade for 27p. I plan on using this last item for some baking experiments and then using the jar for some home-made preserves of some kind. It seems it’s way cheaper to buy jars this way than it would be to buy them empty, unless you’re getting tons of them.

That lot came to £2.20, so I’ve still got bus fare for a journey or two.

November ninety – day nine

Yesterday my spend was at £26.52, which was over my goal of £24 for day eight. I wasn’t able to get back on track today either, as I had work too far away from my house to walk it so needed to pay bus fare. Also, the bus got me there twenty minutes before the building opened, and the only warm place to go was a nearby Co-op, where they happened to have reduced-price goods I wished to purchase, such as not-from-concentrate orange juice and ‘truly irresistible’ seedy bread at half price (even though the use-by isn’t until tomorrow), with the result that my spend today was £5.69, taking the month’s total to £32.21, that’s £5.21 over today’s target.

In better news, the pasta I put raw into yesterday’s leftover stew softened up just fine and it made a good, filling lunch after heating up in the microwave at the place I was working.

November ninety – day eight

Much as I do like butternut squash, pumpkin and courgette, I do feel rather overdosed on them at the moment. I couldn’t face another squash-based dinner tonight, so I bought potatoes and frozen peas (and a bottle of fizzy water) at Morrison’s after work. I also contributed a pound to the tip for yesterday’s meal, so my total spend for the month is now at £26.52, which is £2.52 over my goal for the day. I did really enjoy my dinner of mashed potatoes and a stew of onions, cabbage, peas, tinned tomatoes and garlic. Probably sounds boring but it tasted good, and tomorrow I’ll have the stew with pasta.

I’m experimenting with soaking the pasta in the stew overnight to re-hydrate it. Then the whole thing just needs re-heating rather than having to waste energy bringing a pot to boil, adding the pasta and keeping the heat on under the pan while it cooks for 8-10 minutes. I read a blurb on Serious Eats earlier about a similar method, so hopefully I should have perfectly and cheaply-cooked pasta tomorrow…