When constructing meal plans I like to include as many vegetarian options into the weeks as possible to offset the meaty recipes. Not only does this help to cut costs but by eating vegetarian food in between meals of leftover meat, it is easier to achieve a good balanced diet.
It’s also important to me that I try to eat seasonal food – this is much easier to do if you buy your fresh produce from a market. Chances are that things are grown locally instead of being imported, meaning they will taste better and be a hundred times fresher. There’s no point in being sanctimonious about the point, though, as I know that busy lives, children, late night shift work all contribute to the need for the convenience of a supermarket.
This recipe, therefore, is perfect. Pumpkins and silverbeet are largely available throughout the year, making this meal one you can prepare year round. Of course, should they not be available you can always substitute for whatever you can get your hands on – eggplant, potato, capsicum, spinach are all delicious options to experiment with.
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Prep time: 1 hour
Makes: 4 parcels
8 sheets filo pastry
100g blanched almonds
1 bunch silverbeet
1/2 pumpkin aka butternut squash
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
Begin by pre-heating your oven to 200˚C.
Cut the pumpkin into 1cm pieces – skin on or off is your choice, I like to leave it on for an element of texture. Place on a flat baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper, toss gently through your fingers so the pumpkin is well coated. Put into the oven for 10-15 minutes until the flesh of the pumpkin has started to shrivel and caramelise and go beautifully soft. Set aside to cool.
While the pumpkin is in the oven, wash the silverbeet and remove the thick white stalk and chop the leaves into strips.
Take a large heavy based frying pan and heat it over a medium heat with a little olive oil. Add in the roughly chopped onion with the cinnamon and cumin and cook until the onions begin to soften but not colour. Cook the silverbeet with the onion for a further 5 minutes, adding in the finely chopped garlic for the final few minutes of cooking. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool before adding in the feta and the chopped almonds.
To construct the filo parcels take the first sheet of filo and brush lightly with olive oil. Place a second sheet over the top, brush with olive oil before folding in half lengthwise. In the centre of your filo rectangle place one quarter of the silverbeet mixture, forming it into a neat square. Next, place a quarter of the cooked pumpkin on top of the silverbeet before brushing the edges of the pastry with olive oil and folding them up into the middle, leaving a small gap in the centre of the parcel. Repeat three more times until you have four parcels.
Finally, place the parcels in a hot oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the filo is golden and crispy. A handy tip is to place the baking tray in the oven to heat up before putting the parcels on – this helps to cook the bottoms.
Serve hot or cold.
Instead of the pumpkin use roasted capsicum or slices of grilled eggplant.
Serve hot as a main meal with salad, or have cold as a packed lunch the next day.