Pumpkin & Lentil Cakes

Pumpkin fritters is a dish that fills my childhood memories. I can vividly recall my mother deep-frying the delicious batter as we waited patiently to smother our helping in some cinnamon and sugar. Delicious, no doubt! Yet not entirely healthy…

When so many kiddies’ finger foods seem to be deep-fried, laden with trans-fats and cholesterol (just take a look at the kiddies section of most menus), it is my mission to find nutritious alternatives that are just as much fun to eat. To replace oily fritters that don’t offer your little person the best nutritional value for their growing needs, try this nutritious take on a home comfort.

Lentils are a fantastic source of protein but they can be a little bland (try spooning these ‘straight up’ into your little one’s mouth and you’ll see what I mean). You need to find exactly the right ingredients that will bring out the nutty flavour and experimenting with spice combinations is a fantastic way to do just that. This recipe incorporates a number of different spices and the roasted pumpkin adds a natural sweetness that is just delicious.

What’s more, little people will absolutely love holding these protein-packed delights in their tiny hands! (the only thing is that the tumeric can stain clothes so rather not have your little monkey in his or her Sunday best.) 

I used tinned lentils in this recipe for convenience but remember to rinse them under a tap to get rid of the added salt. I used whole-wheat flour but almond or chickpea flour would work fantastically too.

What you’ll need:

  • 500g pumpkin, peeled, diced
  • 1 onion, cut into four
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tin lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 Tbs milk (whole milk is preferable)
  • Handful coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 cup self raising whole-wheat flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180°
  • Place pumpkin and onion slices on an oven tray and mix in the spices (excluding the coriander) and the olive oil.
  • Roast for 30-35 minutes, until soft. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
  • Place the pumpkin, onion and spice mixture into a mixing bowl and combine with the lentils, coriander and the milk.
  • Using a handblender, pulse until combined into a mushy mixture (you want a mixture that still has some texture).
  •  Stir in the beaten eggs, the flour and baking powder (making sure you combine them evenly).
  • Grease a muffin tin and divide the mixture into each portion (making sure you only fill each one three quarters of the way to allow for the mixture to rise).
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted  (all ovens are different, so you’ll need to check on your recipe during baking).
  • Allow to cool before serving.
  • Serve plain, with a spread of cream cheese or with some homemade guacamole.
  • Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container and use within 2-3 days (these are delicious served cold too!)

*The above recipe will need to be adapted should your child have an allergy to any of the ingredients mentioned.

*Never leave your child unsupervised when eating.

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