Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    8 to 10

Appears in

Vegetables are the cornerstone of California cooking, and the seasonal variations of the culinary landscape get me out of bed every day. This pumpkin dish has powerful olfactory associations, evoking a cool autumn night, a warm fire, and cheeks rosy from a glass of amazing pinot noir. Let’s see a pork chop do that.


  • 1 small sugar pumpkin (2 to 3 pounds), halved and seeded
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 cups pitted and julienned medjool dates
  • ¼ cup small sage leaves


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the pumpkin into pieces roughly 3 inches square and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet, skin side down. Drizzle the pumpkin pieces with olive oil and give them a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast the pumpkin for 1 hour, or until soft. Once cool enough to handle, peel off and discard the skin, and place the roasted pumpkin flesh in a bowl.

Place a dry skillet over medium heat and add the quinoa. Toast for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the quinoa releases a beautiful toasty aroma. Add 3 cups water and 1 tablespoon kosher salt, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the quinoa for 25 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered; the steam will finish cooking the quinoa.

Once the quinoa has cooled off a bit, add it to the bowl with the roasted pumpkin along with the dates, torn sage leaves, and ¼ cup of olive oil. Toss gently to combine. Season with more salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.