Grilled Piri Piri Pumpkin & Halloumi w/ Sweet Couscous Salad

The ups and downs of life have been lurking round us this past month and I decided it was time to take a little break from Veggie num num. In that time Cam and I took a well-earned holiday and spent almost two beautiful weeks soaking up the spring sunshine in picture-perfect Byron Bay. There is seriously nothing quite like a beachside holiday to relax and recharge… it was pure bliss!!

Soooooooo inspired by all that sunshine and the promise of warmer weather round the corner I had to prepare a colourful and spicy barbeque piri piri pumpkin recipe that’s just right for springtime eats! The homemade piri piri sauce lends a nice hint of spice and heat to this tasty dish and is complimented nicely by the subtle sweet flavours of the couscous salad.

I made a mixture of vegetarian skewers here, using pumpkin and halloumi; you could choose to use just pumpkin or substitute pieces of tofu or another vegetable like zucchini or eggplant for the halloumi cheese.

The amount of heat you get from the piri piri will depend on the chillies you use and weather or not you deseed them. If you prefer a milder dish try substituting one or two red capsicums (bell peppers) instead of the chillies.

This piri piri pumpkin dish is a great vegetarian recipe to feed friends and family when entertaining or for a lovely light summery meal when relaxing at home, the fresh herbs and spicy/sweet flavours of this dish are so very, very good!

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Barbequed Piri Piri Pumpkin and Halloumi Skewers
Preparation time: 40 minutes // Makes 12 skewers

  • 6 long red chillies
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbs smoky paprika
  • 3 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp dark brown sugar
  • 750g (1 lb) piece of pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 250g (9 oz) halloumi cheese (or eggplant, zucchini or firm tofu), cubed
  • small bunch of fresh mint and basil leaves, shredded
  • lemon wedges to serve
  • 12 bamboo skewers

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/356°F and if cooking the skewers on a barbeque be sure to pre-soak them.

Spread the chillies and unpeeled garlic cloves on a baking tray, prick the chillies with a fork and roast in the preheat oven for 5-10 minutes until soft and golden.

Allow to cool and then roughly chop the chillies (you can deseed them now if you prefer a milder sauce) and squeeze the garlic from their skins.

Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium/low heat, add the chopped chillies, garlic, paprika, vinegar and sugar. Gently simmer over a low heat for about 5 minutes until the sauce has reduced and caramelized slightly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before processing in a food processor until smooth.

Steam the pumpkin pieces for 3-4 minutes only until a skewer inserted just easily slides through. You don’t want to over steam the pieces and turn them to mush so watch them carefully.

Toss the steamed and cooled pumpkin pieces with the halloumi or other vegetable or tofu in the prepared piri piri sauce until well coated. Thread alternating pieces of pumpkin and hallouim onto the skewers and set aside.

Heat a small amount of vegetable oil on a barbeque grill plate or in a stove top grill pan. Cook the skewers over a medium heat turning until golden on all sides.

Remove from the heat and serve scattered with the fresh herbs, lemon wedges and the sweet couscous salad.


Sweet Couscous Salad w/ Walnuts, Dates & Cinnamon
Preparation time: 15 minutes // Serves 4 as a side

  • 2 cups couscous
  • 2 cups hot vegetable stock
  • 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, shredded
  • 10 fresh dates, roughly diced
  • 1 cup walnut, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 3 tbs olive oil

Add the couscous to a bowl and pour over the hot stock. Cover and allow to steep for about 5 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Using a fork fluff the couscous to separate the grains.

Whisk the ground cinnamon with the lemon juice and olive oil until well combined.

Toss the dates, walnuts, mint and dressing through the prepared couscous until well combined.

The salad can be prepared ahead of time and either served cold or simply reheat by tossing over a low heat in a non-stick frying pan for a few minutes until warmed through.

The prefect quick and easy vegetarian salad recipe to accompany so many vegetable dishes… enjoy!!


{the piri piri sauce recipe was adapted from a recipe by Kate Nichols for Barbequed Piri Piri Prawns found in Delicious magazine}

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