Baked Kumara with Crunchy Chickpeas and Parsley Pesto

Recipes and Images Amber Bremner

Baked low and slow, crunchy chickpeas are one of my go-to components for fast one-bowl meals, salad toppers, snacks or packed lunches. It’s a great idea to double the batch to use across a few meals – once cool they store well in a jar for a week or so before they lose their crunch. Parsley and sunflower seed pesto is another favourite that’s especially budget friendly if you have parsley in the garden, and also keeps well for about a week. Use both as a topping for tender, baked kūmara to create a simple nutritious meal.


1 can chickpeas (400g), or approx. ¾ cup freshly cooked
1 tsp oil
2 tsp paprika

½ cup sunflower seeds
large handful of parsley (about 50g)
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil (or a neutral flavoured cooking oil)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp water
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp chilli flakes

1–2 small kūmara per person, washed and halved lengthways
cooking oil

A handful of salad greens per person

Preheat oven to 175°C (or 160°C fan bake). Drain and rinse chickpeas before tipping them onto a clean tea towel to dry them off. Transfer the chickpeas to a baking dish, drizzle over the olive oil then use your hands to rub the oil over the chickpeas. Season with paprika and salt (or your choice of seasoning). Bake for 50–60 minutes, giving them a shake every 20 minutes or so, until golden and crunchy. The chickpeas will also crisp up a little more once cooled. Store in a jar.

For the pesto, start by toasting the sunflower seeds in a dry frypan until golden brown. Tip onto a plate to cool, then blitz all pesto ingredients in a food processor to combine. Adjust the consistency with a little more water if needed, keeping in mind the pesto will thicken a bit on standing. Store in a jar in the fridge.

For the kūmara, arrange halved kūmara on a baking tray and rub all over with a little cooking oil. Season with salt, then bake at 235°C (or 220°C fanbake) for 20–30 minutes, until tender, blistered and a bit charry around the edges.

To serve, arrange baked kūmara on a bed of salad greens and top with dollops of parsley pesto and plenty of crunchy chickpeas. A squeeze of lemon doesn’t go amiss.


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