Pumpkin koftas with smoky tomato sauce

This is a seasonal win for me and went down a treat at home. Pre-warning, it is a bit of a faff, so perhaps not your usual run of the mill weeknight meal, but it is a great one for guests or a weekend when you have a little more time. This meal really needs ALL the components though. The koftas are nothing without the tomato sauce, and the sauce is bland on it’s own. Served with delicious focaccia and this will be a winner with everyone.


550g pumpkin cut into chunks

1 red onion

150g red lentils

Pinch of chipotle chilli flakes

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp tomato puree (available in store)

100g dried apricots (chopped)

100g pistachios (roughly chopped)

1 organic egg

mint leaves to serve (don’t miss these)

For the tomato sauce

2 onions

2 tins tomatoes

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tsp honey (available in store)


Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. For the sauce, put the onions and tinned tomatoes into a roasting tray with the smoked paprika. Roast in the oven for around 45 minutes.

For the koftas put the pumpkin on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season and roast for 20 minutes.

Finely chop the onions then fry in some olive oil for 10 minutes until soft. Add the turmeric and cinnamon then remove from the heat. At the same time, simmer your lentils in a pan of boiling water for 12 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry.

Remove the pumpkin from the oven and mash with a fork. Combine the pumpkin, lentils, onions, chilli flakes, tomato puree, dried apricots, pistachios and the egg. Mix together until thoroughly combined.

Put a reusable baking sheet on a tray. Shape the kofta mixture into balls (use two spoons, it will probably be too hot to handle) and place on the baking tray. This makes around 18. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the oven.

Meanwhile, remove the tomato sauce from the oven and blitz in a blender (you may have to wait for it to cool. If your blender is anything like mine it doesn’t manage with very hot things). Add the honey and keep warm until your koftas are ready.

Plate up, around 4-6 koftas per person with a generous helping of the sauce. Sprinkle over the mint leaves. These add a lovely lightness to the meal. We served this with kale crisps (also using the oven) and some delicious focaccia bread. Enjoy 🙂

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