Written by: Mpho Deane

I personally don’t have any issues with vegetables and fruits, and until 2014 when I was pregnant with my 1st daughter, avocados were the only fresh produce I didn’t eat.  It bothered me a lot because visually; that creamy, chunky goodness looked heavenly, but it never translated that way in my mouth and nose.  I couldn’t stand it, and went to great lengths to avoid sitting next to anyone who ate it, as even the thought of catching that waft would send me gagging.  Until 2014 that is, when my pregnancy taste buds decided otherwise. 

It started with me selling gourmet burgers for a monthly rooftop event and while I was developing the burger recipe, I knew guacamole would unfortunately for me, be a winning topping. Yes… I know what you are thinking, how did I make this without tasting it?, well I did. And that burger sold out each time. It was during this time that I decided I had to give it a try. To make my guacamole, I added lemon juice along with coriander and tomato bits. And after tasting it all my impassioned opinions about avocado flew out the window.  I was sold and I haven’t looked back since and can probably count on one hand how many days I’ve gone without eating avo. Crazy!  Moral of the story… don’t knock it till you have tried it…with lemon and coriander (lol).

So really… what I am getting to is, having a love-hate relationship with vegetables or fruits is downright childish.  Yes, I said it!  I speak particularly on behalf of vegetables as they bear the brunt of it all.  I’m not trying to be a ‘shove the peas under the mash kind-of-mom’ but I like to see a love-hate relationship with vegetables similar to trail hiking. Sometimes you have to just veer off the trail a bit to discover the hidden crystal fountains.  Great vegetable dishes are always a cooking method, flavoring, right season, or pairing away from discovering their beauty and magic, all brought to you by nature.  In referencing the words of the most contentious leader we love to hate, let’s make vegetables great again! 

Let’s explore, have fun with them, break the rules a bit, but never stop in bringing out their natural goodness.  All the thing’s you can think of! Just don’t ditch them and condemn them to bland uninteresting cooking. So today’s recipe is inspired by the love of the squash family, Pumpkin. And South Africa’s weather this week; a mix bag of emotions.  Grey, wet and cold in the morning, windy midmorning, sunny in the afternoon and cold at night. It warrants a good bowl of porridge to start the day. Spiced pumpkin porridge, using amaranth as our porridge base.  Both packed with great nutritional properties, it’s a real hug you from the inside kinda meal that’s sure to balance us emotionally, and also downright delicious.  Let’s get started.


  • Handful of walnuts
  • 1 – 2 tsp Chia Seeds
  • 3/4 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 cup amaranth
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • ¼ cup coconut milk/Almond Milk
  • 3-4 Medjool Dates pitted and soaked in water & blended once soft
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon ground, ¼ turmeric, 1/2 tsp Ginger ground, 1/4 tsp Cloves ground, 1/4 tsp Nutmeg ground
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract


  • Apples 
  • Walnuts
  • Goji berries & cranberries
  • Maple Syrup


Put the amaranth, spices, water, pumpkin puree, blended dates, vanilla extract and half of the milk in a small saucepan.  Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 15 mins, stirring occasionally, adjust with water & milk to get your desired consistency until cooked.  Once cooked, add your favourite toppings.