Some people think salads are boring, and that just seems weird to me. Maybe those people were brought up with soggy salads of wilted iceberg lettuce and underripe tomatoes? I love salads, and I am a firm believer that they don’t need to be boring. Even good old iceberg lettuce and tomato! You just need to make sure you have lovely fresh crispy lettuce and good tomatoes, preferably fresh from the garden if you are lucky enough to have a dad with a super green thumb like I am. There’s also no need for too much fuss when it comes to the dressing either, a simple oil and vinegar dressing is perfect. Sometimes you shouldn’t mess with things too much.
That’s not what this recipe is though, this recipe is for one of those “interesting” salads. The kind that you can serve up as a delicious side for a few people, or you could choose not to share it’s deliciousness with anyone and have a hearty main meal salad all to yourself. I mean, what’s not to love about this? Pumpkin roasted until you get those beautiful crispy caramelised edges that add so much flavour, lots of fresh green salad leaves, all topped with golden toasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan. Bliss on a plate, right there.
I like to bump up the flavour of the pumpkin by tossing it in olive oil mixed with some ground spices. I use ground cumin, coriander and a touch of cinnamon but you could easily experiment with other flavours. I have learned the hard way however not to add too much cumin and cinnamon to the mix as they are very overpowering flavours, cinnamon especially. You want to add just enough cinnamon to bring out the sweetness of the pumpkin, but not so much you turn your lovely salad into a dessert!
- 500g / 1 pound pumpkin, chopped into 2 cm / 1 inch chunks
- 1tbs oil
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
- ⅛ tsp ground cumin
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- 1 tbs pine nuts
- 50g / 1 oz Shaved parmesan cheese
- 4 cups rocket or other salad leaves
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 200º C / 400º F
- In a bowl, mix together the oil, ground coriander, cumin and cinnamon
- Toss the chunks of pumpkin in the oil mix until well coated and spread evenly on a baking tray
- Roast the pumpkin for about 45 minutes until golden, tossing halfway through
- Once the pumpkin is roasted, set it aside and let it cool until it is just warm
- While the pumpkin is cooling, place the pine nuts in a dry pan and toast over medium heat until golden brown
- Make the dressing by putting all ingredients in a jar, place the lid on and give it a good shake until the mixture is well combined
- Once the pumpkin is cooled sufficiently, gently mix the pumpkin and rocket together with the dressing
- Place the pumpkin and rocket mix onto a serving plate and top with the toasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan