A Very Festive Pumpkin Salad

A Very Festive Pumpkin Salad

Bringing a plate to holiday lunch with the rellies this festive season? Salads, although always requested by the host, are usually a full-on snooze fest when compared with the rest of the lunch table spread… except when George Eats gets involved with a pumpkin salad that’ll have your in-laws singing your praises and your own fam proud as punch to call you one of their own.

Ready to hear everyone sing your praises ‘round the lunch table? Here’s how you’re gonna do it.

INGREDIENTS

For the pumpkin:

·      500-750g Japanese or Kent pumpkin, chopped into bite-sized pieces

·      1 tbsp oil of your choice

·      Seasoning to taste

For the quinoa:

·      2 tbsp oil of your choice

·      1/2 bunch of spring onion greens, chopped (remainder used in salad)

·      3/4 – 1 cup quinoa grains

·      2 cups vegetable stock (you can also use water)

·      Zest of 1 lemon

For the dressing:

·      1/2 cup orange juice

·      1/4 – 1/2 cup lemon juice

·      50g – 75g caster sugar

·      1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

·      1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

·      Pinch of clover powder (optional)

·      Seasoning to taste

To finish the salad:

·      50g – 100g Tuscan kale

·      1/2 – 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

·      1 tbsp olive oil or garlic-infused oil

·      Remaining spring onion greens, chopped

·      Handful of radicchio, chopped (optional)

·      200g – 300g Greek feta

·      100g – 150g walnuts

·      200g pomegranate arils

METHOD

To bake the pumpkin:

Preheat the oven to 180ºC or 356ºF. Place the pumpkin on a baking tray and drizzle over the oil. Use your hands to coat the pumpkin evenly, then season according to your tastes.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked through but still firm enough to hold shape in a salad. The cooking time will depend on how small your cubes are, so keep an eye on it.

To cook the quinoa:

Add the oil to a pot over medium heat. Once warmed, add the spring onion and cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Add the quinoa and toast it for a minute or so, stirring to prevent it burning or sticking.

Add the stock (it will spit, so be careful) and stir to combine.

Add the lemon zest, and cook the quinoa for 7 or so minutes or until the grains unfurl. Ideally, the liquid should all have evaporated, and there should be small holes in the surface of the quinoa. That's OK if not – just drain off the excess liquid. Set quinoa aside and intermittently fluff with a fork.

To make the dressing:

Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small saucepan. Adjust the sweetness according to your tastes and the acidity of your citrus.

Cook the sauce for 5-10 minutes. Depending on how much sugar you add, it might not thicken (and that’s fine, the quinoa will soak it up). Season to taste.

To assemble the salad:

Place the kale, parsley and oil in a bowl and use your hands to massage for a few minutes until softened. You can also add a tablespoon or two of the dressing here if you like.

Add all the ingredients except for a few pomegranate arils (to finish the salad) and the pumpkin to a large serving dish.

Toss gently to combine, and add the dressing to taste. You might not need all of it.

Add any extra ingredients here as you see fit – more pomegranate, feta or walnuts.

Add the pumpkin and very gently toss to combine. Finish with the extra pomegranate arils and serve.

Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a number of days.

NOTES

The quantities of pomegranate and walnuts are designed to be low FODMAP per serve. If you have no FODMAP constraints, you can add these ingredients as you see fit.

Use pumpkin seeds in place of walnuts for a nut-free option (or simply omit).

For a vegan option, use a good quality vegan feta.