My love for pumpkin is beyond basic. Our relationship began when I was too young to know my name or purpose on this planet, but old enough to fall in love with a pumpkin. Yeah, I’m lovin’ them veg since long time! I’ve been elbow deep in my mum’s pumpkin pie since before I can remember, stuffing my belly with way more than my fair share. But when I actually met my very first ‘living’ pumpkin, in what seemed like an endless orange and green field, I was mesmerized. So big I could barely budge them off the ground. So brightly coloured and pretty. Tasty, pretty and fun to play it. Win, win, win!
Throughout the years my love for pumpkin did not diminish in the slightest. Yes, I’ve grown to love heaps more veg and fruit, but just imagine if you can – I have a list with pumpkin varieties from all over the world that I want to try in this lifetime. The list has more than 30 entries. Crazy pumpkin lady, that would be me. Anywho, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when I took my husband out to dinner, I predictably chose …yes, pumpkin salad.
To celebrate my hubs upcoming birthday, we chose to enjoy a dinner in the relaxed setting of the The Best Brew Bar and Kitchen at the Four Points by Sheraton. About a month ago I was graciously invited by the hotel to enjoy a dinner at their establishment as part of their Savor and Save campaign and after a quick look at the menu I just knew it would be right up B’s alley. After a very short discussion (I asked, he said aha), we kindly accepted their invitation. You see, in addition to hawkers food, B. terribly enjoys a good steak, beautifully cooked seafood and good wine, all features of The Best Brew and all featuring in front of him on the night. He was a happy camper.
Sadly, my pumpkin dreams crumbled to bits on the evening, as I did not enjoy my salad that much. In fact, after a couple of mouthfuls I concluded I wasn’t that keen to finish my meal. Not a lot of flavor, too much lettuce and not a lot of anything else, pumpkin and orange maybe not that nice in a salad and, argh, a bland dressing. So I sipped a bit more wine and enjoyed my husband’s company.
Towards the end of our dinner we were pleasantly surprised by the staff with a thoughtful Happy Birthday dessert platter. Although, a beautifully decorated fresh fruit platter would have made me infinitely happier, the boy enjoyed the unexpected surprise so I kept quiet and swallowed my lecture on sugar. I love his happy face. All in all we had a lovely evening and the staff, knowing about the occasion, ensured we enjoyed ourselves.
But let us talk more pumpkin. Because pumpkin is awesome. Show it a little hot oven lovin’ and it will reward you with gorgeous, caramelized flavors. Below, what is to date my favorite pumpkin salad. Inspired by Ottolenghi’s latest cookbook, Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking, with few TalesofaKitchen twists, substitutions and additions, this salad kicks ass. In addition to beautiful, dark golden pumpkin, there’s heaps of complete protein from the quinoa, crisp fresh mixed greens, crunchy pumpkin seeds and the dressings…oh dear lord, these two dressings combined, they meet on your tongue and do a little plant based happy dance. Nothing but full on, bold flavors in this salad.
Roasted pumpkin quinoa salad with ‘yogurt’ and coriander dressings
- 1 butternut pumpkin, cut into chunks
- 5 TBSP coconut oil
- 1 TBSP cinnamon
- sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups of quinoa
- 2 handfuls of pumpkin seeds
- salad greens, as many as you can handle
To make the ‘yogurt’ dressing:
To make the coriander dressing:
- 2 big handfuls of coriander, leaves and stems
- 1 garlic clove
- 7 TBSP olive oil
- 1 TBSP ACV
- salt to taste
- 2-3 TBSP water or more if needed
- Preheat oven to 220C.
- In a big bowl, toss the pumpkin chunks with coconut oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Spread onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and roast for about 40 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.
- Rinse the quinoa and cook it with 4 cups water. I used my rice cooker for this but you can simmer it in a pot until it absorbs all the water.
- Slightly dry toast the pumpkin seeds in a small pan over low heat, stirring every 20 seconds so they don’t burn. Scoop into a clean, cold bowl and set aside.
- Add all the ingredients for the ‘yogurt’ to a blender and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Scoop into a bowl.
- Add to blender the ingredients for the coriander dressing and blitz until smooth. No need to rinse the blender in between uses. The cashew yogurt will actually add creaminess to the coriander dressing. Scoop into a bowl.
- When the pumpkin is ready, arrange the salad greens on a platter, top with pumpkin, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and generous amounts of both dressings. Deee-vine!
Now onto some exciting news. The lovely people over at the Best Brew, are giving one lucky TalesofaKitchen reader a $100 dinner voucher! This means it’s GIVEAWAY time.
***Giveaway is closed. The winner is lucky number 6, Jess!!***
- You must be based in Perth.
- You must comment on this post and tell me ‘What’s your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin?‘. Teach me something new lovelies. 🙂
- Giveaway runs until Friday, 06 March 2015.
- One lucky winner will be selected randomly within 2 days and will be announced on this blog post. Winner must respond within 3 days, otherwise another winner will be selected.
Disclaimer: I haven’t been paid to promote any of the businesses and campaigns mentioned in this blog post, however the dinner was complimentary. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own, as always.