Tri Pumpkin Salad with Basil, Honey Pepitas and Persian Feta

No, I didn’t make a spelling mistake, it is not a ‘Thai’ Pumpkin Salad, it is in fact a ‘Tri’ Pumpkin Salad, in that there is pumpkin three ways in here (well, maybe even four ways if you count the seeds). There have been pumpkins everywhere at the farmer’s markets lately, and as usual I’ve been making lots of different types of hummus. Turns out my pumpkin hummus has been a favourite. One night recently it even lead to a marriage proposal.

Slow roasting pumpkin with the skin on is probably my favourite way to cook it. And recently I came across a recipe that used raw butternut pumpkin teamed with fresh apple and candied pecans.

So, I decided to make a dish celebrating all things pumpkin and Autumn. It turned out a treat! Next time I will serve it alongside some fresh homemade flatbreads for scooping up all the goodness.

 

RECIPE
Serves 6

Ingredients
1 kent pumpkin, cut in half horizontally, seeds scooped out (you will only need 1 half)
Olive oil
Honey
Salt and pepper
4 celery stalks, thinly sliced with vegetable peeler and placed in iced water
1/4 butternut pumpkin, peeled and thinly sliced with vegetable peeler
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
Small bunch basil, leaves picked
200g persian or danish feta
A few tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
1 tin chickpeas, drained
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup tahini
Handful fresh parsley
1/2 cup pepitas

Method
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Place the cut kent pumpkin on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil, honey and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook, for about 50 mins, or until caramelised and a knife is easily inserted into the thickest part. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, place the cut butternut pumpkin in a bowl with a 1/4 cup of the white wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. Use hands to marinate and set aside.
In a frying pan, toast the pepitas over medium heat. Once nearly done, add a drizzle of honey and stir to coat. Toast for another minute. Remove from pan, onto a plate and leave to cool.
Cut the cooked kent pumpkin in half. Put one half aside. Scoop the inside out of the other half (discard skin) and place flesh into a food processor along with the chickpeas, other 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar, garlic, cumin, tahini, fresh parsley and some salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Check for seasoning and add more salt or vinegar if necessary.
Spoon the pumpkin hummus out onto a large platter and smooth out with the back of a spoon. Cut the remaining kent pumpkin into six wedges, leaving the skin on. Arrange on top of the pumpkin hummus. Drain the celery from the iced water. Arrange celery, butternut pumpkin, basil leaves and feta on top of the pumpkin hummus and cooked pumpkin. Sprinkle with pepitas. Drizzle with a little olive oil and the pomegranate molasses.
Enjoy!

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Maple Roasted Pumpkin, Kale, Blue Vein and Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate Molasses

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How awesome are vegetables! They are so versatile, exciting, colourful, textural, interesting, and above all, nourishing. I love treating my vegetables as the main point of a meal, all you need is a bit of love and a few extra touches, and the next thing you know you’ll be turning your humble piece of pumpkin thats been hiding at the bottom of your veggie draw, into a beautiful, shining, and delicious star!

I came across this Naranka Gold Pumpkin at the markets here, I’ve never seen it before, but, as I love to roast pumpkin with its skin on, I thought the look of this pumpkin’s golden skin was very enticing. Roasted to perfection with a hint of sweetness and citrus, it was absolutely delicious. Not to mention the nutty wild rice, the bursts of sweetness from the pomegranate, the earthiness of the kale and the strong scent of the blue vein. It is perfectly satisfying as a main meal but would also be great as part of a feast, along with roasted meats, spreads, other salads and breads. You could also replace the rice with quinoa and the blue vein with goats cheese or feta.

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups blended black, red and brown rice

1/2 a small naranka gold pumpkin, about 800g-1kg, cut into thick 5cm wedges, seeds scraped out

1 tbs golden syrup

1 tbs lemon infused olive oil

1/2 cup mixed seeds, such as pepitas, sunflower and pine nuts, toasted

4 large kale leaves, about 120g, stems cut out and leaves finely shredded

Small red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

Handful of fresh parsley and mint, roughly chopped

120g blue vein cheese. crumbled

Fruit from 1 fresh pomegranate

2 tbs pomegranate molasses

Splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil

Salt and pepper

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line an oven tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin with the lemon infused olive oil, maple syrup and some salt and pepper.

Lay the pieces of pumpkin in a single layer on the lined baking tray. Place in the oven and cook for about 45 mins, turning halfway, until golden and tender, crisp edges are good. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Boil the rice until tender. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until soft, about 5mins. Add the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and kale, and continue to sauté for another 5mins. Add to the bowl with the rice, along with half of the toasted seeds, half of the pomegranate, the fresh herbs, a splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Mix well.

Empty the rice mixture out onto a large serving plate. Top with the pumpkin, the rest of the seeds, the rest of the pomegranate, the blue vein, and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.

Enjoy!

 

 

Roasted Pumpkin, Pistachio and Ricotta Dip

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Dips, cheeses, marinated vegetables, chutneys, preserves, olives, salted meats, crackers, nuts, breads, fruits and tapenades….all of these things sound like heaven to me. Just put as many of these beautiful little treats as you can on a plate, pour some vino and you’re in for a good time. No need for dinner either, if you do it right!

This dip came about as a result of some roasted pumpkin, garlic and ricotta, leftover from making empanadas (to which I will post the recipe for in the next couple of days). We are really into eating well on a budget at the moment, which has resulted in some really creative and delicious meals. It’s so satisfying sitting down to a meal knowing that it cost us about $1 to make. I love getting home from work and looking through the garden, picking a few things that I want for dinner and seeing how others are coming along. The rains have finally settled in which means we should have a bumper crop of sweet potatoes coming on soon. I am so grateful to the beautiful people that have allowed us to look after their lovely house and friendly animals, it’s such a great experience.

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Ingredients

1 cup roasted butternut pumpkin

2 cloves garlic, roasted in their skins, squeezed out

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper

handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup firm ricotta, crumbled

1/3 cup pistachios, shelled, roasted and finely chopped

Method

In a small processor, or with a hand held stick blender, process the pumpkin, garlic, cumin seeds, chilli flakes, lemon juice and the salt and pepper. Add a little olive oil if it’s too dry.

Stir through the parsley, ricotta, and pistachios. Check for seasoning and add more if necessary.

Serve with crackers, vegetable sticks or whatever you like!