A rockin’ good roast pumpkin salad
Who said vegetables had to be boring? If you’ve been giving Veganuary a go, you’ve probably been enjoying the adventure of exploring the many deliciously different ways that you can incorporate vegies into your daily meals. The possibilities are endless – from cauliflower schnitzels to mushroom burgers, from vegie risottos to jackfruit enchiladas, you can dig into some truly tasty grub without needing even a scrap of meat. But while all these meals are awesome, when it comes to veg 101, you can’t really ever go past the humble salad.
While the word “salad” might conjure up images of a few soggy leaves of iceberg lettuce and a stray tomato and cucumber slice or two, a salad can actually be hearty and nutritious enough to stand as a meal in its own right. Case in point: Three Blue Ducks chef Darren Robertson’s restaurant Rocker has prepared an al fresco recipe idea for us that’s perfect for the summer and for Veganuary. Whip it up next time you have guests, and when they rave about it, say casually, “What, this old thing? Oh, I just threw it together.”
Roast pumpkin, almond cream, apple and fennel salad
1 medium Japanese pumpkin
For the salad/garnish
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch mint
1 fennel bulb
1 green apple
For the salad dressing
100ml good olive oil
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp fermented chilli
For the fermented almond cream
200g almond meal
200ml almond milk
Fermented chilli liquid or hot sauce
For the pumpkin marinade
2 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp coriander seed
Salt and pepper
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
2. Prepping the pumpkin can be a bit tricky, so make sure you’ve got a safe workspace. Split the pumpkin in half, then half again. You should have 4 large quarters. Scoop out seeds and place pumpkin to the side. For this recipe it’s recommended to use 2 quarters for 6 people.
3. Grab a large bowl and mix the pumpkin marinade together, adding a splash of olive oil and honey to taste. It should be sweet and spicy.
4. Line a large baking tray with paper. If the marinade bowl is big enough, place each pumpkin piece inside and coat with the marinade, placing each one on the baking tray once coated. Pour any leftover marinade over the pumpkin once they’re on the tray.
5. Bake at 180°C for roughly 50 minutes until the pumpkins are soft in the middle.
6. While pumpkin is cooking, make the almond cream. Place the almond meal and almond milk in a small pan. Place over a low heat, and gently stir it until it comes together.
7. You’ll need a blender for this bit. Place almond mix into a blender with 1-2 tablespoons of fermented chilli liquid (or hot sauce), a good glug of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Blend until smooth, season with salt. Put in a container and into the fridge to cool.
8. For the salad, pick and wash a handful of each herb, give them a good dry or a spin in a salad spinner. Julienne 1 green apple. For the fennel, take the core out and slice as thin as possible – roughly 1 handful of shaved fennel. Place salad ingredients in a bowl.
9. Mix dressing ingredients in a bowl, season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
10. Once the pumpkin is cooked, take it out of the oven and let it cool slightly. Then grab a large plate and place a good dollop of the almond cream on the plate followed by the pumpkin on top. Add your dressing to the salad, giving it a good mix and taste. Place the salad on top of the pumpkin, finish with a good dukkah and a drizzle of olive oil.