I have some trouble deciding what to call this salad. There are just too many good things to fit in the title. The main component is roast pumpkin, no issues with that. However, there are so many complimentary ingredients that make this salad work so well that it's unfair I just include goat's cheese.
For starters, one of my favorite parts of the salad is the candied walnuts. I also love the raisin and balsamic vinegar reduction that brings all the flavors together. There's also prosciutto here which gives any salad some extra body and substance.
I was inspired by a recipe from Bill Granger's 'Feed me now' (I've been using this cookbook a lot lately) but got quite derailed from the original dish. For starters, his was a pumpkin and grape salad. I couldn't find grapes at the supermarket so they must not be in season. Raisins were used instead and I also added some extra things here and there.
Roast Pumpkin and Goat's Cheese Salad
Serves 1 for main or 2 for sides
- 250g butternut pumpkin, cut into wedges (it was about 1/4 of a whole pumpkin for me)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander (I used semi-crushed whole coriander seeds)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1 heaped tbsp sugar
- 1 slice of prosciutto
- 1 cup of salad greens, washed
- 20g soft goat's cheese
1. Mix together the 2 tbsp of olive oil, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Toss the pumpkin wedges through it.
2. Bake in an oven preheated to 220 degrees till tender (about 20min). Remove and set aside.
3. In the meantime, start the balsamic reduction. Heat up the 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the raisins until they plump up a bit. Add the balsamic vinegar and 1/2 tbsp sugar and lower the heat - reduce down till slightly viscous. Set aside.4. In a small non-stick frying pan or saucepan, heat up the 1 heaped tbsp of white sugar on high until it begins to melt. Stir to make it melt evenly. Quickly toss the walnuts through to coat evenly and remove the pan from the heat to prevent the sugar from burning.
5. Spread the walnuts onto a piece of non-stick paper and let them cool down slightly before popping them in the freezer for a minute or so to harden completely. Set aside until needed.6. Pan fry the piece of prosciutto until crispy. Tear into smaller pieces.
7. Assemble your salad by layering the greens with some pumpkin, walnuts, goat's cheese and prosciutto. Drizzle the raisin and balsamic vinegar reduction over the top.
I thoroughly enjoyed this salad - it was absolutely delicious. The flavors and textures worked together perfectly, from the crunchiness and sweetness of the candied walnuts to the tart balsamic reduction, creamy pumpkin and salty, crisp prosciutto.
Who says salads are boring? I can't think of a tastier way to get some vegetables into my system. I had a slight Andre-from-MasterChef moment when I burnt the baking paper that the pumpkin was roasting on but aside from that, minimal fuss and top notch taste.