One day, I was rummaging around in my fridge when I stumbled across half a pumpkin that I'd totally forgotten I bought. I didn't really know what to do with it and I couldn't be stuffed mashing and using it to bake something (which is what I normally do with pumpkin) but I couldn't let it go to waste either.
I roughly chopped up the pumpkin and threw the pieces into a baking tray. Making it up as I went along, I added a drizzle of olive oil, salt and some sprigs of fresh thyme. As an afterthought, I added some honey to the mix. The pieces were left to roast until tender. I had already eaten that night so I didn't even use the pumpkin until the following day but that's irrelevant.
When I was trying to think of what to eat with the pumpkin, I took inspiration from the mushroom, goat's cheese and hazelnut open sandwich. Goat's cheese and hazelnut worked there and goat's cheese and pumpkin is a classic combination (for a great example, see this pumpkin and goat's cheese risotto) so in my mind, it made perfect sense. In the sandwich recipe, acidity comes from a dash of red wine vinegar. Here, I used some aged balsamic and it really brought everything together. I added that right at the end so some of my photos show the salad with the balsamic and some don't.
Honey Roasted Pumpkin with Goat's Cheese and Hazelnuts
Serves 2 light eaters as mains
- 1/2 butternut pumpkin (about 4-500g)
- 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts
- 50g goat's cheese (I think firm works better for this recipe)
- drizzle of balsamic vinegar (about 1/4 cup)
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2. Deseed the pumpkin and cut it into roughly 4cm portions. I like to eat the skin so I leave it on but you can remove the skin if you like.
3. Toss the pumpkin with the olive oil, salt, thyme and honey in a foil-lined baking tray.
4. Roast for about 40-50 minutes or until golden and tender. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
5. Combine the pumpkin with the hazelnuts and goat's cheese (and more thyme if you desire).
6. Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar when ready to serve.
Pre-application of balsamic
I thought this was a really simple recipe. Because I roasted the pumpkin beforehand, I just heated a couple of pieces up in the microwave and added the rest of the ingredients as I needed. Now that the weather is getting warmer, you don't even have to reheat the pumpkin pieces. They're nice eaten cold too.
Post-application of balsamic
The balsamic vinegar was really the key ingredient here. If I had more time/could be bothered I may have tried reducing it to make it thicker and more binding. I think that would have been an improvement on texture and consistency but the flavors work perfectly as is. This salad is great as a midweek work lunch.