You may think December is a bit late to share a winter squash recipe, but you’d be wrong! (Technically it’s not yet winter, anyway.) Winter squash/pumpkin is great right through until spring as it stores so well, and I still have about a dozen that I grew in my small garden this season. They’ll be cheap and easily available for at least a couple of months yet.
This is a warm autumn pumpkin salad with roasted pumpkin, root vegetables, seeds, and a creamy tahini dressing over greens. I make this salad through autumn and into winter – it’s both fresh and comforting, a tricky balance. The dressing is incredible and combines perfectly with the earthy, sweet vegetables and herbs.
Try this as a side over the upcoming holidays, or as a light lunch or dinner any day of the week. It’s just filling enough as is for a light meal, especially served with bread, but you can make some protein-rich additions if you’d like.
This is lightly adapted from my friend Nina Olsson’s book. If you don’t have any of Nina’s books, I highly recommend them! One hit after another, she now has four books released, and they are all excellent.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Seeds: the original recipe calls for hemp seeds and for the pumpkin seeds to be roasted to add to the salad. I skipped that step this time but have kept it in the recipe card if you’d like to include them. Since hemp is so pricey here (though Nina also lives in the Netherlands) I usually use sunflower seeds.
- Greens: use spinach, hardier greens like rucola (rocket/arugula), chard, or kale for the base of the salad.
- Winter squash: Nina uses a butternut squash but I typically go for hokkaido – it doesn’t need to be peeled, which is great, and I grow it in my garden with good success. Any kind of sweet winter squash can be used, even delicata.
Step by Step
1. Prepare the vegetables: peel the pumpkin if necessary and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place the pumpkin, beets, onions, and radishes onto the other prepared baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and add the salt, thyme, sage, and tarragon.
2. Cook: roast for about 25 minutes, or until the pumpkin and beets are soft. Watch carefully for the last five minutes as you don’t want the vegetables to be too soft.
3. Assemble: place the roasted vegetables into a large bowl and fold in the greens. Top with the seeds and serve with the tahini dressing.
4. Toss: mix to combine and serve warm.
For a higher protein meal, mix in some chickpeas (roasted or raw) or serve with quinoa. It makes a wonderful side dish in the autumn and winter months but can also be a nice light meal.
Make extra vinaigrette and keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week – it’s great with any roasted vegetables, as a salad dressing, or with wraps and sandwiches. I love it with a simple tray bake of carrots and/or pumpkin, potatoes, and chickpeas.
How to Store
Storage: keep the roasted vegetables in a container and add them to the greens immediately before serving, then top with the vinaigrette. With really hardy greens like kale it’s okay to store for a day or two mixed up, but generally keeping them separate makes for a better leftover meal.
Freezing: the roasted vegetables could be frozen, then thawed, reheated, and mixed with the greens, but this seems like about as much work as starting from scratch.
More Winter Squash Recipes
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This recipe is lightly adapted from Bowls of Goodness: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes Full of Nourishment. Copyright © 2017 Nina Olsson. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Edel Germany GmBH and translated into english.
- 400 grams pumpkin or roughly one small pumpkin, diced
- 400 grams beets cut into wedges (4 medium sized beets)
- 2 small red onions cut into wedges
- 1 bunch radishes halved
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 handful thyme leaves
- 1 small handful oregano chopped
- 1 small handful tarragon leaves
- 1 handful hardy greens spinach, chard, etc.
- 1 handful sunflower seeds
- ½ teaspoon sea salt to taste
Lemon Tahini Dressing
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel the pumpkin if necessary and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Place the pumpkin, beets, onions, and radishes onto the other prepared baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and add the salt, thyme, oregano, and tarragon. Mix to coat the vegetables.400 grams pumpkin, 400 grams beets, 2 small red onions, 1 bunch radishes, 1 tablespoons olive oil, 1 handful thyme leaves, 1 small handful oregano, 1 small handful tarragon leaves, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Roast for about 25 minutes, or until the pumpkin and beets are soft. Watch carefully for the last five minutes as you don’t want the vegetables to be too soft.
- While the vegetables are roasting, make the vinaigrette.
- Place the roasted vegetables into a large bowl and fold in the greens. Top with the seeds and serve with the lemon tahini dressing.1 handful hardy greens, 1 handful sunflower seeds
Lemon Tahini Dressing
- Add the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper to small container and mix to combine. Add water as needed to thin the dressing.Juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons tahini, 1 clove garlic, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking sheet.
- Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and place them into a sieve. Rinse with cold water, then place the seeds in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, drain, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle some salt over the seeds and bake for about 5 minutes or until the seeds are golden. Watch carefully so they don’t burn.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
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