This easy vegan roasted pumpkin salad is filled out with textural lentils, kale, and a garlicky tahini dressing. A great weeknight meal or warm salad to have around the holidays, it’s perfect throughout autumn and winter.
This roasted pumpkin salad is a riff on something I make all the time in autumn and winter, a vegan warm salad with some sort of roasted vegetable, lentils, greens, and a creamy tahini dressing. It’s a slightly fancier version of my everyday spicy roasted carrots.
Since moving from Canada, pumpkin feels a bit more like a special occasion vegetable (it’s a bit harder to find, especially in any variety beyond a couple). So this feels like a holiday dinner, even though it only needs a few minutes of prep time.
Think of it as a relatively quick and easy meal for any day of the week – but it makes a really lovely side dish on a holiday table, too. If you’re planning on having a more traditional main then this is also something that’ll satisfy any veg family/friends.
- Half a pumpkin
- Olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Cooked lentils (brown or black, see substitutions)
- Kale (see substitutions)
- Pomegranate Seeds
- Apple cider vinegar
- Maple syrup
Preheat the oven and line a baking sheet. Peel the pumpkin if necessary, then halve, remove the seeds, and slice into wedges. Mix with the olive oil and spices, place onto the sheet, and bake for a little over half an hour, depending on the size of the pieces.
While the pumpkin is in the oven, cook the lentils (if they’re not already cooked) in salted water. Make the dressing by mixing everything in a small jar, or whisking very well in a bowl (see below for notes on thickening).
Place the lentils and kale on a large plate or platter, and top with the pumpkin directly out of the oven. This helps to wilt the kale. Top with the tahini dressing and pomegranate and serve immediately.
Tips and Notes
I used a kogigu squash in these photos, and read that it doesn’t need to be peeled. It should be peeled. You can use a hokkaido and skip peeling, or try butternut, acorn, whatever.
Choose a tahini you actually like! Turning it into a sauce and pouring it over roasted veggies is obviously not the same as eating straight from the jar, but it should be at least edible straight, or you won’t like the dressing either. Runny tahini is best.
The dressing does tend to thicken up significantly after sitting for a few minutes. It also has a tendency to seize if you go a little crazy with the maple syrup. Water can be added to thin it up to a point, but it will, of course, dilute the flavour. Don’t go over a tablespoon or so of water – after that, add a little more olive oil, and vinegar, to thin it out.
Pomegranate is key in this recipe. You need those little acidic pops or else the salad is too rich and savoury. Apple cranberry sauce would be a good alternative, and equally festive, so if you don’t have a pom around, dollops of cranberry sauce are also fine.
Use either green, black, or brown lentils here, but not red. You want them to keep their shape and some texture after cooking, so red lentils are innapropriate.
Any hardy green can replace kale. Chard, spinach, and rucola (arugula) are all very good options and can be used interchangeably.
If you don’t like tahini, almond butter or sunflower seed butter are good substitutes.
More Pumpkin Recipes
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- 400 grams (14 oz. or 1/2 small) pumpkin, cut into 2cm (1 in.) slices
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 300 grams (2 cups) cooked lentils*
- 1 bunch kale, chopped, (~70 grams or 3 cups)
- 1/2 pomegranate, seeds
Tahini Ginger Dressing
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) runny tahini
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 190C (375F). Place the pumpkin onto a large, parchment paper lined baking sheet. Mix with the olive oil, cumin, pepper, and salt to coat.
- Bake the pumpkin slices for 30-35 minutes, or until fork-soft and golden brown around the edges.
- While the pumpkin is in the oven, cook the lentils in well salted water (if they're not already cooked).
- Make the dressing. Add the tahini, vinegar, olive oil, ginger, garlic, maple syrup, salt, and pepper to a jar or container and whisk/shake until fully combined. Add a splash of water if necessary (see tips and notes in the post).
- When the pumpkin is ready, place the lentils and kale onto a large platter or plate. Top immediately with the roasted pumpkin (this will help to wilt the kale slightly).
- Top with the tahini dressing, followed by the pomegranate seeds, and serve warm. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to three days and are pretty good cold.
* Cook the lentils in salted water while the pumpkin is in the oven if you don't have any already cooked.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 13gSodium: 547mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 11gSugar: 13gProtein: 13g
This data is provided by a calculator and is a rough estimation of the nutritional information in this recipe.
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This post was originally published in December 2018. It has been updated with new and more informative text, and some clarifications to the recipe, as of October 2020.