Monday, 16 July 2012

Roast Pumpkin and Olive Salad

Do you have a 'go to' salad?  You know the salad you can make with your eyes shut.  The one that when someone says "Just bring a salad", that's the one you bring.  Yes?  Well my 'go to' salad was a spicy roast pumpkin, feta and olive salad from Bill Granger's book 'bill's food'.  I love it.  Problem is a low fat dairy-free diet means no feta.  I know feta is made from sheep and/or goat's milk but it's still out for me.

How could I give the salad some creaminess without using feta?  Answer - Pine nuts.  So here's my 'go to' salad without feta.

800g pumpkin cut into 2cm cubes (I used butternut)
100g baby spinach leaves
20 kalamata olives, pitted
pine nuts, lightly dry roasted (I use a small handful)
Pumpkin seasoning
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt flakes & freshly ground pepper
Salad dressing
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
60ml (3tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil (I often only use 2 tbsp)

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius
Combine the pumpkin and seasoning mix.  Make sure the pumpkin pieces are well coated with oil and seasoning.  Bake in a roasting tin or pyrex dish for 30 minutes until the pumpkin is tender and slightly caramelised.  Cool. You can adjust the cumin & cayenne pepper to your liking.

Place the dressing ingredients in a jam jar, screw the lid on and shake to combine.

Remove the seeds from the olives.  I use whole kalamata olives and pit them using a special cherry/olive pitter. I like the taste of fresh olives better than the pitted olives in jars.

Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry frying plan until you they are lightly toasted and release their aroma.

Assemble the salad. Start with the spinach leaves, then scatter over the pumpkin, olives, and pine nuts. Drizzle the salad with dressing just before serving.

I took this salad to my in-laws place for lunch.  Look at the view from their balcony.  Pretty nice huh?

Notes & Variations:  You could also use chick peas instead of pine nuts. 
Seasonal:  Pumpkins are know as a winter squash but are available all year round in Australia.
Nutrition:  Being an orange coloured vegetable, pumpkin is very high in vitamin A.  It is mildly anti-inflammatory.  (source - self nutrition data)
Interesting Facts:  Pumpkins are grown throughout Australia, but mainly in NSW and Queensland (source).  Whole pumpkins should still have the stem attached, and will keep for months.  Cut pumpkin will deteriorate and should be used quickly.  Common pumpkin varieties include, butternut, Jap (short for Japanese, also known as Kent), and Queensland Blue  (source).


  1. Kylie,

    I want to say so much about this post of yours (all good things :)

    But I can't get past (or over) YOU PIT YOUR OWN OLIVES!!!

    Girlfriend - you are amazing x


  2. sounds and looks delicious!!

  3. Love that you have called yourself the MS Foodie. Hope the change to dairy free etc isn't too difficult so far.

    PS The inlaws view is lovely and trust it was a fabbo day

  4. Looks amazing Kylie. It's going on the must try list :)
    Cas x

  5. This looks great Kylie and I will definitely try this. And can I just say how fantastic your photos are? Fx

  6. That looks amazing! Hope you don't mind if I pin this-yum!

    I'm loving your recipes Kylie. I think you are fabulous!

    Best wishes,

  7. This looks delicious! Pumpkin & pine-nuts are such a great combination.

    I was also recently diagnosed with MS and haven't heard of the link between it and dairy. Do you have some more info on it that you would be able to share with me. I'm interested in finding anything that will help :)

  8. Pumpkin salad is one of my faves and this looks delicious.
    I have just signed up as your latest following & I look forward to popping back soon for some more creative (& yummy) inspiration!


  9. Yummy - so many of my favourite foods all in one dish. Love it:)


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