Roasted Pumpkin Harvest Salad
This beautiful fall salad is perfect for any occasion: date night, harvest festivals, holiday gatherings or any meal of the week. It's LOADED with lots of flavor and plenty of gorgeous colors. Composed with a distinct Mediterranean flair, but 80% of the ingredients were harvested right here on our little plot of paradise! Purple Peruvian potatoes, Kalamata olives, green beans, Manzanilla olives, pickled beets, roasted pie pumpkin, sautéed beet stems, Great Northern beans with pumpkin seeds, capers, beet greens and purple kale dressed with my Pumpkin Tarragon Vinaigrette.
Scrumptious rating: 10 out of 10! This Roasted Pumpkin Harvest Salad is one you'll be making all season long - AND you're only 30 minutes away from assembling it yourself! Let's get started...
GREENS: for a fall salad I like to use beet greens, kale, chard or winter spinach (or a combination). The BEST greens though? ANY that you enjoy! I encourage you to venture out and try some you've never tried before or didn't care for in the past. I didn't especially like beet greens until I started growing beets myself and eating them freshly harvested... remarkable difference in taste. I also find raw kale more enjoyable after it's been exposed to a few frosts. This is when more sugars are produced (brassicas) or starches are converted into sugar (root veg).
POTATOES: I love the contrast of deep purple potatoes with the vibrant greens. We grow Purple Peruvian potatoes, a fingerling type that is tender and flavorful when roasted - not to mention LOADED with anthocyanins! If possible, choose potatoes with vibrant skins and/or interior flesh and don't peel them! If Russets are what you have, use them! All potatoes are nutritious - don't think you need to avoid them because of the latest fad diet.
ROOT VEG: I chose to use pickled beets because I enjoy the sweet & tangy contrast - and since beet greens got an invite, I wanted to use the entire plant. Roasted beets would be equally delicious, as would roasted carrots, parsnips or rutabagas. Don't discard the stems either, I'll show you how to use those too!
OLIVES & CAPERS: These provide a lovely brininess to this salad. I like to use an assortment of good olives and med/small capers. Which olives are "good" olives? Whichever ones taste good to YOU. Here, I've used Kalamata olives and Manzanilla because that's what I currently have on hand. If you've only eaten the black olives out of a can, I encourage you to explore the olive world a little more. Olive bars are perfect for this because you can try small samplings of many different types.
WINTER SQUASH: This has been my year for exploring the savory side of mini pie pumpkins. These are the small orange ones you see all around this time of year. They're not just for decoration either. They're fantastic roasted and are not available year-round, so save your canned pumpkin and use fresh whole pumpkins whenever you can. Delicata, butternut or sweet dumpling squash would be delicious here too. The skins on all of these is thin enough to eat... so no peeling!
GREEN BEANS: I harvested the last of our beans to use in this salad - bush beans, both green and purple. They taste the same, and the purple beans will turn green as they cook. The color change acts like a timer, when they've gone from purple to green they're perfectly al dente! If green beans are not available, try broccoli rabe or broccolini.
WHITE BEANS: I'm using Great Northern Beans here because they're a little larger and provide a bit more protein, but cannellini, navy, lima or garbanzo beans could be used as well. Legumes contribute protein, fiber, folate, iron, calcium and a host of other minerals too. They also increase satiety so you feel pleasantly satisfied.
NUTS or SEEDS: Since I'm using roasted pumpkin, I chose to use pumpkin seeds too. I tossed them with the beans to provide both color and textural contrast. Red or English walnuts or hazelnuts would also be good choices.
Now that you know the cast of characters, let's make this salad!
Total Time: 40-45 minutes Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook/Bake Time: 25-30 minutes PRINT HERE
Here's what you need for four dinner-sized servings:
1 orange pie pumpkin
2 tsp course salt (smoked if you have it)
3 tsp rubbed sage
2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp peppercorns (or ground pepper)
1 Tbsp olive oil*
8 cups greens, if using kale, see note.
2 cups fresh green beans
12 small fingerling potatoes
2 cups pickled beats, one pint-sized jar or fresh beets to roast
1 can (15 oz) Great Northern Beans
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, raw & unsalted
1/4 cup capers
1 cup assorted olives
1 batch Pumpkin Tarragon Vinaigrette or your favorite dressing
* For an oil-free version, use 1 Tbsp apple cider, veg stock or water instead of olive oil
Note: Kale needs to be destemmed to remove the tough stalks, especially when used in a salad. This is a quick and easy process that will make a big difference in the enjoyment of any dish using kale. Most pre-chopped cellophane bags of kale found in the produce section of your grocery store do a poor job of this and the kale is often dried out. Kale should be well hydrated when used. This is easily done by cutting an inch or so of the stalks off the bottom and placing the bundle/s in a container of ice water for about 30 minutes (up to overnight). Kale should also be as dry as possible before massaging. Be sure to spin it well in a salad spinner or blot with absorbent towels.
1. If you're using kale and haven't already prepped it, do that first. Strip the leaves from the stems [Not sure how to do that? Watch THIS 30 second video] and give them a soak in cold water while you prep the pumpkin.
2. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pop the stem off the pumpkin by applying pressure with your thumbs (or cut it off). Wash and dry the pumpkin; cut it in half (vertically through where the stem was attached); scoop out the seeds and pulp (save these for roasting later), and cut into 1/2" wedges. You should end up with 10 for each half (20 total).
3. Next wash and dry the potatoes. Cut them into bite sized pieces. The smallest ones can be left whole.
4. Toss the pumpkin wedges and potatoes in a bowl; drizzle with the olive oil (or oil-free alternative). Using a mortar and pestle, coffee grinder or even the back of a heavy metal spoon, coarsely grind the salt, fennel seeds and peppercorns. I like the mortar and pestle route... highly therapeutic. Sprinkle this mixture over the vegetables and toss to coat evenly. Spread the pumpkin wedges evenly onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and the potatoes onto a separate baking sheet or cast-iron skillet. If they all fit on one baking sheet, that's great, but be sure not to overlap or overcrowd.
5. If you're using roast beets instead of pickled beets, wash and peel the beets. Cut them into small bite sized pieces and bake on the same pan with the potatoes. Toss them separately from the pumpkin and potatoes to prevent bleeding.
6. Bake the veg for 25-30 minutes until tender and browned on the bottom. Remove from oven and keep warm.
7. While the pumpkin and potatoes are roasting, drain and dry the kale. Set aside.
8. Next, prepare the green beans. Wash and snip the ends. Heat a skillet to med/high. When hot, add the beans and a splash of apple cider, veg stock or water. Sautee/steam until vibrant green (if using purple beans, they will turn emerald green when cooked) and tender crisp. Remove from heat as soon as they're done.
9. If using beet greens, now is the time to sauté the stems. Use the same skillet you used to sauté the beans with just a splash of liquid (or 1/2 tsp of olive oil), S&P to taste. Sauté 2-3 until tender crisp. Remove from heat and set aside.
10. Choose your dressing. Below is my Pumpkin Tarragon Vinaigrette. This one uses pumpkin seed oil. I'm also working on an oil-free version. You may also like to try my oil-free Lemony Garlic Dressing or my oil-free Orange Ginger Dressing.
11. Next, drain the olives, capers and pickled beets onto absorbent towels. Open the can of beans, drain and rinse thoroughly in a small colander.
12. Next, roughly chop the greens and put them into the same bowl used to toss the pumpkin and potatoes. Toss with 2-3 Tbsp of vinaigrette. If using kale, massage the vinaigrette into the leaves for 2-3 minutes to soften.
13. Arrange the greens onto a large platter(s) or individual plates. Using the same bowl the greens were just in, toss the drained beans with 1 Tbsp vinaigrette and the pumpkin seeds.
14. Arrange the rest of the salad components onto the bed of greens. Serve with a carafe of additional vinaigrette (or dressing of choice).
Nutrition information is for 1/4 of the ingredients listed above (using beet greens and 2 Tbsp of vinaigrette)
DISCLOSURES: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products I use and trust.
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