I often like to serve salads (and other dishes) in a deconstructed fashion – little piles of food served on a large platter or a cutting board so you can see all of the elements separately, play with the ingredients and build your own dish.
This deconstructed pumpkin and beef salad has Middle Eastern and North African flavours woven through but you could easily transform it into Mediterranean or Asian inspired version. It’s all about the spices, herbs and condiments you use.
This recipe is great for those doing my paleo programs or Whole30. It’s easy to prepare ahead of time as well: you can roast the pumpkin and cook the beef on the weekend and serve it a couple of days later.
- Dukkah is a Middle Eastern seed and spice mixture. You can often see it served with bread and olive oil, sprinkled on eggs or used as a rub. You can pick it up from most supermarkets or make your own. There are many versions, here is one recipe that I like. You can use lamb cutlets or other meat instead of beef.
- If you don’t have dukkah spice mix, simply combine together a teaspoon each of cumin powder, sesame seeds, coriander seed powder, plus a pinch of sea salt and pepper.
- Rocket, also known as arugula, can be subbed with watercress, baby spinach or any other leafy salad of choice.
- Beef can be replaced with grilled chicken or prawns. For a vegetarian version, grill some mushrooms or halloumi cheese on the side.
- Tahini can be subbed with sunflower, almond or cashew butter. You can also use a teaspoon of mayonnaise instead, to add some creaminess to the dressing.
- For AIP version, season the pumpkin with sea salt, pepper and cinnamon instead of using seed-based spices.
For the beef steak
- 2 small beef steaks (fillet, rib eye or sirloin)
- Ground pepper
- A couple of pinches of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (for frying, ghee is also ok)
For the pumpkin
- 2–3 cups peeled pumpkin chunks or strips (Butternut or Kent)
- 2 tablespoons dukkah spice blend
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Generous pinch of salt
- Pinch of red chilli flakes or chilli powder
For the rocket salad
- 2 large handfuls of rocket leaves
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon dried cranberries, chopped up roughly
- 1 + 1/2 tablespoons slivered or flaked almonds
- Juice of 1/2 lemon,
- 1–2 tablespoons olive oil
- Handful of fresh mint (optional)
For the tahini dressing
- 1 teaspoon tahini paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped, grated or crushed
- A pinch of sea salt
- Take the beef out of the fridge, rub with a generous pinch of pepper and salt and set aside to come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 395 F. Cut the pumpkin and add to a bowl with dukkah spice mix, olive oil, chilli and salt. Using your hands, toss everything until well incorporated and the rub is evenly stuck to the pumpkin pieces. Scatter the crusted pumpkin pieces on a medium, lightly greased baking tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Toss the rocket salad with onion, dried cranberries, almonds, lemon juice and olive oil.
- Whisk tahini paste with olive oil, garlic and salt and set aside.
- Preheat a frying pan with coconut oil until sizzling hot. Fry the beef for 3-4 minutes each side, about 7 minutes total (for medium rare). Set aside on a cutting board for about 3-4 minutes, to rest. Slice thinly.
- Assemble all salad elements on a large cutting board or a platter: a pile of roasted pumpkin, a mountain of rocket salad, sliced steak and the tahini dressing in a bowl. Drizzle the steak with some of the tahini dressing. You can also serve this dish as pre-mixed salad bowls.
If you love this recipe, make sure to share it around. You can share it to your Pinterest board from here. Leave a question or comment below. Enjoy!