You will love this delicious roast pumpkin and beetroot salad with crispy maple walnuts and maple Dijon mustard dressing. It can be served on its own or as a side dish with your favourite protein. This recipe is gluten-free, paleo, and vegan-friendly.
Sweet starchy veggies like pumpkin and beets are delicious in salads, especially when paired with something earthy (walnuts or pecans) and acidic or citrusy (our maple syrup apple cider vinegar dressing). Another classic addition is something salty like goat’s cheese or feta, which you can certainly add as well. I wanted to keep this salad dairy-free so I opted for no cheese.
HOW TO MAKE PUMPKIN & BEETROOT SALAD
For this salad, you will first need to roast the pumpkin. I like using a sweeter type like Kabocha squash or Japanese pumpkin but butternut squash will work just as well. Sweet potatoes and carrots could be used instead. These veggies are full of beta-carotene antioxidant and make a great source of healthy, starchy carbohydrates and fibre.
The pumpkin is roasted with simple seasoning and some fennel seeds for that lovely Mediterranean aroma. Thyme or oregano could be used instead.
You use raw beets which you can dice and roast together with the pumpkin, although they usually need a little longer in the oven. I used pre-packed cooked beetroot from the markets. Canned beets can be diced and will work fine.
While the pumpkin is roasting, toast the maple walnuts in a frying pan and prepare the dressing. The whole dish should take about 30 minutes or so.
Make-ahead tip: you can make all the elements for this salad ahead of time; roasted pumpkin can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days; the dressing will last for up to 5 days easily and the maple walnuts can be stored in an airtight container in the pantry for a week or two. Assemble and dress just before serving.
WHAT GOES WITH PUMPKIN & BEETROOT SALAD
This beetroot and pumpkin salad is a fabulous standalone dish but it also works well as a side with grilled meat or fish. I particularly like it with something like lamb cutlets or my Mediterranean-inspired chicken (check the recipe here). For a vegetarian or vegan version, you can cook a side of quinoa or brown rice or top the salad with cooked lentils or chickpeas. The oregano garlic marinade I used on my Mediterranean chicken can be used on tofu.
You will love this hearty salad with roasted pumpkin, cooked beets and cinnamon maple glazed walnuts. Serve as a light main or as a side dish. Serves between 2-3 depending on whether it’s a side or a main.
For roast pumpkin
- 1/2 Butternut or Kabocha pumpkin, peeled and diced into cubes
- 1.5 teaspoons fennel seeds (cumun seeds will also work well)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the beetroot
- 2 medium cooked beets, sliced into wedges or cubes
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- A pinch of salt and pepper
For the walnuts
- 1/3 cup walnut halves
- 1.5 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 0.5 teaspoon Dijon or wholegrain mustard
- A pinch of salt and pepper
Plus, 3-4 cups mixed salad leaves of choice.
- Preheat the oven the 200 C/ 400 F.
- In a bolw, toss together the pumpkin, fennel seeds, olive oil and salt. Scatter on a flat oven tray and place in the oven (middle shelf). You can pop it in the oven if it is still heating up to speed up the process. Roast for 20-25 minutes until soft and golden brown. Remove and cool slightly.
- Combine beetroot with apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper and set aside.
- In the meantime, break some of the walnuts in quarters and leave some as halves. Add to a small saucepan or a frying pan, together with the maple syrup and cinnamon. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Once the syrup starts bubbling, keep stirring for a minute, until the walnuts get sticky and caramelised. Then transfer to a plate covered with some parchment paper and set aside to cool. Once cooled, you can easily peel the galzed nuts off the paper.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- To assemble the salad, scatter the salad leaves on a large platter or a bowl and add the diced beetroot, roast pumpkin and walnuts. Drizzle some on the dressing on top and serve the reste on the side. You can also sprinkle a little sea salt on top.
Pecans can be used instead of walnuts. Sweet potato and carrots can be roasted too.
I used pre-cooked beets; you can use canned or boiled beets or roast some in the oven in another tray.