Friday, November 08, 2013

We tried it: Pumpkin salad with parmesan cheese and pumpkin seed dressing

We’re all trying to eat healthier here at the D’Souza household – all except Zach, who, we sometimes suspect, is trying not to eat at all. So, the quest to find interesting salads and soups is always on. I’ve now found a whole new way to sort out and access the recipes I’ve collected (see below), which means I no longer have an excuse of not knowing what to cook.


One of the most interesting salads I’ve found recently is Chef Ritu Dalmia’s Pumpkin Salad with Parmesan Cheese and Pumpkin Seed Dressing from her latest book Diva Green: A Vegetarian Cookbook. I’m not otherwise a fan of pumpkin, so this was a fun way for me to work with the vegetable. Of course, my versions have had a whole lot of compromises and omissions – but the fact that I’ve made this recipe twice in two weeks indicates that we’ve enjoyed it a lot.

Pumpkin Salad with Parmesan Cheese and Pumpkin Seed Dressing
Adapted from Chef Ritu Dalmia’s Diva Green

For the salad:
50 ml pure virgin olive oil (I used maybe just enough to moisten the pumpkin cubes)
½ tsp balsamic vinegar
salt to season
500 g pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed, cubed
1 spring onion, finely chopped
handful of coriander, chopped
250 g greens – rocket, mixed salad leaves (the second time I made this recipe, didn’t bother with these)
50 g parmesan cheese (didn’t have it, didn’t use it)

For the dressing:
2 tsp pumpkin seeds (see method below)
1 red chilli, seeds removed (used a regular green chilli)
¼ cup orange juice
50 ml extra virgin olive oil (used maybe 10 ml)
salt and pepper to season

Preheat the oven to 200 C.


In a large bowl, mix the oil, vinegar and salt together. Add the pumpkin cubes, toss well. Make sure the pumpkin is evenly coated. Place the pumpkin on a foil-lined baking tray and roast till fork-tender – about 10 minutes. (Because I used much less oil than indicated, I allowed my pumpkin to roast for almost 30 to 40 minutes.)

In a small, shallow-frying pan, toast the pumpkin seeds over medium heat till golden brown. (These pumpkin seeds are from the pumpkin, duh! I actually sent Kevin out to buy these the first time! Anyway, I dried the pumpkin seeds on kitchen paper, rubbed them with a mixture of very little oil, sumac and salt and baked them in the oven next to the pumpkin cubes – remember to take them earlier than the pumpkin. They make a tasty snack too!)

To make the dressing, combine the pumpkin seeds, chilli, orange juice and olive oil in a blender. Process for a few seconds till it becomes a smooth dressing. Pour into a clean bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Add the pumpkin cubes, spring onion and coriander to the dressing. Mix gently so that the pumpkin is coated with the dressing but does not break.

Place the greens (if using) on a shallow platter, top with the dressed pumpkin cubes and garnish with shavings of parmesan cheese.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

I also took this salad to work, keeping all the components [pumpkin cubes] + [dressing] + [coriander + spring onions] separate and taking my precious crisp pumpkin seeds in a screw of tin foil.


Now to my discovery: Plan to Eat... I found this site in my search for somewhere to put all my recipes and ideas in this whole eating-healthier journey.
There are three parts to Plan to Eat (PTE).


First, you build your Recipe Book. PTE allows you to file away your favourite recipes from the net (via a PTE button that you install on your bookmarks bar), and manually feed in recipes from your own cookbooks and little slips of paper.
You can file them under different courses – appetisers, main courses, soup, salads, desserts – or even make your own categories – snacks, indulgences…

Then, you plan a week’s eating with the recipes you have – you drag your recipes to different days and meals, and rearrange them and all that.

Then, you allow PTE to build your shopping list. You can remove items that you already have from the list, and then export the list to email it, or print it and take it with you. How cool is that?
I’m currently on the free trial version, but I know I’m going to subscribe.
And no, this is not a sponsored post – I’m hoping PTE will get you as excited about planning – and archiving – your recipes and eating well as I am.

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