The best thing to make with a tray of roasted pumpkin is a protein-packed salad! Try my easy 20-minute Roast Pumpkin Salad. It is extra delicious with bursts of pomegranate, creamy quinoa and salty feta. Can be prepped ahead and is perfect for lunch boxes!
🧡 Why you'll love my Roast Pumpkin Salad
Have you ever eaten a delicious big veggie salad at the local cafe? A bowl full of plump roasted veggies, fresh greens, nuts and seeds and a really good salad dressing? My Roast Pumpkin Salad is all that and more. It is one of those lazy salad recipes that require no effort but is very good for you. Here is why you will love it!
- Caramelized pumpkin - Who doesn't love little cubes of golden, caramelized pumpkin? They are the best bits of this salad. Candied around the edges, warm and creamy. Mmmm!!
- Easy And Quick - All you really need to do for this salad is to roast a tray of pumpkin and cook quinoa on the stove. The rest is just mixing and tossing. Extremely easy and comes together in just over 20 minutes. This is quite often a quick lunch for me on weekdays.
- Super Healthy - Pumpkin is one of the highest sources of fiber. Quinoa and feta add a hefty amount of protein. You get good fats from sunflower seeds and olive oil. Lots of vitamins and antioxidants from the lemon and pomegranate. All this makes it a super healthy salad!
- Make ahead - This salad can be made up to 3 days in advance and tossed when you need to eat. Fully assembled salad also lasts 3 days in the fridge.
📝 Ingredients And Substitutions
- Pumpkin - I use butternut squash for this recipe. Peel and deseed the pumpkin. Cut into even one-inch cubes. If you make extra (which I always do!), the roast pumpkin will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Onion - Use red or Spanish onion for this recipe. Cut in half and then each half into 3-4 wedges.
- Quinoa - Cook a mix of white and red quinoa. You can also cook tri-colour quinoa which is readily available in supermarkets. The red and black quinoa is firmer on cooking and adds more texture to the salad. Just using white quinoa might make your salad a bit soggy.
- Pomegranate seeds - Use fresh or frozen pomegranate seeds. If you can't find any, substitute with dried cranberries.
- Sunflower seeds - Toast sunflower seeds lightly in a dry pan on medium heat. This helps bring out their nutty flavour. Sunflower seeds can be substituted with pepitas or pine nuts.
- Feta Cheese - You can either buy crumbled feta or just crumble blocks of feta to a consistency you like. Make sure they are crumbled evenly. Larger blocks of feta can be too salty in a mouthful. I like to use traditional Greek feta which has a sharper tang compared to the creamier and milder Danish feta. You can use sheep's or goat's feta for this recipe.
- Rocket (Arugula) - Rocket leaves are the best salad leaf option for this pumpkin salad. The sharp peppery taste of the rocket compliments the sweetness of the pumpkin and is a perfect match. You can substitute with baby spinach leaves.
- Coriander - This herb really lifts the freshness and brightness of this salad.
- Flavour makers - Besides salt and pepper, you will need sweet paprika and garlic powder to roast pumpkin and onion. The spices add a delicious depth of flavour to the roast veggies and make the salad super yummy!
- Olive oil And Lemon Juice - This roast pumpkin salad has the simplest salad dressing. You only need good quality extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice to bring the salad together.
🌿 How to make Roast Pumpkin Salad
- Add chopped pumpkin, onion, sweet paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper and olive oil to a bowl. Mix well.
- Spread the pumpkin and onion on a large-rimmed baking tray lined with baking paper.
3. Roast pumpkin and onion in the oven as per the recipe. When done, remove and cool slightly.
4. While the veggies are roasting, cook quinoa on the stove. See my notes on how to cook quinoa.
5. In a dry frying pan, toast sunflower seeds on medium-low heat for a minute until slightly coloured and toasty. Remove and cool.
6. Add all the ingredients for the roast pumpkin salad in a large bowl and mix well until everything is evenly coated.
🔪 Meal Prep And Storage
To meal prep this roast pumpkin salad, follow these steps
- Cook quinoa. Cool completely and store in a lidded, air-tight glass container in the fridge (keeps fresh for up to 3 days).
- Roast pumpkin and onion in the oven. Cool completely and store in a lidded, air-tight glass container in the fridge (keeps fresh for up to 5 days).
- Cut and deseed a pomegranate. Store in the fridge in a lidded, air-tight container (keeps fresh for up to 5 days).
- When ready to assemble, toast sunflower seeds for a minute, squeeze lemon juice and mix all ingredients together.
To store the salad in the fridge, fully assemble the salad and store it in a lidded, air-tight glass container for up to 3 days.
🍽️ Serving Suggestions
This roast pumpkin salad makes a great side for homemade potato fish cakes.
I often top my salad with these delicious crispy spaghetti fritters. Bellisimo! Match made in heaven!
And finally, you have to try this salad with a slice of this warm-from-the-oven Vegan Potato Torte. Divine!
I wouldn't recommend freezing this salad. Cooked pumpkin doesn't freeze very well. Pumpkin has a high liquid content and is juicy and succulent after roasting. When you freeze this roasted pumpkin, the liquid in it gets frozen too and makes the pumpkin squishy, soft and soggy when you thaw it. Not the best eating experience! The greens will also wilt when frozen.
Your fully prepped salad will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days. Mine has lasted as long as 5 days but it is still best to eat it as fresh as possible.
🍲 More Recipes To Try
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Roast Pumpkin Salad With Quinoa Feta And Pomegranate
For the roast pumpkin and onion
- 2 cups (300 g) pumpkin, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 red onion, halved and cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder, (or 2 garlic cloves minced)
- large pinch of flaky salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
- 1 cup (200 g) cooked quinoa, note 1
- 1 cup coriander leaves, chopped
- 1 cup rocket leaves, (arugula), note 2
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds, fresh or frozen, note 3
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, note 4
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 100 g feta cheese, crumbled, note 5
- Place pumpkin, onion, tablespoon of olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss to mix well.
- Preheat oven to 220°C. Scatter pumpkin-onion mixture on a lined baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes until pumpkin is caramelized.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
- While veggies are roasting, cook quinoa (see notes for quinoa recipe).
- Toast sunflower seeds in a dry pan on medium heat for a minute until slightly coloured and toasty.
- Add pumpkin-onion mixture, quinoa, coriander, rocket, pomegranate seeds, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, olive oil and feta cheese to a large bowl. Toss gently to mix well.
- Check and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately or store in the fridge in an air-tight glass container for up to 3 days.
- Cooking Quinoa - Add 1 cup of mixed quinoa (half white and half red) to a medium saucepan. Add cold water, rinse and drain a couple of times. After draining, add 1.5 cups cold water and a large pinch of flaky salt to the saucepan. Bring to a rapid boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the quinoa is cooked completely and all the water has evaporated. To use in this salad, cool completely, fluff up with a fork and use as per the recipe. Quinoa To Water Ratio - 1:1.5 is the ratio for cooking quinoa. A cup of quinoa needs 1.5 cups of water to cook.
- Rocket (Arugula) - This can be substituted with baby spinach leaves.
- Pomegranate seeds - These can be substituted with dried cranberries.
- Sunflower seeds - These can be substituted with pine nuts or pepitas.
- Feta cheese - Use Greek-style sharp feta cheese for the best flavour. You can use sheep or goat's feta.