Roasted Pumpkin Salad

From ~ October 2008

  • 3 C Pumpkin (or other winter squash), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fine grain sea salt
  • 12 tiny Red onions or shallots, peeled (OR 3 medium red onions peeled and quartered)
  • 2 C Cooked wild rice*
  • 1/3 C Sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/3 C Olive oil
  • 2 T Lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 T Honey
  • 2 T Warm water
  • 1/2 C Cilantro, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375.

Toss the pumpkin in a generous splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt, and turn out onto a baking sheet. At the same time, toss the onions with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and turn out onto a separate baking sheet. Roast both for about 45 minutes, or until squash is brown and caramelized. The same goes for the onions, they should be deeply colored, caramelized, and soft throughout by the time they are done roasting. You’ll need to flip both the squash and onion pieces once or twice along the way – so it’s not just one side that is browning.

In the meantime, make the dressing. With a hand blender or food processor puree the sunflower seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and honey until creamy. You may need to add a few tablespoons of warm water to thin the dressing a bit. Stir in the cilantro, saving just a bit to garnish the final plate later. Taste and adjust seasonings (or flavors) to your liking – I usually need to add a touch more salt with this dressing.

In a large bowl, toss the wild rice with a large dollop of the dressing. Add the onions, gently toss just once or twice. Turn the rice and onions out onto a platter and top with the roasted squash (I’ll very gently toss with my hands here to disperse the pumpkin a bit). Finish with another drizzle of dressing and any remaining chopped cilantro.
Serves 4.

* To cook wild rice: Rinse 1 1/2 cups wild rice. In a medium sauce pan bring the rice and 4 1/2 cups salted water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes or until rice is tender and splitting open, stirring occasionally. You’ll have enough for this recipe and some leftover. (Cooked wild rice freezes nicely, simply allow to dry a bit before putting into freezer bags… so make extra and freeze it for later use, because wild rice is delicious!).