Chunky Roast Pumpkin & Chickpea Salad

We can't get enough of the outdoors during summer. We spend time pottering around in the veggie patch although it's in a sad state at the moment. Watering plants, weeding, kicking a ball with J.D, pushing him on the swing, playing with him in the sand pit or sitting around our newly finished fire pit enjoying the cooling shade it gets from the trees that surround it on a hot afternoon. Little Miss joins us after her late afternoon nap strapped to my front all ensconced in a Moby Wrap. She loves looking around at the sky and the trees swaying in the gentle afternoon breeze. We think it's important to get our kids outside early on in life. J.D use to sit on a blanket most afternoons as a baby swathed in jumpers and a beanie if it was cooler weather as we dug, weeded and pottered around the garden. He loved it and still does to this day. It was also refreshing for mum after being stuck indoors all day and dad as well after a hard day at the office. It's a routine we live by every day. Once 4:30pm strikes on the clock we don our thongs or boots and trundle down the stairs to enjoy the afternoon until dinner time comes. I try to have dinner partially prepped before out afternoon shenanigans begin so I can enjoy my time outside without having rush back in early to get dinner ready.

In summer we eat a lot of meat and salad as it's perfect weather to pop a steak on the BBQ and toss together some sort of salad. It's quick and easy, the perfect dinner for a busy mum. I am always struggling to find ways to make different sides to serve with steak. Are you in the same boat? The basic lettuce, cucumber and tomato salad gets old fast and I find it boring. So I try to find different combinations to come up with for our evening salad. The Crunchy Asian Kale Salad, Green Bean & Zucchini Salad, Roast Vegetable Quinoa Salad and the Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goats Cheese were all recipes I came up with in desperation for something different. This salad was no different in it's conception than the others. A fridge raid ensues trying to find what was available to throw together. I had a bit of wrinkled looking pumpkin needing some definite attention, a few tomatoes, cucumber, celery and a lonely tin of chickpeas sitting in the cupboard. The pumpkin was cleaned up, diced, slathered in olive oil, a few herbs and a sprinkle of salt and placed under the grill. Once tender to a prick the pumpkin is removed to cool down.

The rest of the ingredients are diced, chickpeas rinsed and placed into a large salad bowl. I then  raided the herb garden for some fresh mint and tossed it through the diced ingredients. I kept the dressing fairy simple with a good glug of olive oil, salt and pepper and the juice of half a lemon. I think this salad would take a hearty dressing such as a honey mustard type dressing. Whatever you have on hand. I loved the vibrancy of this salad and it makes a stunning addition to any summer table. Make sure you add it into your repertoire.

Chunky Roast Pumpkin & Chickpea Salad
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Serves: 4-6

    Roasted Pumpkin
    • 300g jap pumpkin, diced
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 tablespoon honey, warmed until runny
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 400g tin chickpeas
    • 1/2 red capsicum, diced 
    • 1 large stick celery, diced
    • 1/2 lebanese cucumber, diced
    • 2 large tomatoes, diced 
    • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
    • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
    • 1/2 bunch mint, finely sliced
    • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
    • juice of 1/2 lemon

    1. Preheat grill to 200 degrees/medium to high heat.
    2. Line a large tray with baking paper and place spread the diced pumpkin on top.
    3. Drizzle with the olive oil, salt and pepper, cumin, honey and garlic. Toss together until well coated.
    4. Place under the grill for 7-10 minutes. Keep an eye so it does not burn. Remove and toss with a pair of tongs. Place back under the grill for a further 5-8 minutes until it is tender from being stabbed with a fork. Set aside to cool.
    5. In a large salad bowl place the remaining ingredients except the lemon and olive oil.
    6. Add in the cooled pumpkin and the lemon and olive oil. Toss together until combined.
    7. Let the salad marinate for about an hour before serving.
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