Winter has come to an end and the veggie garden is a little less giving until the onslaught of spring. Since the days have become longer the rainbow chard has taken off and their cheerful coloured stems brighten up the garden beds. The highly coloured plants are chock full of minerals and other phytonutrients that are antioxidant and antiinflammatory. Raw they can taste a little metallic however the best way to include them raw in salads is to pair them with sweet and sour flavours.
This salad is so easy, it calls for half a pumpkin however I often roast a whole pumpkin and use the excess in multiple meals over the next few days. For those who do not tolerate sheep milk you can easily replace this with a nut cheese. It makes a lovely light meal, the bitter leaves are balanced with the sweet caramelised pumpkin, sweet/sour pomegranate molasses and tangy fetta and sumac. If you wanted to pair it with an animal protein, lamb or chicken go really well.
Over the years so many people have told me they have never thought to cook the seeds of the pumpkin. Once you have roasted them there will be no going back they add a warm crunchy earthiness to salads and are full of minerals. I find the kids have usually polished off most of them by the time we get around to eating!
This is one salad I love to pack the leftovers for lunch the next day . The robust chard leaves stand up well just becoming a little softer with time and the flavours develop really well. I just pop the heavy pumpkin in the bottom of my container and pile the rest on top.
- 1 bunch of rainbow chard or silverbeet
- 1/2 a small pumpkin (I used Kent), including seeds
- 1 small red onion
- 150g of sheep milk or goat milk fetta (substitute nut cheese or toasted almonds for a vegan option)
- Seasonal herbs, I used thyme and continental parsley.
- A few pinches of sumac (optional)
- 50mL extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 small clove of garlic, minced
- Black pepper and natural salt
- 1. Scoop seeds from pumpkin and cut into about 8 - 10 moon shaped wedges. Lightly coat the pumkin with extra vigin olive oil, scatter the seeds around the tray and roast at 180C until the pumpkin is slightly caramelised and tender and the seeds are crunchy. Let cool to room temperature.
- 2. Chop or tear chard into bite size peices. If the stems are very thick cut a slim "V" shape out of the stem to remove the toughest part.
- 3. Cut red onion onion into thin rounds and then halve again.
- 4. Prepare herbs by picking leaves and discarding thick and inedible stems.
- 5. Place all dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake until thoroughly mixed.
- 6. Arrange chard leaves in a shallow salad bowl. Pur half the dressing over the leaves and gently toss until the leaves are well coated.
- 7. Nestle the pumkin in the leaves and scatter onion over the top.
- 8. Over the top of the salad crumble the sheep fetta, scatter the pumkin seeds and few pinches of sumac.
- 9. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad.