For the past few weeks I’ve been trying out a completely plant based, wholefoods diet.
I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time after reading so much compelling evidence about people reversing chronic illness and disease, and essentially thriving on this kind of diet.
My motivation is simply to find a way of eating that works best for my body, while promoting health and longevity to the fullest and being sustainable and kind to our planet.
Even though I’m only a few weeks in, so far I’ve been feeling great. It hasn’t been super easy, especially when eating out or with friends, but as they say it’s what you eat rodo MOST of the time that counts.
As a result I’ve been getting more creative in the kitchen, particularly at dinner time, and this pumpkin and lentil salad is one of my creations that got the thumbs up from my not-so-plant based husband 😉
He actually preferred this pumpkin and lentil salad with sour cream or grated cheese on top, so if that’s your jam then by all means go for it.
But, if you eat dairy free or plant based already, then I think you’ll love this salad as is, or with a side of unsweetened coconut yoghurt if you want some extra creaminess.
One of the best parts about this roast pumpkin salad is it’s unbelievably easy to whip up!
The hardest part is cutting open the pumpkin or squash. Please be careful when doing so (especially if you have a very sharp knife) as many of the most grisley accidents in a professional kitchen come from cutting open pumpkins (believe it or not), and I was unlucky enough to witness one such incident.
Serve this pumpkin and lentil salad warm or chilled, and it makes delicious leftovers too.
Prep a batch at the start of the week and you’ve got lunch or dinner sorted for days. You can even jazz it up with some freshly chopped spring onion, a drizzle of tahini or a sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts.
And, of course, if you make this salad, let me know!
Roast Pumpkin, Spinach & Lentil Salad with a Lemon Chilli Dressing
Serves: 2 to 4
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes
1 medium pumpkin or squash (I used a kabocha squash)
2 Tbsp avocado, macadamia or coconut oil
1 can lentils
4 handfuls baby spinach leaves
1 handful fresh coriander
Lemon Chilli dressing:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 red chillies
pink Himalayan salt & black pepper to season
To serve (optional):
2 Tbsp dukkah (store bought or make your own here)
1/2 cup of plain coconut yoghurt
Preheat the oven to 200ºC fan bake and line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone mat.
Cut open the pumpkin or squash, remove the seeds and stringey bits, and slice into crescents.
Place the pumpkin slices on the prepared tray, drizzle with the 2 Tbsp of oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place the tray of pumpkin into the centre of the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until you can easily cut the pumpkin (including the skin) with a knife.
While the pumpkin is cooking, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients: drain and rinse the lentils well, wash and drain the spinach leaves and coriander, and combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.
As soon as the pumpkin is ready assemble the salad so the heat from the pumpkin gently warms the rest of the ingredients.
To assemble: place a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves on a serving plate, top with pumpkin slices, lentils and coriander. Drizzle over the dressing, sprinkle a little dukkah and finish with a dollop or coconut yoghurt if desired.
Serve while warm, and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.