A few weeks ago, while browsing the menu at a restaurant I cannot for the life of me remember the name of, my eyes gazed upon three words that rocked my world: roasted pumpkin salad.
Roasted pumpkin. Duh. Why had I never thought of that?
Am I the only one who figured the only way to get your pumpkin fix was out of a can?
I can’t be. Right…? How was I to know all those adorable pumpkins decorating my apartment could have been dinner? Because they can so be dinner.
Dinner time usually finds me feeling more lazy than ambitious, so roasting is the way to go when you want minimum work and maximum flavor. All these adorable little pumpkins needed was a quick slicing, de-seeding, and a toss in olive oil before heading to the oven to do their business. Easy, easy!
While the pumpkins were busy getting soft and creamy in the oven, I chopped up some kale and fresh mozzarella so they’d be ready to jump into the roasted pumpkin party once it was ready; an easy shallot vinaigrette was also quickly whipped up and waiting near by.
Now. This was my first time eating kale raw, so I was a bit skeptical on how this would all turn out. I always imagined raw kale tasting a bit like grass… or leaves or something way too earthy for a girl like me, but tangled between chewy bites of mozzarella and creamy roasted pumpkin, the crunch of the raw leafy green was much welcomed.
In short, this salad was Ah-maze-ing. And when I say amazing, I mean, like, I passed on going out for doughnuts the day I made this because I had leftover salad I was going to snack on instead. That kind of amazing. C-r-a-z-y.
This is so my new go-to recipe when I’m in need of a salad fix , because tomatoes and basil are quickly becoming extinct locally in these parts (boo!), and this girl welcomes any excuse to eat giant chunks of cheese and call it salad.
Roasted Pumpkin, Kale, and Mozzarella Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette - Baker by Nature
2 pounds of pumpkin (I used jack be little pumpkins I had laying around the apartment), seeded and sliced into large pieces (about 1 inch thick)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound kale (I used black tuscan kale), stems and center ribs discarded and chopped into bite sized pieces
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, diced into small (about a 1/2 inch) cubes
Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F). In a large bowl toss sliced pumpkin with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread pumpkin in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes, flipping pumpkin pieces half way through to ensure even baking. Once pumpkin is cooked, immediately remove it from the baking sheet and in a large bowl toss with kale, cheese, and vinaigrette (recipe below). Serve salad as soon as possible, as the warm pumpkin slightly melts the cheese and wilts the kale making this extra tasty. But honestly, I ate the leftovers happy as a clam.
Shallot Vinaigrette - Baker by Nature
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
In a small bowl whisk shallots, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper together, once combined add olive oil in a slow stream, whisking until well combined.