Middle Eastern Roasted Pumpkin and Feta Salad, a stunning combination of lettuce rough bits, fresh tomatoes, red onion, crunchy spiced roasted chickpeas, sweet roasted pumpkin, pomegranate seeds and feta cheese. Heavenly!
Well, I think this is my first vegetarian dish I am making. And I am so loving it!
Unfortunately, we tend to eat a lot of meat. Pretty much every day. We also eat a lot of fish and seafood, especially when I can find them on sale. Don’t get me started on how outrageously expensive good quality seafood and fish is here in US. I think it was my biggest shock when we’ve moved here some 2 years ago.
But, there are times when you stumble upon an amazing vegetarian recipe and you just stop thinking of meat. You don’t need anything else. Just this gorgeous, vibrant Middle Eastern Roasted Pumpkin and Feta Salad.
I was mesmerized by these vibrant colors, flavors and different textures incorporated in this warm salad. I have always loved Middle Eastern cuisine. I remember like yesterday intense flavored dishes at my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant. For a couple of months when I was pregnant, I was eating just Fattoush. Biggest plate you can imagine filled with fresh rough-chopped lettuce, cucumber, onion, juicy tomatoes and crunchy toasted pita. Everything brought together with a bright lemony garlic dressing and some ground sumac sprinkled on top. I am drooling over my screen just writing this 🙂
This roasted pumpkin and feta salad is in a way very similar to my all time favorite Fattoush. A stunning combination of lettuce rough bits, fresh tomatoes, red onion, crunchy spiced roasted chickpeas, sweet and spiced roasted pumpkin, pomegranate seeds and feta cheese. Why spiced? I used Baharat to coat the pumpkin and chickpeas to roast them.
I was really curious how Baharat will taste like. What is Baharat? A popular Middle Eastern spice blend that combines black peppercorns, all spice, cloves, cardamon, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander and paprika Now you understand why I was so curious how it tasted. An explosion of flavors! Very aromatic and by all means not that spicy 🙂
Another new ingredient I used was pomegranate molasses for the dressing I’ve added to this warm roasted pumpkin and feta salad. Pomegranate molasses is a syrup made from concentrated pomegranate juice and some sugar. It tastes strange… sweet and in the same time very, very tart. It reminded me somehow of sour lollies when I tried it. Combined with some red wine vinegar and some olive oil is the perfect dressing combination!
You should be able to find both ingredients at any Middle Eastern food store and some of the wide-range supermarkets. I was able to find them at Whole Foods.
Hope you’ll enjoy it!
- 1 lb/500 g pumpkin, peeled, cut into thick slices
- 1 tin chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry with paper towel
- 2 teaspoons baharat
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
- 4 cups rocket
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, cut lengthways
- 1 small red onion, finely sliced
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- Preheat the oven to 400F/ 200C.
- In a large bowl combine the pumpkin slices, chickpeas, baharat and 3 teaspoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Spread the pumpkin and chickpeas in a single layer on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pumpkin is golden and tender and the chickpeas are crisp. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes to cool a little.
- Meanwhile, combine the remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar and pomegranate molasses and season to taste.
- In a salad bowl, place the lettuce, tomatoes, onion and half the chickpeas. Add the dressing and toss gently to coat. Divide the salad between plates, top with pumpkin and the remaining chickpeas. Scatter over crumbled feta cheese and pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.
Brett Sargent/ www.sbs.com.au
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