Maggie Cooper's roast pumpkin salad.
Maggie Cooper's roast pumpkin salad.

Wintry days can still be salad days

Just because it's winter doesn't mean salads have to be off the menu.

While you might not want the full avocado and tomato summer extravaganza in the colder months, there are many ways you can dress up salad greens to make a suitable side dish for grills and oven bakes.

While my Italian friends would run a mile from today's recipe, I love the combination of fresh rocket, lettuce and rainbow chard (all of which I have growing at the moment) with sweet roasted pumpkin.

My local fruit shop still has raspberries available; they add a zing to the salad. They are in small punnets so not too expensive and the flavour is good, but if you can't find them at a reasonable price, substitute a ripe pear or other suitable seasonal fruit.

ROAST PUMPKIN SALAD

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 small butternut pumpkin, seeds removed, cut into large dice (about 3cm)

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

3 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup cider vinegar

3 tsp raspberry jam

2 tsp seeded mustard

Salt and pepper, to taste

6 cups salad leaves (I used lettuce, rocket and baby rainbow chard)

1 punnet raspberries

METHOD

Preheat oven to 220C. Toss pumpkin pieces in three tablespoons of the oil and roast in a single layer for 25 minutes, turning once.

Drizzle with maple syrup and return to oven; roast for a further 5-10 minutes, turning frequently. Allow to cool slightly.

In a screw-top jar, combine remaining olive oil, cider vinegar, raspberry jam, mustard, salt and pepper; shake well to combine.

Wash the salad leaves and spin dry, or pat with a clean tea towel or paper towels. Place into a serving bowl and top with pumpkin. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat, scatter with raspberries. Serve immediately.

maggies.column@bigpond.com