By: The editors of Relish magazine
A salad with a double dose of pumpkin unmistakably spells fall.
When buying your pumpkin for Halloween decorations, why not pick up a smaller one for roasting. The smaller varieties (“sugar pumpkins” and “New England pie pumpkins”) are as good to eat as look at: the bright orange flesh is sweet and cooks to velvety smoothness. They range from 2 1/2 pounds to 6 or 7 pounds. Whack your pumpkin open, scoop out the seeds, cut into wedges, sprinkle with salt and pepper, brush with a little olive oil, and roast at 400F until tender. Then scoop the flesh off the rind and cut into cubes.
For ages, pepitas, or shelled pumpkin seeds, have played a prominent role in Mexican cooking, finding their way into rich moles and sauces. They’re also perfect in salads. You can make your own by using the seeds from the pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds, rinse off the orange sludge, toss with a bit of seasoning and roast until crispy. You then need to let them cool and break off the outer shell to reveal the pepita inside. An easier path: look for pepitas in packages next to the nuts in the supermarket.
Warm Pumpkin Salad with Bacon and Pepitas
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 ounces baby arugula
2 cups roasted pumpkin, butternut or other winter squash, peeled and cubed and
4 slices (1/4 pound) bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), toasted
2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- To prepare vinaigrette, combine maple syrup and vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in olive oil. Stir in salt and pepper. (Makes about 1 cup. Leftovers can be refrigerated in a covered container up to a week.)
- To prepare salad, combine arugula with about 1/4 cup vinaigrette. Toss well. Top with roasted pumpkin, bacon, pepitas and cheese. Serves 4.
Recipe by Naa Ako-Adj
Photo by Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn