This Pumpkin Avocado Feta Salad is my version of a salad that my niece Beck & her husband Rob have brought to a few family gatherings – credit where credit is due! It is always the salad I go for first!
It’s a lovely combination of sweet, salty & creamy – with a sprinkle of pine nuts for crunch.
The sweet butternut pumpkin matches so well with the creamy avocado & lemony-salty flavour of the feta – and then topped off with the crunchy popcorn-like taste of pine nuts and a slightly sharp vinegar & mustard dressing.
I have to confess that when it comes to salads, I like the ratio of lettuce/greens vs other yummy things to be very heavily weighted in favour of “other yummy things”.
I like to get a little bit of everything it each mouthful – after all that’s why I have put these ingredients together, because they taste good together! Too much lettuce tends to get in my way!
Pumpkin Avocado Feta Salad
A lovely combination of sweet, creamy & salty - topped with pine nuts for crunch
- 600 g butternut pumpkin - cut into 2 cm or 3/4" cubes (see notes)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 large ripe avocado - cubed
- 80 g danish feta - crumbled
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 60 g baby rocket/arugula roughly torn if needed
- 60 g baby spinach leaves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
- salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 200 c / 390 f (fan forced)
Toss pumpkin in olive oil with salt & pepper, then spread pumpkin in a single layer on baking tray & bake for 15 mins, then flip pumpkin over & bake for a further 15 mins or until brown around the edges & cooked through (see notes)
While pumpkin is baking, in a medium serving bowl add rocket/arugula, baby spinach & avocado, and mix gently to combine slightly
In a small fry pan without oil, toast pine nuts until golden (watch them as they can burn quickly!) then remove to a bowl straight away or they will continue to colour
Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake well, then adjust to taste
Add pumpkin, feta and half the pine nuts to greens in serving bowl along with about half of the dressing and mix gently again to combine (I use my hands)
Sprinkle remaining pine nuts over the top, drizzle with remaining dressing & serve
This salad is quite heavily weighted towards "other ingredients" rather than lettuce - you could always increase the amount of rocket/arugula & baby spinach if you like. You could also vary the ratio of rocket to spinach if you like - or even substitute one for the other if you have a preference.
When you are baking the pumpkin, you don't want it mushy - just cooked in the centre with some nicely browned edges/sides. You will have better luck getting the pumpkin off the baking tray without tearing if you do it as soon as it comes out of the oven. You want good contact with the tray though so that you get nice browning - this is also why I only included 1 tbsp of olive oil for coating the pumpkin - too much oil means they get soggy.
It's also import that you spread the pumpkin out evenly spaced on the baking tray, so the heat of the oven gets to all of the sides as best it can.
Finally, my tip for peeling & cutting your pumpkin. The amount of pumpkin I have specified is about half a butternut pumpkin - I buy it already cut in half lengthways. To cut it up I lay it flat side down on the cutting board, then using a very sharp large knife I cut it into 2 cm or 3/4" wide, half-moon shaped slices. Then I scrape out the seeds from the slices that have them, and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. I then chop each half moon (or rib for the ones where the seeds have been removed) into equal size 2 cm or 3/4" cubes.
Sounds complicated I know - but it isn't really (just sounds it), and I have found it's the best way to chop it easily without waste!