Healthy eating: Roast pumpkin and quinoa salad

I already confessed to my desert addiction, in one of my posts about Cape Town. So I am always trying to put some balance and usually try to eat healthy, you know, so I can indulge in the sweet pleasures.

The other night we had a high protein and super food salad: Roast pumpkin and Quinoa salad.

Pumpkin is plentiful on the island. It is one of the vegetables that we can nearly always get. It is a super food and I have grown quite fond of it. I don’t think we ever ate it when I was kid, but here it’s part of the diet, it is also very cheap most of the time. Yesterday I paid Rs38/1kg (that’s a little over a US$1). I have also got the kids to like it, even though the were not too sure about the taste in the beginning.

Here is my recipe:

  • Salad
    • 150g quinoa
    • 600g pumpkin
    • 1 red onion
    • a couple (or more) garlic cloves
    • 150g chickpeas
    • crumbled feta (fresh, marinated)
    • a small bunch coriander leaves
    • a few sprigs of thyme
    • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • Dressing
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 3 Tbsp vinegar sugar cane or white wine
    • 2 Tsp caster sugar (optional)
    • Salt and Pepper to taste

Way to do it! 

Switch on the oven 220c. Give the pumpkin skin a good scrub and cut it in wedges, about 1cm wide. A bit of salt and pepper and some thyme and in the oven for 10min. My pumpkin cooked VERY fast. Others might not, so the cooking times are just a general idea. Can take longer and shorter. Please check the pumpkin!

Meanwhile prepare your quinoa. I let mine soak for 15minutes in 375ml water and then bring to boil, cover and put on minimum till all water is absorbed. But you could just follow the instruction on the pack as well.

Cut the onion in big wedges, I like to keep my garlic clove whole and just give it a whack with the knife so it’s kind of flat. Add them to the pumpkin and check the cooking.

I just assemble everything. Make the dressing and add. I use sugar cane vinegar because it is the local one. But really any kind of light coloured one will do: white wine, apple cider… or just just lime juice.


The good thing about such a high protein salad is that it leaves you absolutely full. For me it was enough. My husband who eats a bit more, had grilled fish on the side.

Now, I like a very clean taste so I prefer not to sweeten my things too much, however if you wish you can easily add honey (or other sweetener) to the pumpkin before roasting to give a bit of roundness. You can also add roquette to the salad before serving and swap the coriander for basil or flat leaf parsley for a more European touch. This salad is extremely versatile, so let your imagination work. Also I made one big one, but you could easily do individual plates, leaving the pumpkin on the skin for example.

Thanks for your comments!

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