Seasonal ingredients can inspire a salad. Going seasonal is a way to celebrate the bounty nature offers to us. One that encompasses the tastes of the colder months is grilled pumpkin and quinoa salad. This salad offers tender slices of grilled pumpkin that have a nice smoky charred flavor to pair with its natural sweetness along with red chilies, fresh mint and a dressing consisting of spices and honey to round out the flavors. In the end you have a salad that is savory, delightfully bitter, smoky, sweet and spicy. It doesn’t get much better than that.
- 1/2 of a 1 1/2 lb. pumpkin
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, reduced sodium
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 2 red chilies, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Handful of fresh mint, chopped
- Vegetable oil
- Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Olive oil
- Use a sharp knife to cut the top and bottom off of the pumpkin. When that is done, cut the pumpkin in half, use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and remove the peel of the pumpkin. After that is taken care of, cut the pumpkin into 1/4 inch slices, drizzle with vegetable oil and season generously on both sides with salt and black pepper.
- Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan. When boiling, add the quinoa as well as the clove of crushed garlic and chilies (this is going to intensify the flavor of the quinoa). Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes. The quinoa is cooked when all the liquid is absorbed. Remove the cooked quinoa from the heat and leave to sit covered for a few minutes before spreading it out to cool and gently fluffing with a fork.
- As the quinoa is cooling, heat a grill or grill pan to medium high. Grill the pumpkin slices for 2-3 minutes per side or until grill marks develop and the pumpkin is tender.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. The goal is a very light dressing to highlight all the wonderful elements of the salad. As soon as everything is done, add the quinoa to a salad bowl with the mint. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Arrange the grilled pumpkin slices on top, pour the dressing over the pumpkin and gently toss the salad. At this point all you have to do is serve the salad and enjoy!