This post is part of a new segment where I recreate the recipes of those around me. I am forever curious about the homecooked food my friends and family subsist on and nourish themselves with – what are their lazy day go-to meals? What do they turn to when they feel like making a splash in the kitchen? What is their definition of comfort food? I will explore these questions through my histamine-intolerant lens, but will include the original recipes for those who don’t get bloated off everything.
What: A nutritious salad that steers clear of smugness
Who: Master Improviser i.e. Hollie Golding
Bloat score: 0 – Living the dream
Master Improviser is my sister-in-law and I go over to her house for family dinners all the time. She, like me, struggles with dietary intolerances – she is FODMAP-intolerant, which is what I thought I was for several years – and also used to be a professional chef, which means she’s great at whipping up tasty yet intolerance-friendly things that don’t make us both feel ill. One year, she created a 100% lactose-free, gluten-free, onion-free lasagne that tasted as good as one you’d get in a restaurant, but she retired that once she learned I couldn’t eat tomatoes. Not even Master Improviser can improvise that much.
Enter this roasted pumpkin quinoa salad. When she first made it for us, I couldn’t help going for seconds and thirds – the roasted pumpkin skin was the highlight for me (I love roasting pumpkins and potatoes with their skin retained), as was the wonderfully tangy yet light dressing she concocted out of olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and seeded mustard.
I’d say the only mainstay of this salad is the dressing and you can adjust that according to your preferences. You can replace the pumpkin with sweet potato, the quinoa with cous cous or brown rice, the greens with any greens you have lying around in the fridge, and the pepitas and sunflower seeds with any nuts you may have in the pantry. This combination is ace, however – chock full of fresh vegetables and filling enough to stave off any hunger pangs after.
I’m highly Asian in that I hate eating cold things straight out of the fridge (unless it’s sushi) so I either take my leftover salad out of the fridge an hour before I eat it or give it a quick one-minute zap in the microwave (I care naught for wilted greens). Do as you wish but know that this is a great salad, and you’ll love it.
I’ve included Master Improviser’s original instructions below, with my additional comments in italics.
Roasted pumpkin quinoa salad (an original recipe by Hollie Golding)
1 cup of raw quinoa
Mixed superfood leaf blend salad – kale, spinach, cabbage, rocket, basil – or whatever salad you like (I only used half of my packet)
½ 420g can of corn kernels (I used a whole can and it tasted great)
2 tablespoons of pepitas
1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
800g pumpkin, cut into small squares with skin on
1 carrot, shredded
1 Lebanese cucumber, diced
2 spring onions, chopped
Balsamic vinegar (or substitute with white or red wine vinegar)
Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Lay out your squares of pumpkin on a baking paper-lined tray and drizzle with some olive oil and salt. Roast until they’re soft. (It takes about an hour in my oven.)
Rinse quinoa in cold water until water runs clear. Soak 1 cup of quinoa in water (check packet for water quantity) for 20 minutes in a pot. After the 20 minutes are up, cook quinoa for the prescribed time according to the packet. Once cooked, cover with a lid and let sit for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, prep your carrot, Lebanese cucumber and spring onions.
Once the quinoa and the pumpkin are cooked, start assembling your salad. Place the quinoa in a large bowl and toss with the pumpkin, carrot, Lebanese cucumber, spring onions, mixed superfood leaf blend salad, corn, pepitas and sunflower seeds.
Prepare your salad dressing by mixing together a tablespoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (or whatever vinegar you’re using). Add a heaped teaspoon of seeded mustard to your liking and a bit of black pepper to taste. (Double the quantity of each component if you need more dressing.)
Drizzle over your individual bowls of salad and serve.
The dressing keeps in the fridge for up to 14 days.