Roasted Pumpkin, Pecan & Cranberry Quinoa Salad {vegan, gluten free}

This Warm Roasted Pumpkin, Pecan & Cranberry Salad is perfect for lunches throughout these dark, cold winter months. It’s hearty, nutritious, filling and tastes so divine. Packed with all the most delicious Autumn/Winter flavours, think toasted caramelised pecans, dried cranberries, roasted pumpkin seeds, and an orange maple dressing. So good.

This recipe is basically a combination of 4 different little autumnal recipes – the roasted pumpkin, roasted pumpkin seeds, toasted caramelised pecans and the orange-maple dressing. So, you could use each recipe for different dishes if you wish! But they’re delicious all combined together. The flavours compliment one another so well.

This salad includes not only the pumpkin flesh, but also the seeds, which is a great little tip to avoid food waste. You won’t believe how delicious the seeds are when roasted! I cook them in the oven with garlic powder, maple syrup, salt and spices. They’re so crunchy and add a warmth to the salad. I also love keeping them as a little snack through the week. I’ve included the recipe is further down!

Every year in the UK over 8 million pumpkins, which is over 18000 tonnes of edible pumpkin flesh is thrown away. Scary. Moreover, most of this goes into general household waste rather than food waste or compost. Pumpkins that end up in landfill will eventually decompose and emit methane, an incredibly dangerous greenhouse gas which is much more potent than CO2. Please eat your pumpkins! And compost the rest.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Why should we be avoiding food waste?
  • One third of all food produced in the world gets thrown away, whilst food poverty exists.
  • Reduces methane emissions from landfills, contributing to climate change. Methane is 84x more harmful than CO2.
  • Lowers your carbon footprint
  • Food waste in the home has shown to be the single largest contributor of total food waste in the UK – we can do better!
  • Food waste alone is responsible for 8% of all global greenhouse gas emissions

I love meal prepping a huge batch of this Pumpkin Salad on a Sunday, then enjoying it for lunches during the week. It’s a great one for meal prep! However, make sure to keep your dressing and toasted nuts/seeds on the side, then add them when you’re about to tuck in (otherwise the salad and seeds can go soggy when left)! I like keeping them in little jars or tupperware.

I like to use quinoa for the grain as it’s a great options for vegans, as it’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 amino acids. It’s also packed with fibre, meaning it’ll keep you full for a while, helping to prevent snacking on less nutritious things! However, you can also use cous cous, cooked rice or barley, all options would be fab!

If you make this recipe, please make sure to comment below or tag me over on Instagram – @georginaburgess_ , I love seeing your recreations!

INGREDIENTS

Makes around 5-6 portions

  • 1 small pumpkin, peeled and deseeded – keep the seeds separate to roast (recipe further down)
  • Approx 4 tbsp light olive oil (for roasting)
  • Salt + pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 cup quinoa

For the toasted caramelised pecans:

  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Generous pinch salt

For the roasted pumpkin seeds:

  • Pumpkin seeds, washed in a colander
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Pinch chilli powder
  • Pinch paprika
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

For the dressing:

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 190-200 and spread out the cubed pumpkin over a large baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper and using your hands, mix it all in so all the pumpkin is coated. Place in the oven to roast for around 50 minutes – 1 hour until the pumpkin is soft inside and going crispy on the outside.

2. While the pumpkin is cooking, prepare the roasted seeds: grease the bottom of a small baking tray. Ensure you’ve washed the seeds thoroughly in sieve or colander. Pat them dry/leave them to dry for a while, then add them to a small bowl along with the other ingredients. Stir together and spread over the greased baking tray. Place in the oven for around 10-15 minutes until they’re browning and crispy. Leave them to cool (they go crispy as they cool!)

3. Prepare the pecans: Heat a small frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the pecans, Let them toast for a couple minutes on either side. Then add in the maple syrup and salt – stir so they’re all coated and toast for a further few minutes. Take off the heat and set aside.

4. Cook the quinoa – add 1 cup of quinoa to a pan along with 2 cups of salted water (or veggie broth), bring to the boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for around 15 minutes, or until the water has absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. As soon as it’s cooked, stir in the spinach so that it starts to wilt with the heat of the quinoa.

5. Make the dressing – add all ingredients to a jar and shake up until combined.

6. Add the quinoa-spinach mix, roasted pumpkin and dried cranberries to a large bowl and carefully stir together. If you’re going to eat it straight away, sprinkle over the toasted nuts and seeds and drizzle over the dressing. Enjoy! If you’re cooking ahead/meal prepping – keep the nuts, seeds and dressing separate until you’re about to eat.

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