Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Arugula and Honey Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Roasted Garlic Dijon Dressing

The first thing that comes to mind upon the first bite into this salad is how each ingredient sings in harmony with one another, both in flavor and texture. There is the sweetness of roasted Pumpkin; the crunch and aroma of toasted Sunflower Seeds; the gaminess of crumbled Goat Cheese and - to tie them all together - a tart dressing that awakens and cuts through the natural sharpness of Arugula. Roasted Garlic (yum!) serves as the base of the salad dressing, adding depth and richness without the bite of raw garlic.

This is my first time to ever roast pumpkin and garlic, and I must say that I am in glee to have finally conquered my peculiar fear of roasting vegetables in the oven. Maybe it is the amount of time, or the amount of olive oil required that has always deterred me - but that is all behind now - for I am the biggest fan of roasted garlic and I am now no longer afraid to make that.
 
To prepare...
Cut pumpkin into 1-inch pieces, toss along with 5 unpeeled garlic cloves in olive oil with salt and pepper until well coated, then spread evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until pumpkin is tender, toss occasionally, 18 to 25 minutes.

Tip: Line your baking sheet and you will be thankful when dish washing comes.  
Tip: It is important to flip the pumpkin pieces or they might get stuck to the foil.      

Next, remove the garlic and reserve. Drizzle pumpkin with honey and continue roasting for 10 minutes, until glazed; let cool. 

For the Dressing... 
Remove the root ends of the garlic cloves and squeeze garlic out. Sniff that heavenly aroma. Mash into a paste in a large mixing bowl. Add lemon juice from half a lemon, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and a teaspoon of honey. Whisk in a good amount of olive oil (for desired consistency) until emulsified.

Toss arugula in dressing, top with glazed pumpkin, and sprinkle salad with crumbled goat cheese and toasted sunflower seeds. And enjoy.

Suggestions for substitutes:
Maple syrup or golden syrup for honey
Feta for goat cheese
Pumpkin seeds (or pepitas) for sunflower seeds

Recipe adapted from Power Foods, from the editors of Whole Living Magazine... an awesome book
[Any thoughts or comments? Please share with me!]