Amping up roasted spiced pumpkin salad with delicious sweet roasted red onions, pine nuts, coriander and a flavour-packed tahini miso dressing. This pumpkin salad recipe is perfect for hot roast dinners, barbeque or festive entertaining.
- Why You’ll Love This Salad
- Best Pumpkin for Roasting
- What is A Japanese Pumpkin?
- Recipe Overview
- How To Roast Spiced Pumpkin and Red Onion
- How to Make The Salad
- How to Make the Tahini Miso Dressing
- How to Assemble the Salad
- Variations and Substitutions
- How to Serve
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love This Salad
Warm. Comforting. Sweet Caramelisation. Roasted vegetables always make me feel good. And both roasted pumpkin with roasted red onions is high on my list of favourites. Roasting the vegetables brings out a delightful sweetness that no other method can.
So why not combine two of my favourite roast vegetables in one delicious roast spiced pumpkin salad recipe.
This is not your standard roasted pumpkin salad recipe with feta and baby spinach. There is nothing wrong with these combinations, but I have decided to amp up the flavours with smoky paprika and add extra texture with pine nuts and seeds. Together with a moreish tahini miso dressing, this is a generous spiced pumpkin salad jammed packed with flavourful texture.
You can serve this pumpkin salad recipe by itself as a delicious vegan meal, but of course, it is a great partner to a hearty roast dinner, barbeque meats or busy Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday entertaining.
A great option for entertaining guests as this roasted pumpkin salad is gluten-free, dairy-free and suitable for vegan and plant-based diets.
Best Pumpkin for Roasting
In Australia, the words pumpkin and squash are used interchangeably. So when we say butternut pumpkin, we are referring to butternut squash. However, I have soon realised that it is not the same everywhere around the world. So please bear with me when I say pumpkin, but to you, it actually means squash!
A versatile ingredient in cooking, pumpkins can be used in savoury, sweet and even sour pumpkin recipes. We love to bake it, stew it, mash it, blend it, pickle it, and of course, roast it. Technically you can eat pumpkin raw but not as tasty when cooked.
Check out our other pumpkin/squash recipes:
- Baked Minature Pumpkins
- Risoni with Spiced Butternut Squash
- Vegan Pumpkin Salad with Pecans
- Whole Roasted Heirloom Pumpkins
So which variety is the best pumpkin for roasting?
With over hundreds of pumpkin and squash varieties, there are about 10 varieties commercially grown and consumed in Australia. Each type has its qualities for different pumpkin recipes. For example, Queensland blue pumpkin is excellent for scones, whilst the Jarrahdale is perfect for pie.
My favourites are butternut pumpkin and Japanese pumpkin. Both are versatile pumpkin varieties and are great for roasting, boiling, steaming and mash. Butternut pumpkin probably is most commonly used for roasting as it has a drier sweet flesh, but Jap pumpkin is excellent too, especially with the skin on.
For this roasted spiced pumpkin salad recipe, I went with Jap pumpkin because not only for the sweet flavour but for the delightful half moon shape of pumpkin wedges.
What is A Japanese Pumpkin?
Japanese pumpkin, Jap pumpkin or Kabocha squash in Japan, has a grey-green shell with lighter green or white stripes and the flesh is a bright yellow and orange colour. In Australia, we also call it Kent pumpkin, which is a variety of Japanese pumpkin.
With a nutty, sweet flavour and drier flesh, Japanese pumpkin is popular in Japan and many different international pumpkin recipes. In addition, Japanese pumpkin is great roasted and added to pumpkin salad recipes.
Kent pumpkin is one of the few pumpkin varieties that are considered low FODMAP and can be eaten freely. Whilst other types of pumpkin can only be consumed in specific portions.
Flavour/Texture: Overall texture of this salad is soft, with layers of roast pumpkin and red onion intertwined. Then to accentuate the texture, there’s roasted pine nuts, pepitas and sunflower seeds for crunch.
When it comes to flavour, we’ve got sweet, savoury and spicy all together. The smoky paprika dials up the sweetness of the roast pumpkin and red onions. Coriander leaves add freshness. And all this is tied together with a nutty tahini miso dressing that adds a creamy and lush finish.
Ease: The oven is your best friend in this roast pumpkin salad recipe. There is no mess, no fuss and totally hands off. Once done, there are only a few other steps to assemble. Easily prepared ahead and assembled when needed. Great for busy Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday entertaining.
Time: This pumpkin salad recipe will take as long as you need to roast pumpkin and red onion in the oven. Maximum 45 minutes if you are preparing ingredients at separate times.
These are the ingredients you need in Roasted Spiced Pumpkin Salad Recipe.
Japanese / Kent pumpkin: Choose Kent pumpkin with hard, thick skin and heavy for their size. If you buy a cut kent pumpkin, cover and store in the fridge for up to one week.
Smoked paprika: With three different kinds of paprika, it matters to choose the right one. In this recipe, I used smoked paprika to complement the sweetness and accentuate the caramelisation of the roast pumpkin and red onion. If you don’t have smoked paprika, use regular/sweet paprika.
Salt: To taste
Olive oil: A good olive oil will help with the roasting process.
Red onions: Also known as Spanish onions, red onions are fantastic when roasted. They add depth and increased sweetness in a salad, just like our Charred Corn Avocado Salad.
Pine nuts: Pumpkin and pine nuts are a match made in heaven. Pine nuts’ buttery flavours complement the sweetness of pumpkin so well. Pine nuts might be a bit on the expensive side but definitely worth adding to the pumpkin salad recipe.
Pepitas/Sunflower Seeds: I used pepitas and sunflower seeds for this roast pumpkin salad to add texture and crunch. Pepitas and sunflower seeds add delicate flavours without overpowering the salad.
Coriander: Not only used as a garnish, but coriander will also act as salad leaves in this recipe. If you are not a coriander fan, switch with parsley or spinach leaves.
Tahini: Love this thick sesame based paste that has been around in the culinary world for the longest time. Hulled tahini is used in this dressing to add nutty flavours and creamy consistency.
Shiro miso: A staple in our pantry, shiro miso (white miso paste) is the milder form of miso and can be used in many different recipes. Try our Miso Glazed Purple Carrots or Miso Cannellini Bean Salad.
Extra virgin olive oil: Nothing beats a good extra virgin olive oil, so essential for salad dressings to add depth and sharpness.
Maple syrup: Love a good splash of maple syrup to give the recipe some sweet notes and balance the richness of the tahini and miso.
Lemon: To help cut through the strong flavours of the miso and tahini, I used lemon juice to add citrusy notes. Just a touch of tartness works really well with these ingredients.
Water: Warm water works best to get the tahini and miso pastes to play nice and work well together to combine.
Follow these instructions on how to make Roasted Spiced Pumpkin Salad Recipe.
How To Roast Spiced Pumpkin and Red Onion
I chose Kent pumpkin for this pumpkin salad recipe because I wanted to have pumpkin wedges and roast with skin. However, you can use butternut squash as it is fantastic to roast as well.
Preheat the oven to 200°C or 400°F.
Using a large spoon, scoop out the seeds and insides of the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin into large wedges (approximately 2 cm thick) and place on one side of the oven tray.
Drizzle with olive oil and rub with smoked paprika and sea salt.
Peel and cut red onion in half. Then cut each half into thirds. You end up with 6 wedges per onion.
Tumble in cut red onion on the other side of the oven tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt.
Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, check to see if the pumpkin flesh and red onion is becoming tender.
Keep roasting for another 5 minutes or until golden brown. It’s ok to have a few burnt bits on the edges of onion and pumpkin for extra caramelisation.
Once cooked, remove roasted pumpkin and roasted red onions from the oven.
If you don’t have space to place both pumpkin and red onions together, roast separately. They take a similar time to roast.
How to Make The Salad
Wash and roughly chop coriander to yield ½ cup.
Over medium-hot heat, toast pine nuts, sunflower seeds and pepitas in a dry pan until lightly brown. It will take about 1-2 minutes.
Keep the nuts and seeds moving in the pan as they can burn quickly. I just want them lightly toasted to bring out the natural oils and add nutty flavours to the salad.
How to Make the Tahini Miso Dressing
In a small bowl, add tahini, miso paste and warm water and mix well together to combine.
Tahini and miso paste is thicker in consistency, so warm water will help dilute it and create a smoother paste. If you prefer a thinner consistency, adjust with a little more water.
Add extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and maple syrup.
Mix tahini miso dressing until well combined.
How to Assemble the Salad
Layer roasted spiced pumpkin first, and then add roasted red onions in between the roasted spiced pumpkin wedges.
Scatter coriander, toasted seeds and nuts.
Drizzle tahini miso dressing throughout the salad and serve.
This creamy tahini dressing can also be placed in a bowl next to the salad so that your guests can scoop their own serve onto their plates.
Variations and Substitutions
Other pumpkin varieties: If you don’t have access to Japanese/Kent pumpkin, butternut squash will work as a substitute. Alternatively, sweet potatoes can be used as well.
Nut free option: Omit pine nuts in the recipe for a nut free option.
Coriander substitution: Switch coriander for continental parsley or even spinach leaves to add freshness.
Additional ingredients: To create your own version of roast pumpkin salad, these ingredients would work well:
- goat cheese or feta
- roasted baby beets
- dried cranberries
- switch tahini miso dressing for honey balsamic dressing
- bulk up with tricolour quinoa or freekeh
How to Serve
Here are some main dishes that will go well with Roasted Spiced Pumpkin Salad Recipe
Lamb-stuffed roasted eggplant: Roasted silky eggplant halves are stuffed with a fragrant mixture of spiced meat, tomatoes, and pine nuts. Make a meal of it and serve it up with this roasted spiced pumpkin salad recipe.
Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin: Not better companion for our roasted spiced pumpkin salad recipe than this pork tenderloin! Cooked in the air fryer, it’s the best way to cook pork tenderloin while keeping it juicy and moist
Mediterranean beef stew: This one pot beef is simmered until meltingly tender, in a rich tomato sauce with fresh vegetables and herbs. Our roasted spiced pumpkin salad recipe would make the best side dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, definitely can serve this salad warm or at room temperature. I love it warm, but the roast pumpkin and red onion will taste delicious cold as well.
If you do want to serve warm even though you have prepared earlier, just reheat the roast pumpkin and red onions for a few minutes in the oven before serving.
This is a great pumpkin salad recipe to prepare ahead if you have a busy schedule as the roast pumpkin and red onions will store well. Just add the other elements and dressing when serving.
Store roast pumpkin and red onion in an airtight container for 1-2 days.
We often buy pumpkin that is already cut as we don’t need a whole pumpkin. If you have bought a cut pumpkin, cover it and store in the fridge for up to 1 week. Uncut pumpkin can keep in a cool, dark space for over 1 month.
Many people don’t expect salads to be filling. We can prove them wrong with this roasted spiced pumpkin salad recipe. The combination is comforting and totally satisfying. I love the contrast of sweet soft flesh against the charred bits on roasted spiced pumpkin along with the red onions.
Together with the creamy tahini miso dressing, I could eat this forever. Try it next with your roast dinner, or share a different pumpkin salad recipe for Thanksgiving. I guarantee you will love it.
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Roasted Spiced Pumpkin Salad Recipe
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- Preheat oven to 200°C or 400°F.
- Using a large spoon, scoop out the seeds and insides of the pumpkin. Cut pumpkin into large slices (approximately 2 cm thick wedges) and place on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and rub with paprika and sea salt.
- Peel and cut red onion into half. Then cut each half into thirds. You end up with 6 pieces per onion.Tumble in cut red onion on the other side of the oven tray. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with sea salt. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, check to see if the pumpkin flesh and red onion is becoming tender. Keep roasting for another 5 minutes or until golden brown. It’s ok to have a few burnt bits on the edges of onion and pumpkin for extra caramelisation. Once cooked, remove from the oven.
- Wash and roughly chop coriander to yield ½ cup.
- Over a medium-hot heat, dry toast pine nuts, sunflower seeds and pepitas in a medium sized fry pan until lightly brown. It will take about 1-2 minutes. Keep the nuts and seeds moving in the pan as they can burn quickly.
- In a small mixing bowl, add tahini, miso paste and warm water and mix well together to combine. Tahini and miso paste are thicker in consistency so using warm water will help dilute it and create a smoother paste. If you prefer a thinner consistency, adjust with a little more water.
- Add extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and maple syrup. Mix until well combined.
- Layer roasted spiced pumpkin first and then scatter roasted red onion in between the spiced pumpkin wedges.
- Scatter coriander and toasted seeds and nuts.
- Drizzle tahini miso dressing throughout the salad and serve.
- Butternut pumpkin would be a suitable alternative to Japanese pumpkin if not available.
- If you don’t have space to place both pumpkin and red onion together, roast separately. They take similar time to roast.
- This tahini dressing can also be placed in a bowl next to the salad so that your guests can scoop their own serve onto their plates.
- Omit pine nuts in the recipe for a nut free option.
- Switch coriander for continental parsley or even spinach leaves to add freshness.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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