Cut the pumpkin into small 2cm cubes. In a medium mixing bowl, add 2 tsp of olive oil, the ground cumin powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well to ensure the pumpkin is well coated.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spread out the butternut pumpkin evenly across the tray and place in the oven at 200°C or 390°F for 20 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven. Flip the pumpkin to expose the underside and bake for another 8 minutes. We are looking for a nice golden-brown colour.
Bring 4 cups of water to boil and add salt. Pour in the freekeh and cook on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, remove from heat, drain and set aside to cool.
In another pot, bring 2 cups of vegetable stock or broth to boil. Add the Israeli couscous and let it simmer for 8 minutes or until al dente. Keep the cover on so the steam doesn’t escape and allows the couscous to become light and fluffy. When done, remove from heat, drain and set aside to cool.
Cut the apple and slice into thin slices. Place them in a bowl with the salt water to avoid browning. Drain and dry the apples when you’re ready to serve.
Toast the pine nuts in a pan for about 1-2 minutes with no oil, until golden brown.
Add the tahini, maple syrup and the juice of half a lemon into a bowl or jug.
Add water 1 tsp at a time and whisk well to combine the ingredients. 6 tsp of water is the recommended amount of water for this dressing but add more or less until you reach a consistency you are happy with.
In a large mixing bowl, add the roasted pumpkin, freekeh, Israeli couscous, pine nuts and half the sliced apples. Mix gently.
Place the mixed salad on a serving platter.
With the remaining apple slices, create clusters in a fan shape and insert them strategically into the salad as a bit of a show piece.
Serve the tahini dressing on the side so guests can help themselves.
Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
You can substitute freekeh for barley, farro or quinoa.
If pine nuts are too expensive, you can use almonds or peanuts.
If you really can’t find tahini, peanut butter is the best replacement but is of course less healthier.
Don’t mix the dressing with the salad as the freekeh and Israeli couscous are heavy components and tend to absorb the dressing and after awhile makes it a bit gluggy.
If you don’t like salad dressings with maple syrup, you can add honey instead.