In season: Asparagus, zucchini and roast pumpkin salad
My biggest resolution this year is to eat fresh. I plan to cook as many seasonal vegetables as possible. Hairy is going to have to deal with it, he tells me potatoes never go out of season and therefore we should eat them every night as an accompaniment to whatever is on the menu. I don’t go in much for the low-carb life, but eating stir fry and rice with potatoes on the side is a meal I cannot face this year.
Hairy and I claim to be veggie gardeners extraordinaire but in fact all we’ve decided to grow this year are zucchini and silver beet. I grew zucchini predominantly for the flowers alone, but the glut of fruit it is baring is out of control. We decided not to make our usual mistake of planting 12 different varieties of tomatoes, we can never decide which ones we like. Every year the plants grow so big they cover our windows and we are literally drowning in tomatoes. “I’m having muesli for breakfast, could you pass the milk and I may as well put some of those tomatoes on there too.” Not quite that bad, but you get the idea. To date, I haven’t been organised enough to make batches of sugo for the colder months so by the time tomato season is over we are very grateful.
Hairy also can’t get his head around the thought of salad for dinner. “Ah, nice! So the meat must still be in the oven, yes?” No, Hairy, no. This is dinner. A filling, nutritious and colourful salad. It makes his eyes twitch but I am determined to change his thinking that meat and potatoes are not every-meal staples.
This is my asparagus, zucchini and roast pumpkin salad. It’s incredibly filling and very seasonal, all the ingredients will be readily available in the grocery store, from the farmers market or your industrious neighbours. I try to keep the dressing simple so as not to disguise the veggie flavours too much. The next hurdle will be getting him to eat the stuffed zucchini flowers.
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Asparagus, zucchini and roast pumpkin salad
Serves 2, easily doubled
Preparation 10 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes
1 quarter of a Kent or Jap pumpkin cut into 1 cm pieces
2 big handfuls of spinach
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
1 zucchini, sliced very finely or peeled into ribbons
Brown sugar and mustard dressing
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1/2 teaspoon rapadura sugar
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
For dressing: place all ingredients in a screw top jar and shake vigorously until combined. You can substitute honey for the sugar if you like.
For salad: Preheat oven to 220 degrees. Bake pumpkin squares for 20 minutes until starting to go dark.
Blanch your asparagus and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix spinach and zucchini with dressing then transfer to serving dishes. Scatter over pumpkin and asparagus, sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!