This autumn Sweet Dumpling Squash Salad with roasted squash, fresh greens, pomegranate and feta has a middle eastern touch to it. It’s made with blend of toasted seeds and spices, similar to the Egyptian seasoning blend called Dukkah. Enjoy this delicious, nutritious salad as a side dish or as a main for two.
What is sweet dumpling squash?
Of all the fall and winter squash varieties, sweet dumpling is one of the smallest with the average size being around 10cm in diameter. It has beautiful orange or green stripes and when roasted a sweet, nutty flavour and creamy, velvety texture. And bonus is, that it’s easy to prepare since the skin is edible — yes, no peeling required.
Sweet dumpling versus delicate squash
Sweet dumpling is sometime confused with delicata squash, which is actually the same squash, however in another shape. That’s right, they are indeed the same squash, in another form. One being small and round and the other an oblong, cylindrical shape. Whichever version you decide to try, one thing is for sure, they caramelise beautifully in the oven and are a joy to eat.
Why I love this sweet dumpling squash salad
First of all, the star, of course, is the roasted delicata squash. It has a fantastic creamy texture which add so much flavour and goodness to a simple bed of greens. But that’s not all. The variety of flavours and textures add so much to an quite simple salad. It has crunch, spice, sweetness, creaminess, saltiness and a bit of sweet-sour. All of which are experience, more or less, in every bite.
How to adapt this roasted pumpkin salad
The fantastic thing about this salad is that you can adapt it in so many ways. Here are a few ideas:
- Substitute sweet dumpling with another type of winter squash, pumpkin or even sweet potato. You can’t go wrong here!
- Try tossing the pumpkin in the spices before roasting (cayenne, cumin, paprika + oil) and add the seeds at the end. Like things a little sweeter, add a little maple syrup to the spice mix. Want even more spice, then double up!
- Trade the pumpkin seeds out for roasted hazelnuts. Or try using a store-bought dukkah spice blend.
- Add a dash of apple cider vinegar to the salad instead of red wine vinegar, or try freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Switch out arugula leaves for mixed mesclun salad greens. Or try a heartier winter green, such as Tuscan kale (before serving, gently massage a little olive oil into the kale leaves just long enough so they soften).
- Switch out feta for another type of feta-like cheese, such as one made from 100% sheep’s milk.
Looking for other pumpkin salad recipes?
Try one of these favourites:
- Butternut Squash Pasta With Hazelnut-Pesto
- Roasted Hokkaido Pumpkin with Feta – The Perfect Fall Side Dish
- Butternut Squash Stew with Chickpeas
- Roasted Hokkaido Pumpkin with Grünkern and Yoghurt Dressing
Sweet Dumpling Squash Salad with Feta and Pomegranate
For the roasted squash:
- 1 kg sweet dumpling squash, about 3 small squash (alternatively use delicata or butternut squash)
- 1,5 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt
For seed-spice mix:
- 50 g pumpkin seeds, toasted (1/3 cup)
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
- 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
- 1/4 tsp cayenne, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
To assemble the salad:
- 2 generous handfuls young arugula leaves
- drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
- drizzle of red wine vinegar (1-2 teaspoons)
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 100 g feta, or more to taste
- seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C (200°C fan-assisted) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the squash in halve lengthwise and scrape out seeds, then slice it into 2cm half-moons (leaving the skin on, as it’s edible). Drizzle with the oil. Using your hands, toss until evenly coated. Spread out in an even layer, careful not to over crowd. Season with salt.
Transfer to the preheated oven and roast until tender, flipping halfway through (20-25 minutes).
Meanwhile, prepare the spice mix. First toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet (no oil). Keep shaking the pan until some seeds puff up, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Using the same skillet, toast the coriander seeds until aromatic (1 minute).
Using a pestle and mortar, grind the coriander until crushed, then add the pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds and grind until broken up. Stir in the cumin, cayenne and smoked paprika. Set mixture aside.
When the squash is ready, spoon the spice mix over the squash pieces, toss gently to allow the spices to coat the squash. then cook for a further 3-4 minutes, until the spice mix is lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Note: there will be extra spice mix on the baking sheet which will be added to the salad along with the roasted squash.
Arrange the arugula leaves on a serving platter (or individual plates), then drizzle over the oil and vinegar. Arrange the pumpkin and the spice mix from the baking sheet on top of the arugula, then scatter the red onion, crumbled feta, pomegranate seeds on top. Serve and enjoy!
- If using acorn or butternut squash for this recipe, I recommend peeling it. Although the squash’s skin is thin and edible, it is rather tough. The skin can be easily removed with a regular veggie peeler. Otherwise, if using Hokkaido (red kuri) squash, the peel can be left on.
- This roasted pumpkin salad can be served warm or cold — it is delicious both ways!
- Leftovers also taste great! Store in a airtight container in the fridge and enjoy cold the next day.
For a relaxing atmosphere in the kitchen I recommend my personal Elle Republic: Chilled Out Kitchen Tunes Playlist on Spotify.
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