I could not think of a name for this to save myself. It has roasted pumpkin, crispy kale, caramelised pecans, salty feta, massaged kale and wild rice all in a lemony dressing. It’s ridiculous, addictively good stuff. And it’s a salad, how many salads are addictive? Salads with crunchy, salty and sweet notes definitely are. Everything in this salad is so good and different and balanced it makes you want to keep going back for more. This is a great winter meal or would also be lovely as part of a larger spread, maybe with a roast or something from the BBQ? I just had it by itself for lunch. You do whatever you like with it, except for leave out the pecans as that would be stupid.
However, you could replace the pecans with a different nut, like almonds, cashews or macadamias. You do not have to candy the nuts, feel free to leave it out that step if you’re trying to cut out sugar completely. I’ve specified tuscan kale in the recipe but i’m sure any kind would be fine. I had a version of this salad with freekah instead of the wild rice and some amazing blue cheese and it was also delicious. Having the lemon and kale together is great as they’re a bit of a power pair as the vitamin C in the lemon makes the iron in the kale more digestible. Yay for iron, yay for vitamin c, yay for this delicious combination also tasting good!
10 stalks of tuscan kale
1/2 cup wild rice
1/2 cup pecans
1 Tbs Maple syrup
1/4 of a butternut pumpkin
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
4 sprigs thyme
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
1 Spring onion, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a large oven tray.
Roast the pumpkin: Cut pumpkin into 5mm slices (see image) lie flat on the tray, drizzle in 1 tsp of olive oil sprinkle with thyme, chilli, sumac, cumin, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 mintues or until caramelised. Set aside.
Cook rice: Rinse rice well and cook according to packet directions, I usually use the absorption method.
Roast kale: Take 4 stalks of kale and remove the leaves from the stalk. Tear into bite sized chunks. Spread out on tray you have just removed pumpkin from, drizzle in 1 tsp olive oil. Return to the oven for approx 5 minutes or until getting crispy. Remove, set aside.
Caramelise nuts: Place pecans on the now empty tray (don’t bother changing your baking paper) and drizzle in maple syrup. sprinkle with salt and toss to combine. Turn oven down to 160 and roast for approx 10 minutes. Roughly chop.
Massage remaining kale: Remove the remaining kale from the stalks and tear into bite sized chunks. Place in a bowl and pour over the lemon juice, lemon rind and 2 Tbs olive oil. Massage the dressing into the kale. Set aside.
Assemble: Place cooled rice, pumpkin, spring onion, massaged kale and half the crumbled feta into a bowl and toss to combine add 2/3 of the nuts and crispy kale toss again. Sprinkle with remaining, feta and nuts, serve.