WARM MARINATED PUMPKIN, QUINOA AND POMEGRANATE SALAD WITH LAUREN CARIS COOKS (V+, GF, ChF, NF)

WARM MARINATED CURRY PUMPKIN, QUINOA AND POMEGRANATE SALAD (V+, GF, ChF, NF) WITH LAUREN CARIS COOKS

If you are a regular, loyal reader of the blog, you've probably gathered that I'm a rather social human being who loves the company of talented, friendly food bloggers. That's cuz...

a) it means I don't have to talk to myself when I'm cooking
b) there's someone to laugh at my silly jokes and
c) collaborations are magical and so, so SO much fun.

Hence you can imagine how I shrieked with delight when Lauren from Lauren Caris Cooks got in touch to say that she'd be in London and would I like to meet up with her. ''YES! OF COURSE! WHY ARE YOU EVEN ASKING?! COME HANG OUT. LIKE, NOW! Thank you :)!'' was my answer. Following some e-mail exchanges we finally got to spend a lovely morning cooking, styling and eating together in late September and despite only knowing each other on-line, having Lauren in the kitchen felt so familiar and totally lovely. The images you see her are just an outtake of the day we spent together before Lauren returned to Switzerland where she lives with her husband :(. Lauren, thank you ever so much for popping by, please come visit me again soon ;).

Would you like to read Lauren's take on the day and see her fab pictures? Of course you do! I knew it! Then just click here and the internet will swiftly take you to your desired destination ;).
Thank you everyone for reading my silly ramblings and for supporting my blog :). I hope you like the recipe below and see you all next week.

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WARM MARINATED CURRY PUMPKIN, QUINOA AND POMEGRANATE SALAD (V+, GF, ChF, NF)

Do you know what I love most about this seasonal vegan recipe? The fact that it's really a no-recipe recipe. My sister made it when she came to visit us a few weeks ago and I loved it sooo much. But when I asked her for the recipe, she explained that she did not have one and that the salad was actually just the result of an experiment gone well. So taking her approach as inspiration I played around with the key ingredients she suggested and what I made below is the end result. (DELICIOUS by the way though different from her version). However, I'm sure I can make it again and put a little bit more of one ingredient and a little less of another and it will STILL come out really scrumptious. So please just take the ingredients list as a very, very rough guide and feel free to play around with them in a way that makes you happy. No worries if you don't have one spice or want to put a little more of another. Just go for it, have a play and enjoy!

Preparation Time: 15 minutes and marinating overnight
Roasting Time: 30-40 minutes
Cooking Time: about 15 minutes
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:
1 small pumpkin (about 900g whole, before peeling)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used rice bran oil)
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped into half
a piece of fresh ginger (about 30g), peeled and roughly chopped
1/2tsp of salt
2-3tsp curry powder
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp garam masala
1/8tsp ground cardamom
a good pinch of ground cumin
3-4tbs maple syrup
a pinch of ground turmeric

1-2 handful of nuts and seeds of your choice (I used almond slices, pinenuts and pumpkin seeds)
a handful of fresh coriander leaves, washed and chopped
1tbs balsamic vinegar

1/3cup quinoa + 4/3cup water + a pinch of salt

Seeds of 1 small pomegranate

Instructions below...

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Instructions:
Peel and remove the seeds from the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin into dice-sized cubes and place in an airtight container. In a small bowl or glass mix together the oil, garlic, ginger and all the spices and the maple syrup. Mix until nicely combined then pour over the pumpkin. Stir and/or shake in the airtight container until the pumpkin is fully covered with the marinade, close the container if you haven't already and place in the fridge overnight.

The following day, place the marinaded pumpkin on a baking tray and roast for about 45 minutes at 175C (345F), stirring half way through so that the pumpkin doesn't roast on one side only. The pumpkin should feel almost crisp on the outside and moist on the inside.

As the pumpkin is roasting, prepare your quinoa by cooking it in the suggested amount of water with a pinch of salt. This should take about 15 minutes over a medium flame. Once done, drain away the excess water and set aside.

Wash and chop the coriander.

Once the pumpkin chunks are ready, remove them from the oven, let them cool for 5-10 minutes. Next combine them with the quinoa, coriander, nuts and seeds, pomegranates and balsamic vinegar. You can serve this dish with another salad like this one and then just enjoy!

Tip 1: You can use sweet potato or butternut squash instead of pumpkin if you wish. Whatever you prefer.
Tip 2: You can keep ahold of the pumpkin seeds and roast them with spices of your choice for a healthy late night snack.
Tip 3: You can use honey instead of maple syrup, but remember the recipe will then be vegetarian rather than vegan.
Tip 4: I'm well aware that coriander isn't everyone's favourite, so feel free to use parsley if you prefer.
Tip 5: For a sweeter version replace the pomegranate with chopped dates.
Tip 6: Find quinoa too expensive? Then use pearled barley or buckwheat instead!

Looking for more vegan main dishes? Then why not click here?

Also, it would make my day if you re-pinned this recipe on pinterest, followed along on instagram or came and said 'hi' on facebook. Thank you sooooo much :).