Following on from my previous post, this is one of my all time favourite uses for my Pesto. Its really not the kind of weather here for salad, but too much indulging with visitors, being sick and no gym calls for some healthy, wholesome food this week. This salad was a great hit with my best friend “the taste tester” and that made me decide to post it.
To make the salad you will need 1/2 cup or more of my Cashew Basil Pesto, of course you could use store bought, but it will be no way near as tasty – haha! The combination of the rice like pasta, crunchy beans, sweet caramelized pumpkin and the saltiness of the feta is so refreshing and then you get a pop of crunch from the roasted pine nuts and seeds -yum, yum! I always cook this salad in stages, as I have 2 little ones who are very demanding and I have very short windows of “ME” time. I just combine all ingredients just before its time to serve. The salad will last in the fridge for a couple of days and can be refreshed with a squeeze of lemon before serving.
Risoni Pesto Salad with Roast Pumpkin
1/2 pumpkin ( any type) cut into 1 inch pieces
300g green beans, cut into 1 inch lengths
500g risoni pasta
1/2 cup Cashew Basil Pesto
2 tablespoons pine nut, pepita and sunflower seed mix
100g rocket and baby spinach mix
50g danish feta
2 tablespoons rice bran oil and extra for drizzling
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 180c fan forced, prepare an oven tray with baking paper, scatter the chopped pumpkin on the tray, drizzle with oil , mix with hands to cover, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, remove tray and turn the pumpkin over. Cook for a further 15-20 minutes (you want it to be a bit burnt and caramelized on the edges). When cooked, cool on tray and place in fridge until ready to assemble salad.
- Cook pasta according to packet instructions (mine took 10 mins) strain and place in a large bowl with the rice bran oil (the oil stops the pasta from sticking together).
- Place the beans into a medium pot of salted boiling water, boil for 3 minutes, strain and place into a bowl of cold water. Set aside.
- Roast the seed and nut mix in a small fry pan until lightly browned, keep an eye on it, they will burn quickly. Place in a small bowl until ready to sprinkle on top.
- Combine the pasta with the Cashew Basil Pesto, beans and crumbled feta, gently fold to combine, season with salt and pepper.
- Scatter the rocket and baby spinach leaves in a large salad bowl or serving platter, top with pasta mixture, roast pumpkin, nut and seed mix, lemon juice and a drizzle of oil.