Despite it being a very un-autumn 81 degrees and sunny in Boston yesterday, I decided to quest on with my farm market haul roasting party. Pumpkin, beets, green beans, oh my! You also may wonder: WTF is an un-salad? An un-salad is the only type of salad that qualifies under my sister J’s personal preference requirement – a salad without lettuce/leafy greens as the primary component. Give it any other vegetable/grain base and she’s all for it. Ain’t nothing wrong with that – un-salads are salads too, man. This particular one is especially tasty, not too complicated and gets you into the autumn spirit faster than you can say “Pumpkin Spice Soy Latte!”
Ingredients for Roasted Pumpkin, Beet, Chickpea and Barley Un-Salad. Disregard that tofu – I was just making my weekly ration of Best Tofu Ever simultaneously!
I also like to point out that this meal is 3 for the price of 1 (or ~3 1/2 really, with the pumpkin seeds – more on that later). You have the un-salad, roasted pumpkin and roasted beets. They can be eaten together, separately, used in other things. You can break up the components completely and have it any way you damn well please. How fun is that? I’ll tell you how I made mine last night, and you can go from there!
Roasted Pumpkin, Beet, Chickpea and Barley Un-Salad
For the un-salad:
1 15.5 oz can chickpeas*
1 cup of barley**
~2 cups green beans, ends trimmed and sliced into halves***
1 pound sugar pumpkin, unpeeled and sliced thinly***
3 medium beets, peeled, trimmed and sliced
Optional: goat’s cheese and toasted pepitas to top it off
*Or 1/2 cup of dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in a bowl of cold water. You would drain, rinse and add these in to cook with the barley.
**Or pearl barley, but I couldn’t find that at Stop N’Shop. Or, substitute your favorite gluten-free grain!
***My pumpkin was way bigger, and I used several handfuls of green beans because I really like them – see image.
For the dressing:
3 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil*
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (at least – I used much more, you can’t really overdo it)
*Usually coconut oil is solid at room temperature, I microwaved it for ~30 seconds to melt it in order to incorporate it into the dressing.
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Start prepping your veggies. Set aside your pumpkin seeds for later – we will be doing something fun with those tomorrow! 🙂
Chop the pumpkin in thin slices. Make sure your knife is sharp enough, you don’t want to be hacking away at the pumpkin with a dull knife.
Scoop the pumpkin seeds out and set aside. I rinsed, drained, patted them dry and put them in a mason jar to save for tonight’s recipe.
2. Meanwhile, cook the barley in a medium saucepan of boiling water, about 20 minutes or until tender. Add the chickpeas and green beans to the pan during the last minute of cooking time. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Set aside.
3. Make the dressing: combine all the ingredients in a screw top jar, season with salt and pepper to taste, and shake well to combine. Divide the dressing into three portions.
4. Once your pumpkin and beets are ready for roasting, toss them in about 1/3 of the dressing each and place them in a lined baking dish. Make sure your pumpkin and beets are in a single layer to roast, otherwise it takes forever. Roast about 30 – 40 minutes or until caramelized and tender.
Pumpkin slices tossed in dressing and ready to go in the oven. Once they are lightly coated, place them in a single layer – they will roast much faster.
Beets tossed in dressing and ready to go into the oven. I sliced my beets in thin-ish slices and then quartered the slices to make them a little more “bite size” out of personal preference. As you can see, I really went for it with the fresh thyme.
It’s totally okay if your hands make you look like an ax murderer after chopping the beets. It gets you right into the Halloween spirit! I promise it comes off (eventually).
5. Here’s where you have some options:
a.) Combine the barley, chickpeas, green beans*, pumpkin, beets and remaining dressing in a large bowl. Toss gently.
b.) Combine the barley, chickpeas and green beans with the remaining dressing and toss. Top with pumpkin and beets (keeping them separate).
I chose option b.) because I had a huuuuuge amount of pumpkin and have big plans for the leftovers this week.
*If you forgot, like I did yesterday, to add the green beans in with the barley during the last minute of cooking time, no worries! I just steamed my beans for 2 minutes and added them at the end.
Beets roasted and ready to be chomped. Once roasted, you should be able to stick a fork through them, but they should not be total mush.
Pumpkin slices after roasting. You should easily be able to stick a fork through these when they are done.
6. Serve the un-salad sprinkled with cheese and pepitas, if desired. Enjoy!
Roasted Pumpkin, Beet, Chickpea and Barley Salad
I am pretty jazzed about this recipe, it’s really good. I especially like that I can pick and choose what version I want to eat when I chow the leftovers. All of the components are delicious separately, and together they are bangin’! It also looks pretty, so you can impress your friends or significant other with all your mad cooking skillz (even if you’re not really Top Chef material).
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. I’m not going to lie, I put a pretty significant dent in the roasted pumpkin eating the slices straight out of the pan while I was waiting for the beets to be done. YUM!
In unrelated news, my knee is doing much better. I count myself especially lucky and didn’t push it by going to the gym this morning. Rest days are the best days, especially when you have some delish veggie sh*t to eat.
Happy Hump Day! (insert camel emoji) 😉