But whatever you do, don’t tell your dinner mates that you’re making a dinner salad with pumpkin in it. Most people don’t think to eat their pumpkins and only go with canned pumpkin puree for recipes, so the thought of eating their jack-o-lantern in a salad might just be too much to handle.
As cute as they are, definitely don’t use your big, bad-boy jack-o-lantern pumpkins (should you still have them adorning your doorstep). You’ll need one of those smaller-sized ones known as pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins. Peel the outside of it with a sturdy, sharp peeler, cut it in half and remove the seeds. The pumpkin is then chopped and tossed with olive oil and a few spices. It’s roasted for a bit, then removed, tossed with maple syrup and then returned to the oven to caramelize.
You’ll also need pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), which you’ll toast in the oven. Don’t skip out on these- they’re yummy.
The dressing is a simple one… roasted garlic (that goes into the oven w/ the pumpkin) whisked together with lime juice, mustard, maple syrup and olive oil. Toss the dressing with your favorite greens (I used a mixed of arugula & baby greens), feta, roasted pumpkin and pepitas.
Reveal the pumpkin ingredient to your salad eaters at your own risk. I personally couldn’t get my husband to stop sneaking samples of the pumpkin out the roasting pan before serving. It turns out so delicious with that roasted flavor and sweet caramelization. And if you absolutely are weirded out by the idea of eating fresh pumpkin (you shouldn’t be), then go ahead and sub butternut squash and pecans. You’ll still get a delicious outcome.
If you’re thinking this might be a good addition to your Thanksgiving table, you’re so right. You can make everything ahead… caramelized pumpkin, toasted seeds and dressing- just refrigerate it all and then toss it together right before Thanksgiving dinner.
This recipe can be found here: Maple- Roasted Pumpkin Salad