Roast Pumpkin, Feta and Pasta Salad

Steve's Pasta Salad

I have to say I’m hardly the Masterchef – I leave that to my sister, who’s a real chef – but every now and then I strike on something that I really like, so I thought I would share…

It all started after the Highland Fling a couple of years back.  We were given a little ticket that would entitle you to a post-race meal in the goodie bag…  Hang onto it and use after you finish said the organisers.  So after almost collapsing over the line after nine hours of riding, I stumbled over to the tent, handed in my ticket and was given this bowl which looked like some sort of salad.  I headed back to the car and started to devour it as best as a totally spent endurance mountain bike racer, and I use that term loosely, could.  To my surprise, it tasted really good!

Stopping to have a bit of a look – hard to do as I was in a Homer Simpson ‘can’t talk, eating’ mode – it looked like something I thought I just might be able to recreate.  Roast pumpkin, pasta spirals, semi-dried tomatoes, feta, pine nuts and lettuce.  Mmmm… I think I could make that…

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I happened by the food hall in the local plaza.  The local grocers have a vast array of fruit, veg and other fancy deli type stuff.  Soon enough there I was, picking up the ingredients to make said salad…

So based on my highly scientific information gathering, read guess, I put together this Roast Pumpkin, Pasta and Feta Salad. Here’s what you need (serves 2-4 depending on appetite, accompaniments etc.):

  • 3-4 Handfuls of Mixed Lettuce leaves
  • Small tub or jar of Semi Dried Tomatoes
  • 100-200g Small block of Feta cheese (Australian of course!)
  • 3 teaspoons Pine nuts (or small nuts of your choice)
  • 1/2 Pumpkin (I prefer butternut)
  • 200g Spiral pasta
  • Oil of your choice (optional – I like either Macadamia Nut, Basil Infused or Chilli Infused)
  • Large salad bowl

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut up the pumpkin into small to mid-size pieces and roast at 180deg. celsius for 30 minutes.
  2. Get the pumpkin out of the oven and leave aside to cool.
  3. Cook up the spiral pasta using your preferred method.
  4. Drain the pasta and let cool (you can hurry the process by rinsing it with some cool water).
  5. Wash and drain the lettuce.
  6. Throw the lettuce into the large salad bowl.
  7. Throw in the tub of semi dried tomatoes, including the oil.
  8. Cut up the feta into small pieces, and then throw into the salad bowl.
  9. Throw in the nuts.
  10. Throw in the pasta.
  11. Throw in the roast pumpkin.
  12. Drizzle with oil.
  13. Toss the salad.
  14. Serve!

The beauty of this salad is that you can substitute various ingredients to suit your taste.  If you’re not keen on pumpkin, try some sweet potato.  Don’t like feta?  Try another type of cheese (although the feta does taste REALLY good in this).  You can also change the type of oil and nuts to suit particular tastes.  It’s up to you!  Be creative!

So there you go.  Pretty simple really. Give it a try.  I think you’ll like it.  Well, I hope so anyway…

Steve [@fatboyridin]