HAY! HAY! It's pumpkin day!

Turn up the flavour with a punchy pumpkin salad

I’ve recently rediscovered one of my favourite ingredients – pumpkin. It is such a versatile vegetable that can be dressed in all sorts of ways and totally healthy to boot! Today I share a recipe for a delectable pumpkin salad that I like to serve when I need a little bit of a ‘wow’ factor in the side dish department for a dinner party or casual family lunch.

But first, a few things I bet you didn’t know about the humble pumpkin:

It grows pretty much everywhere

More than 30 varieties of pumpkin are grown worldwide and it comes in all shapes, sizes and colours - including green, white, brown and even blue! The only continent where pumpkins are not grown is Antarctica.

It’s extraordinarily healthy

There are old wives’ tales that say that pumpkin skins can remove freckles and cure snake bites. I don't know about that, but pumpkin is extraordinarily healthy though - it contains immune-boosting vitamin A, free radical-scavenging vitamin C, as well as vitamin B6, manganese, copper, potassium, folate, vitamin K and dietary fibre.

Americans love pumpkin

Morton, Illinois, is known as the pumpkin capital of the world. Over 100 thousand tonnes of pumpkins are processed there each year. The largest pumpkin pie ever was made in New Bremen, Ohio in 2010. It weighed 1670kg and had a diameter of 6m. 

It also inspired quite a few writers

We all know the ubiquitous pumpkin carriage from the fairy tale of Cinderella, but did you know that there are a few other books that also feature strong references to pumpkins in one form or another? Go have a look here.

So now that you know a bit more about the humble pumpkin, here’s my recipe for a tasty pumpkin salad with pickled onions, beans, chorizo, Chevin cheese and a few other bits and bobs. You can either make one big salad to feed an entire family, or if you feel a little fancy you could make a small individual pumpkin for each guest.


You can prepare all the ingredients for the salad in advance and just assemble it when your guest arrives. Easy peasy!

Serves | 8

Preparation time | 20 minutes

Cooking time | 45 minutes


For the salad

1 large pumpkin or 6-8 small pumpkins

40 g mixed salad leaves

1 tin white beans

80 g chorizo sausage, thinly sliced

100 g fresh goats cheese

4 clementine’s, peeled + ½ segmented + ½ sliced

1 spring onion, thinly sliced


For the pickled onions

125ml (½ cup) sugar

250ml (1 cup) apple cider vinegar

375ml (1 ½ cups) water

pinch of salt

5 peppercorns

1 bay leave

2 red onions, thinly sliced


For the spicy caramelized seeds

60ml (¼ cup) sugar

10ml (2 tsp) Mexican spice mix

125ml (½ cup) pumpkin + sunflower seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the pumpkins on a baking tray and roast for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size, or until almost soft. Cut the top of the pumpkin off, remove the seeds and roast for another 5-10 minutes until the moisture has evaporated and the pumpkin is completely cooked.
  2. For the pickled onions, place the sugar, vinegar, water, salt, peppercorns and bay leave in a small saucepot over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to high and boil for 3-4 minutes. Pour over onions and set aside to cool down.
  3. For the caramelized seeds, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Place the sugar, spice and seeds in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar starts to dissolve and turn caramel colour. Pour onto prepared baking tray and set aside to cool down.
  4. To serve, arrange the salad leaves, beans, chorizo, cheese, clementine’s, spring onion, pickled onions and spicy seeds in the hollowed-out pumpkin.
Recipes, Styling + Production | Inemari Rabie
Photography | Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen
Copy | Skryfyster aka Anna-Bet Stemmet