This salad is a winter take on a previous recipe and as I said in that post it is heavily influenced by Yottam Ottolenghi; once again I’ve used one of his sauces pretty much wholesale, this time a version of baba ganoush given a lovely burst of sweetness and acidity by the addition of pomegranate molasses.
At the salad’s heart are a pair of roasted winter vegetables, the first being pumpkin which really shines when baked – I generally cook it with the skin on because it’s much easier to peel that way – and celeriac which takes on a lovely smokey flavour when cooked in the oven.
What I love about this dish is every mouthful generally gives a different taste or texture, whether it’s the crunch of raw red cabbage, the chewiness of the roasted pine nuts or the small bursts of juice from the pomegranate seeds. As an aside, the easiest way to prepare pomegranates is to cut them in half, hold them cut side down over a bowl and gently tap the husk to release the fruit; if it’s ripe the seeds will just fall out.
For the aubergine sauce
1 medium aubergine, green stalk removed
125g Greek yoghurt
25g light tahini paste
10ml pomegranate molasses
½ clove garlic, finely grated
For the quinoa salad
150g celeriac, sliced into 1.5cm chips
150g pumpkin, diced in 3cm cubes
350ml vegetable stock
25g pine nuts
75g red cabbage, finely shredded
2.5g chilli powder
½ pomegranate, seeds only
- Preheat the oven to 190°C.
- Place the aubergine on the largest ring of a gas stove over a medium heat.
- Turn occasionally to ensure even cooking.
- After about 10-15 minutes, the aubergine should be very charred and have collapsed.
- Take off the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.
- Cut the aubergine in half and scrape out the contents into a blender, taking care to leave as much of the burnt outer skin behind.
- Add the yoghurt, tahini paste, pomegranate molasses, garlic and a pinch to salt to the blender.
- Pulse until you have a rough puree. Taste the sauce and add more salt or molasses if necessary. Reserve.
- Place the celeriac and pumpkin into a large baking tray and coat in olive oil.
- Roast the vegetables for around 30-35 until browning and caramelising.
- Meanwhile, toast the quinoa in a dry pan over a medium heat for around 5 minutes.
- Transfer the grains to a pot and pour in the vegetable stock.
- Bring to the boil and then bring to a simmer over the lowest heat and cover the pot.
- Cook for fifteen minutes and then remove from the heat to allow steam for around five minutes.
- Place some oil in a frying pan and toast the pine nuts for around 2 minutes until golden. Reserve.
- In the same frying pan, add some oil and place over a high heat.
- Add the spinach and sauté until wilted, around 3 minutes.
- Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and add the cooked vegetables, red cabbage, parsley, mint, chilli powder, pepper and some salt.
- Pour in some olive oil and then mix thoroughly.
- Check the seasoning and correct if necessary.
- Divide the salad between two plates and place a dollop of the aubergine sauce in the middle.
- Before serving, sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and pine nuts.