Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Pop in the pumpkin pieces and simmer until they are just tender — about 8–10 minutes. Stick a knife in them to test for doneness — we want them tender but not collapsing. Drain, run under some cold water to stop them cooking, and set aside to cool.
Bring another pan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the whole purple potatoes and cook until just done. This should take about 15–20 minutes, depending on your spud size. Drain and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, heat up a griddle pan. Lightly oil the corn cobs and place them onto the heated griddle. Keep turning them until they are cooked through, and have some nice char-marks on the sides — about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together well. Taste and adjust seasoning if you like. We want a salty/sour/umami flavour.
Now take a sharp knife and, holding the corn vertically, gently slice off the kernels.
Divide the leaves evenly between 4 bowls. Sprinkle the sprouted seeds and beans evenly between the bowls.
Slice the potatoes into discs and add them, together with the pumpkin, spring onions, avocado and corn kernels, to each plate. Scatter the pomegranate seeds over each portion. Pour over the dressing and finish with a good sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and gomasio.
- You could serve it all in one large bowl.
- This salad stands up well on its own, but it’s also terrific with grilled chicken or fish. If that’s how you’d like to serve it, then these proportions will serve 6.
Gomasio is used a lot as a condiment in Macrobiotic diets, though its origins are Japanese. We use it as a way to cut down on added salt and to add a delicious nutty flavour to soups, salads, vegetables and cereals. Sesame seeds are little treasure stores too — full of protein, iron, zinc and amino acids. You can buy gomasio in health food stores, but it’s just as easy to make at home:
8 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sea salt
Heat a wide dry frying pan over a low heat and toast the sesame seeds until they are golden and fragrant — take care with this: you don’t want them to burn. It should take about 10–15 minutes. Keep an eye on them and stir them occasionally.
Remove from the heat and let them cool.
Put them into a mini blender or coffee grinder with the salt and blitz until you get a coarse sprinkle — you want some texture, so don’t let it to go too powdery. Keep in an airtight jar and use it when needed. It should keep about 4–6 weeks.
Some health food stores sell ready toasted sesame seeds, so you could just skip the toasting part. And feel free to play with the proportions!
FOOD FACT — The 3 Sisters
The 3 Sisters — corn, beans and squash — are central to Native American cooking and agriculture. Planting them together, in a process called companion planting — aids the growth of all three. The beans climb the corn sticks, the pumpkins’ leaves shade all their roots, and the beans trap nitrogen in the soil to fertilise the corn naturally. Better yet, they’re all super foods in their own way. Pumpkin and squash are packed with beta-carotene and deliver complex carbohydrate with a very low GI. Beans offer low-fat protein — in fact, when coupled with barley or oats, they provide enough amino acids to build complete proteins in vegetarians — with and plenty of fibre. And as for corn, well, corn’s had a bad rap of late thanks to its use in making corn syrup. But recent studies at the University of Illinois show that soluble corn fibre helps to remove cholesterol from the liver and that corn bran can help to cut the blood fats that lead to heart disease. Plus it’s packed with vitamin C.
FOOD FACT — Purslane
Purslane is, without a doubt, the best salad leaf you’ve probably never heard of. For the life of us, we don’t know why it’s not there in the supermarket in those little plastic bags. It’s cheap and easy to grow, it tastes delicious, and it packs as much Omega-3s as a piece of fish. And that’s before we get into its copious amounts of vitamins and essential minerals. In this salad, we’d have purslane all the way, if only we knew you could buy it. Supermarkets — are you listening?
FOOD FACT — Pimp Up Your Pumpkin!
We often feel for the pumpkin, dragged out just once a year and carved into scary faces — whhhoooooooa!! But there is so much more to our orange friend. It’s full of beta –carotene, helping to protect us from heart troubles and respiratory problems; its seeds are bursting with zinc, iron, calcium and B–complex vitamins. And who doesn’t just SMILE at that colour! So come on — pimp up that pumpkin in as many ways as you can!
FOOD FACT — P-P-Pick up a Pomegranate
Ruby red and glistening, these seeds pack a punch! High in anti-oxidants and full of vitamins C,E and A, they’re more than just a pretty sprinkle…