At first glance, Shaheen Peerbhai’s (who blogs as Purple Foodie and is the author of the Paris Picnic cookbook) Roasted Pumpkin Labneh Buckwheat Salad with Pomegranate and Rocket leaves sounds like a cosy winter salad. It is however a light and refreshing summer type of salad with some unlikely ingredients coming together with a medley of colours and flavours.
The roasted pumpkin salad is easy to put together, though it does need some preparation, most of which can be done before hand. The roasted pumpkin drizzled with olive oil and the honeyed buckwheat come together beautifully with the creamy labneh (Arabian strained yogurt or hung curd) and the fresh rocket and pomegranate seeds. A secret ingredient in the salad is the pistou of basil leaves. All together a delicious, nutritious and fun salad for lunch, with a tall glass of iced tea.
Last month I attended Shaheen’s second set of baking classes at Bangalore ( I had attended some sessions in the first batch in 2016, the first ever, held by this renowned Master Baker, at Bangalore).
Though I am a veteran Salad maker (and eater), the name of this item on the Brunch list seemed to me rather unlikely – pumpkin and pomegranates? With hung curd and honey roasted buckwheat? As I watched the process of carefully prepping each ingredient and then finally putting it all together, it was beginning to look more and more interesting.
The final taste of the pudding was in the eating – and it was so very melt in the mouth delicious – the roasted pumpkin still warm from the oven, dotted with fresh labneh and lathered with pistou, the sweetness of the pomegranate and the crunch of the honey buckwheat contrasting with the peppery rocket leaves – this Salad was a plateful of Gourmet Heaven.
When you watch Shaheen at one of her classes, this is one of the best take aways – the way you can mix and match ingredients to bring out their colours, textures and flavours, how to be bold and adventurous in shaping a dish to get the best of seasonal produce and the nutrition that comes with it.
I would have thought of nuts and cheese in this kind of Salad, but the labneh and the buckwheat were just so perfect instead!
Buckwheat as you may know, is one of the superfoods and an ancient one, at that. Here is a link explaining some of its nutritional and medical properties, on a website that I came across: Nutrition and you
When I tried to recreate the Roasted Pumpkin Labneh Buckwheat Salad with Pomegranate and Rocket, recently, I made only one change to the Purple Foodie’s recipe – I already had home made Basil Oil readily available so I substituted that for the pistou which the recipe calls for and then added a dash of lemon zest to the salad.
Check here for my recipe on this Blog, for easy Basil Oil.
The recipe for the Roasted Pumpkin Labneh Buckwheat Salad with Pomegranate and Rocket, has as you can see from the name, several ingredients, and each of them need to be prepared separately.
Each one is easily made though, so don’t let that put you off trying this uber delicious salad. Just keep in mind that the Labneh has to be made ahead of time and needs at least 4 hours for the whey to drain away.
Buckwheat is available in India in most Gourmet stores, some traditional stores, as well as online.
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