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Roasted Pumpkin & Fennel Salad with Goat Cheese and Maple Vinaigrette


2     tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard
2     whole garlic cloves
1/4     tsp (1 mL) salt
1/4     tsp (1 mL) pepper
1/4     cup (50 mL) white wine vinegar
3/4     cup (175 mL) maple syrup
1 1/4     cups (300 mL) olive oil

2     cups (500 mL) cubed pumpkin (see method)
1/2     bulb fennel (fronds removed), sliced
4    cups (940 g) mixed salad greens
4     oz (125 g) goat cheese, crumbled
1/2     cup (125 mL) toasted pumpkin seeds (see below)


Place mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a wooden bowl. Using a fork, grind to a paste. Add vinegar, maple syrup and olive oil, whisking until smooth.

Remove top from pumpkin, scoop out insides and slice into wedges. Cut meat into ½-inch cubes.

Remove fronds from fennel, cut bulb in half; slice one half, saving remaining half for future use.

Toss pumpkin and fennel in half the vinaigrette. Place on baking sheet in 350ºF (180ºC) oven. Braise for 30 minutes, or until brown. Remove from oven.

Place salad on plate; arrange pumpkin and fennel on top. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette, and top with goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. Makes 4 appetizers or two entrée salads.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Remove seeds from pumpkin. Spread on a baking sheet, and let dry overnight.

Rub the seeds between your hands to remove any dried bits of flesh. Toss seeds lightly in a bit of olive oil, enough to coat; add just enough salt to flavour. Return to baking sheet, and place in 225ºF (115ºC) oven. Roast for an hour and 15 minutes, turning occasionally.

Let cool, then eat like a sunflower seed or whole. Variation: add cayenne or curry to olive oil for a bit of heat; cinnamon with honey or maple for a hint of sweetness.

Roasted Pumpkin & Fennel Salad with Goat Cheese and Maple Vinaigrette

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