Pumpkin Salad with Crispy Sage is a wonderful gluten-free, vegan, warm salad that makes the onset of autumn joyous. Full of deep, earthy and floral flavours the salad jumps off the plate. I adore it drizzled gluten-free, vegan aioli and served with toasted gluten-free crackers, Garlic-Free Houmous and crudites. Sublime.
Pumpkin Salad with Crispy Sage is easy to make but it takes time to roast the pumpkin.
Perfect for a lunch, light dinner or starter to a large meal. Serve with Gluten Free Vegan Rosemary and Sea Salt Crackers.
I love to roast the pumpkin until it is dark, soft and slightly gooey! I leave the pumpkin skin on to roast (it is very hard to peel raw and super easy to peel cooked). I usually also leave it on to serve. It tastes good but you can remove the skin very easily if you wish.
If you do not have a food processor or immersion blender to make the aioli do not worry. I usually make it (very) successfully in an old jam jar. Exactly the same steps but with lots of shaking of the jam jar. You can also serve with just a really good virgin olive oil if you don’t fancy aioli.
Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 50 minutes
Pumpkin Salad with Crispy Sage is gluten-free and vegan as well as…
Tree nut free
*For nightshade free leave out the chilli.
What’s the Deal with Pumpkin?
Pumpkin and squash tend to be used interchangeably sometimes without any real clarity of what a pumpkins is and what a squash is. Well, to keep it simple and pumpkin is a type of squash and a squash is a type of gourd… To make it more confusing in the UK, Australia and New Zealand the term pumpkin is used where winter squash would be used elsewhere.
Cucurbita is a genus of herbaceous vines in the gourd family which is native to the Andes and Mesoamerica. Five species are grown worldwide for their edible fruit and seeds. These species are known as squash, pumpkin, or gourd depending on variety, and local parlance. Squash/ pumpkin were first cultivated in the Americas before being brought to Europe by returning explorers after their discovery of the New World. There are other types of gourd (bottle-gourds) which are native to Africa and belong to the genus Lagenaria, which is in the same family and subfamily as Cucurbita but in a different tribe. These other gourds are used as utensils or vessels, and their young fruits are eaten much like those of Cucurbita species.
Origins and spread of pumpkin
Cucurbita fruits have played a role in human culture for at least 2000 years. They are often represented in Moche ceramics from Peru. After Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World, paintings of squashes started to appear in Europe early in the sixteenth century. The fruits have many culinary uses including pumpkin pie, biscuits, bread, desserts, puddings, beverages, and soups. Pumpkins and other Cucurbita fruits are celebrated in festivals and in flower and vegetable shows in many countries.
The genus Cucurbita were present in the Americas before the arrival of humans and are native to the New World. The likely origin is southern Mexico, spreading south through what is now known as Mesoamerica, on into South America, and north to what is now the southwestern United States. Modern-day cultivated Cucurbita are not found in the wild.
The earliest known evidence of the domestication of Cucurbita dates back at least 8000 years, predating the domestication of other crops such as maize and beans in the region by about 4000 years. Squash was domesticated first, followed by maize and then beans, becoming part of the Three Sisters agricultural system of companion planting. The English word “squash” derives from askutasquash (a green thing eaten raw), a word from the Narragansett language, which was documented by Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, in his 1643 publication A Key Into the Language of America. Similar words for squash exist in related languages of the Algonquian family.
What do you do with pumpkin?
Long before Europeans discovered the America, Cucurbita was a major food source for the native peoples of the Americas. The species subsequently became an important food for European settlers, including the Pilgrims (featuring at the first Thanksgiving). Commercially made pumpkin pie mix is very popular in the US as a sweet and savoury ingredient. Squash is used throughout Europe, Africa and America in almost every type of dish including soup, scones, biscuits, bread, cheesecake, desserts, donuts, granola, ice cream, gnocchi, pancakes, pudding, salads, soups, stuffing etc.
Nutritional value of pumpkin
Nutritionally squash contains vitamins A and C although varieties vary in their nutritional value. As an example Curcubita, raw summer squash is 94% water, 3% carbohydrate, 1% protein, with negligible fat content. 100 grams of raw squash will supply 16 kilo-calories and contains 20% of the RDA of vitamin C and 12–17% RDA of vitamins B6 and riboflavin. Curcubita seeds contain vitamin E, crude protein, B vitamins and several dietary minerals. Also present in pumpkin seeds are unsaturated and saturated oils (palmitic, oleic and linoleic fatty acids) and carotenoids.
What’s the Deal with Sage?
I love, love, love sage. The flavour, the texture, the versatility of the leaves and the beauty of the plant with its soft, wispy leaves that can look silver on the top and white underneath. Sage is a real autumn, winter flavour that envelopes you and tells you all is well!
The sage plant
Sage (AKA garden sage, common sage, culinary sage) has the latin name Salvia officinalis. Sage is a perennial, evergreen sub-shrub, with woody stems, grey-green leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. Sage plants vary in size, leaf and flower colour, and foliage pattern. There are many variegated leaf types. The ‘Old World’ type grows to approximately 0.61 metres tall and wide, with purple flowers (they can also be white or pink). Sage flowers in late spring or summer. The leaves are oblong and can reach up to six centimetres long by two and a half centimetres wide. The leaves are grey-green, rugose on the upper side, and nearly white underneath due to many short soft hairs.
Origins and spread of sage
Sage is native to the Mediterranean area and was written about in Roman times by Pliny. It was used as a diuretic, a local anaesthetic for the skin and a styptic amongst other (wide and varied) things in Roman times. Charlemagne recommended the plant for cultivation in the early Middle Ages. During the Carolingian Empire sage was cultivated in monastery gardens. Sage was widely used as a medicinal herb since as far back as Roman times.
What do you do with sage?
In the UK, sage, parsley, rosemary, and thyme are synonymous (Scarborough Fair folk song!) with each other. Sage is viewed as a classic herb. Sage is used in many European cuisines, notably Italian, Balkan and Middle Eastern cookery. In British and American cooking, sage is traditionally served as sage and onion stuffing; a side dish at Christmas or Thanksgiving. In the Levant it is commonly used as a flavor for tea.
Sage can be used fresh or dried. As a ‘hard herb’ sage needs to be cooked. This can be as an ingredient (e.g. in gluten-free, vegan sausages, in a rich tomato sauce) or as a topping or decoration e.g. fried sage leaves. Or both as an ingredient and decoration (e.g. gnocchi with rich sage and tomato sauce decorated with fried sage leaves. Salty, fried sage leaves are divine.
Sage is also widely used in perfumes and essential oils. Particularly in scents for the home.
Nutritional value of sage
Most servings of Fresh sage would be up to around two grams per person. Two grams of fresh sage will provide approximately six kilo-calories, one gram of carbohydrate and one gram of dietary fibre. Two grams of fresh sage also contains RDA values of 2% of vitamin A, 1% of vitamin C, 3% calcium and 3% iron.
Nutritionally sage is a great source of many vitamins and minerals but you would have to eat quite a large amount for it to make a significant contribution to your diet.