I wasn’t planning on making this salad when I did, so unfortunately it’s missing roasted pumpkin, one of my favourite ingredients. I’ve put it into the recipe even though it’s not in the pictures but you know what roasted pumpkin looks like, right? If you don’t like chickpeas I have also used lentils in their place before and they work really well.
This is really a kitchen sink recipe, throw in any vegetables you like or need to clear out from your vegetable crisper. For an even quicker salad you can just use vegetables that don’t need cooking. It’s really filling by itself but makes a great side salad as well, I think it would be delicious with chicken schnitzel or something similar with mellow flavours. It would make a great pasta salad if you toss some cooked pasta in there.
I had never made my own pesto before making it as a dressing for this salad and I don’t think I’ll ever stop. Pesto from a jar is still tasty and very convenient but the fresh stuff just has a party in your mouth. It takes all of 2 minutes to whip up in a blender or food processor so really, it’s very little work for a massive flavour reward.
Pesto Vegetable Salad
Recipe by Ainsley Badman.
1/2 butternut pumpkin, chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 red capsicum, chopped finely
1 big handful green beans, chopped finely
1 tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 carrots, grated
1 bunch broccolini, chopped into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup Basil Pesto
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Toss the pumpkin with salt, pepper and a little vegetable oil then spread on an oven tray in one layer, bake for 35-45 minutes or until cooked through and caramelised.
Allow pumpkin to cool to room temperature.
After the pumpkin has come out of the oven, fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to the boil, add the broccolini and simmer for 3 minutes.
Drain immediately into a colander, allow to sit until it cools to room temperature.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl including pesto, mix gently until well combined and the pesto coats everything evenly (add more or less pesto depending on personal preference).
Serve as a main or as a side salad.