This is my good friend and fellow author Meredith Gaston’s favourite salad.
Warm salads are colourful, packed with nutrients and wonderful for digestion. The slow-roasted baby tomatoes and spiced pumpkin can be prepared in advance and warmed prior to serving to allow for quick assembly. For a dairy-free option, omit the goat’s cheese.
150 g (51/2 oz/1 cup) cherry tomatoes
1 butternut pumpkin (squash), skin
on and cut into small wedges
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted,
plus extra for pan-frying
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground
3 large handfuls of mixed baby mesclun
250 g (9 oz) lamb backstrap
1 handful of basil leaves
60 g (21/4 oz/1/2 cup) goat’s cheese
2 tablespoons tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
good pinch of Celtic sea salt and freshly
ground black pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/Gas 2).
2 To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a jug. Whisk thoroughly, gradually adding a little warm water until the dressing is smooth, thick and creamy.
3 Place the tomatoes on a baking tray and cook for 2-3 hours, turning every hour or so, until they are shrivelled and bursting with sweetness. This step is best done ahead of time to allow for a very quick assembly. Reheat the tomatoes slightly before serving.
4 Increase the oven temperature to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Place the pumpkin, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and ginger in a bowl and use your hands to mix well. Place the pumpkin on a baking tray, drizzle with the melted coconut oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
5 Season the lamb. Add the coconut oil to a frying pan over medium heat and pan-fry the lamb for 3 minutes on each side (it should still be pink in the centre). Let it rest for
a few minutes before slicing into 5 mm (1/4 inch) pieces.
6 To assemble the salad, make a bed of salad leaves and top with the warm pumpkin, lamb and tomatoes. Drizzle the tahini dressing generously over the top, scatter with the basil leaves and goat’s cheese and serve warm.
Cook notes: Lamb backstrap is a tender, grade-A cut of lamb that can be prepared simply and easily. Try pan-frying, searing, grilling (broiling), or oven roasting.
Recipes and images from Eat Yourself Beautiful: Supercharged Food by Lee Holmes, $35.00, published by Murdoch Books, photographed by Steve Brown.