Roast Kumara Salad with Toasted Cumin, Lime and Fresh Mint

This salad knocks it out of the park for me. I came up with it for a recipe competition, promoting the use of local, fresh, seasonal vegetables. The kumara, when it is roasted just right, resembles a toasted marshmallow in the best of ways: Soft in the inside, and a crisp, toasted outer that sends your tastebuds screaming for more. This salad is vegan, and healthy, while being comforting and delicious at the same time.
 

kumara-saladFor the Roast Kumara:

1 ½ kg kumara (I used 3 types for a variety in flavour and colour), scrubbed clean but not peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
1 T olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
 

For the Toasted Cumin Dressing:

2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted in dry skillet until aromatic
1 ½ tsp sea salt
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 ½ T fresh orange juice (squeeze juice from ½ fresh orange)
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T Sweetree raw honey
Pinch of cayenne/red chili powder
1/3 cup olive oil
 

For the Cumin Lime Sunflower Seeds:

½ cup sunflower seeds
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cumin
2 T fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
4 T fresh mint, minced
 
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C and line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Toss kumara with olive oil and salt. Place on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until kumara is soft and beginning to brown (some crisp brown spots are great).
 
Place all sunflower seed ingredients in small roasting pan (a loaf pan works great) and place in oven while the kumara is roasting. After 20 minutes, check to see if they are toasted and remove from oven as soon as they are lightly brown.
 
While kumara and sunflower seeds are roasting, prepare dressing. If you have a mortar and pestle, grind toasted cumin seeds and salt to a rough powder. If not, use a (clean) coffee grinder. If no coffee grinder, place cumin and salt with all dressing ingredients except olive oil in a bowl or blender (an immersion blender works great for this). Blend until smooth and carefully/slowly add olive oil in a steady stream, until dressing is thick and creamy.  Taste for salt/seasoning, and set aside.
 
When kumara is done roasting, remove from oven and when still hot/warm, place in a large bowl and gently toss with dressing. Let sit for 15 minutes for flavours to meld. When ready to serve, toss with fresh parsley and mint. Sprinkle with cumin lime sunflower seeds and enjoy.
 
Serves 4 in a good way

by Sarah Wadsworth - The Seasonal Alchemist
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