WORDS + PHOTOS Honey Atkinson
There's no science involved making this dish (unlike baking) so it gives me a freedom to explore different ingredient combinations and play with balancing textures and flavours. There are four elements that make up the dish - grain (rice, quinoa, etc), roasted veggies, gremolata (adds a special lemon crunch) and the cheese which finishes the dish off nicely with a dose of salt.
Preheat oven to 180°C (fan) or 200°C (no fan). Cook brown rice or quinoa, strain chickpeas and set aside.
Grease 2-3 baking trays with olive oil or use a sheet of baking paper. Arrange sliced pumpkin, beetroot and other veggies of your choice in a single layer on trays and cover with a good dose of olive oil. Bake in oven turning halfway through cooking. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until light brown and tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly (I like to have the veggies just warm).
In a large heavy fry pan heat a dash of olive oil and add bread crumbs, turn constantly so they don’t burn. Cook until lightly browned, add in the lemon zest or preserved lemon to pan fry with the breadcrumbs. If using preserved lemon it will clump up with breadcrumbs - don’t worry, keep stirring and flattening with a flipper or big spoon and eventually it will stir through. You aren’t cooking the lemon, just heating it enough to activate the flavour more. This should take approx. 1 minute in an already hot pan. Take everything out of pan and set aside in a bowl to cool.
Using the same heated pan add a dash more oil, chopped nuts and whole seeds and stir constantly. You aren’t cooking them, just lightly toasting. This should take approx. 1-2 minutes. Take off the heat and add seed and nut mix to the breadcrumb bowl to cool.
Turn on BBQ (or you can use your grill) to heat up.
To a large salad or serving bowl add the cooked grain of your choice, chickpeas and diced herbs and mix through.
Using the same heated pan add a dash of olive oil and chopped greens of your choice, stir constantly and when nearly wilted add in the diced garlic and a dash more oil. Keep stirring and when lightly cooked take off the heat and add to the bowl with the grains and chickpeas. Stir evenly through.
Add sliced and oiled zucchini’s to the BBQ and cook/char on both sides (approx 2 mins each side). If you’d like bacon add to the BBQ to cook (or use grill) at the same time.
If you want to add eggs poach as you like and set aside to cool. Once cool slice in 1cm strips.
Take veggies out of the oven and lay each piece of veg on top of the bowl of grains/greens. Crumble feta on the top or lay sliced halloumi. Add optional extra’s like sliced eggs or sliced bacon on top.
Finally, sprinkle the breadcrumb/nut/seed mix over the salad, plus season with salt and pepper and serve. Enjoy!
- 800g-1kg Pumpkin (skin left on deseeded, cut into 2-3cm pieces). Butternut is my preference.
- 500g beetroot (if small leave whole; medium-large cut in half)
- 2 zucchini sliced length-ways (.5cm thick) roasted on BBQ (or other seasonal veg)
- 3 Fennel bulbs roasted
- 6 carrots roasted
- 1 medium bunch of silverbeat or kale chopped up roughly
- 2 cloves of garlic diced
- 30-60 mls olive oil for roasting veggies
300 g block of feta crumbled or 300g halloumi sliced and pan fried
- 250 grams of grilled bacon (optional) or 4-8 poached eggs (optional)
- 1 cup bread crumbs (preferably freshly ground old bread), approx. 2 slices
- 1 x zest of whole lemon or 2 x 1/4’s of preserved lemon cut up very finely
- 50-100 grams roughly chopped nuts of your choice
- 50 grams whole peptitas or sunflower seeds
- 20 mls olive oil
Grain & Legumes
- 3 cups of cooked brown rice or quinoa (or 1.5 cups uncooked, doubles when cooked)
- 400g chickpeas (canned or freshly cooked)
- Bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped or 1/2 bunch of fresh mint chopped