Roasted pumpkin with pomegranate and cream of feta

Warm Autumn salads

How many pumpkins have you cooked so far? Halloween weekend just passed I bet you had your fare share of pumpkin. I made a delicious and very autumny pumpkin salad with pomegranate and cream of feta.

Head straight to the recipe.

There is nothing better than enjoying vegetables when in season. Pumpkins are undoubtedly the star of the season but so are pomegranates. I picked mine from mom’s garden. She keeps only a few fruit trees: some young olive trees were planted last year, four lemon trees that have been by far a winner, with us as well as our neighbours, the apricot tree for summer delights and my personal favourite, the pomegranate tree. I’ve watched the bright orange flowers bud, being visiting by fuzzy bees and slowly forming into plumb balls of goodness.

Pomegranate, apart fromits wonderfully sweet and a bit sour flavour, it also holdsinteresting symbolic qualities in Greek culture to our day. It’s asymbol of fertility, abundance and good fortune. Every New Year, the ritual goes like this: the first to enter the house should crash a pomegranate on the doorstep. The more its seeds spread around the front door the luckier the year. It’s a costume to wish good luck and prosperity for the new year. The same wish accompanies happy new beginnings, such as weddings or even when buying a new house. Pomegranates are not only celebrating happy occasions, however, there are present to honour our dead in funerals and other religious occasions according to Greek Orthodox practice (known aspsihosavvata). The practice holds since ancient times.

Do you know the myth of Persephone?

If you are a tad interested in Greek mythology, I’m certain that this one cannot have escaped you. It’s very much in line with Halloween mood, too. Persephone, daughter of Demeter and Zeus, was abducted by Hades, lord of the underworld. Nobody was particularly happy, as you can imagine, except, perhaps, Hades, the unseen one. Demeter – goddess of grain and harvest – was looking for her everywhere. Her sorrow, having lost her was so great that the earth seized producing fruits and grains. And thus came autumn, followed by winter with nothing in the land growing.

Zeus, seeing he had quite some humanitarian crisis to solve with no food growing for the humans, he ordered his brother to return the bride. Hades, seemingly agreed, there were some technicalities, though. Persephone was tricked into eating a few pomegranate seeds before leaving the Underworld. As tradition went, no-one having tasted the seed could be allowed to return. Zeus offered a compromise: Persephone, goddess of vegetation got to share her time between the two worlds, much like a plant whose roots grow deep underground but the trunks and leaves rise up from the ground.

So Hades, that rich son of a Titan, got to keep his bride but only for a few months a year. Persephone returns to earth for spring and summer, Demeter brings light and warmth and the earth sprouts. And this is how ancient Greeks explained the seasons.

Back to the recipe! No matter how much I love pumpkin, it’s pomegranate that wins me over every time. I often have it on its own or for breakfast and it’s a great addition to this salad, to be frank for just about any winter salad. The best bit, as always, it’s super quick!

Another fun sauce I have been enjoying recently is cream of feta. I admit it: feta cheese accompanies most of my dishes! Although I hardly mention it, it is a staple side dish. This time, instead of crumbled feta I mixed it with a bit of Greek yoghurt for a smoother texture.

Roasted pumpkin with feta

Roasted pumpkin with pomegranate salad

Note: you need approximately 1 large pumpkin wedge per person

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pumpkin
  • 100 gr bulgur wheat (boiled)
  • 5-6 tbspn pomegranade seeds
  • 3-4 sprigs of parsley
  • 3-4 sprigs of mint
  • pumpkin seeds
  • Cream of feta
  • 200 gr Greek yogurt
  • 100 gr feta cheese
  • a bit of freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Roast the pumpkin for 30 minutes at 200C. Remove from the oven and chop if you wish.
  2. Prepare the bulgur wheat, drizzle with olive oil and mix with the chopped herbs, a bit of salt and pepper.
  3. For the cream of feta, simply whizz in a food processor the Greek yogurt with crumbled feta and add a bit of freshly ground pepper if desired.
  4. Place in a large platter the roasted pumpkin in pieces or the large slice and accompany with the bulgur wheat and cream of feta.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do. It was inspired by my last’s year visit at Ottolenghi restaurant’s in London, where I tried something very similar.

If you like the myth of Persephone there are a couple of more versions, as well as other myths you can check out here and here.

from Athens with love, 

Eugenia

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6 thoughts on “Roasted pumpkin with pomegranate and cream of feta

    • Eugenia says:

      Hey Mimi, pumpkin and pomegranate bind really well together. I went to Ottolenghi Islington for lunch, as you said, it was everything you expected it to be. Great flavours, new tasty combinations- nice atmosphere, you couldn’t ask for more :).

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