This salad is absolutely delicious. Please forgive my immodesty, but I have a deep and abiding love for the soy-sesame combination, and for anything with roasted pumpkin in it. Not only is this salad delicious; not only does it last three days in the fridge (cook once, eat lunch all week long); but it’s also full of healthy, energy-enhancing, tummy-filling ingredients. Given my semi-nomadic lifestyle I even had the chance to test the appropriateness of the salad in different locations.
I had it for dinner on Tuesday night after a long night at university talking about travel writing and the dirtiness of Chaucer’s The Miller’s Tale. I ate it curled up next to Chris while watching The Colbert Report and reading A Clash of Kings (so in love).
I packed this lunch on Wednesday when I headed into my internship at the Australian Writer’s Marketplace and ate it at my desk while I lost myself in articles about the winner of the 2013 Stella Prize (Carrie Tiffany), the daily routines of famous writers, and dealing with being a book abandoner (I got most of the way through Gone Girl but I just couldn’t finish it).
I packed this lunch on Thursday when I went to work at the research centre and it powered me through data analysis, meetings, and talking to patients (along with a cookie and a coffee), and gave me the energy to go running after work and make orange and poppyseed cupcakes for Chris to take to work.
Wherever you find yourself eating lunch, remember to take a moment to pause in the middle of the day and breathe. Be thankful for something that has happened in your day already, and think of all the adventures that still await in the post-lunch world.
Dear reader, what does your favourite lunch spot look like? Do you like to secret yourself away and read during lunch, or are you a social butterfly?
Roast Pumpkin, Mushroom, and Brown Rice Salad with Soy-Sesame Dressing
This salad is gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and tastes wonderful made ahead. My omnivorous friends might want to try this with some shredded roast chicken.
- 400 grams peeled and diced butternut pumpkin
- 1 cup small mushrooms, quartered
- 1/3 cup brown rice
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 400 gram tin brown lentils
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Heat oven to 210C (410F). Line baking tray and spread out diced pumpkin and quartered mushrooms.
- Roast pumpkin and mushrooms for 15-20 minutes or until pumpkin is soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the brown rice as per packet instructions. Allow to cool.
- Drain and rinse brown lentils well.
- Mix pumpkin, mushrooms, rice and lentils with baby spinach in a large bowl.
- Pour over sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Toss salad well.
- Allow to rest in the fridge for a few hours as the flavours will develop even more.