I find myself making this salad all year round, but there’s no denying its utter summery-ness. Whether it’s Sunday dinner at home, a casual picnic, or a festive bring-a-plate night, this salad has been one of my top go-to’s since I first posted it. Going by your emails, it’s still probably THE most loved recipe on here (thank you, lovely readers!), and it makes me V happy to know that you’re still loving it as much as I do. It’s even one of my Dad’s favourites which, given the fact that it’s “just a bloody salad”, says a bit.
It’s simple and straightforward enough to whip up on a weeknight, but the strawberries and caramelised macadamias give it that extra touch of pizzazz, making it perfect for entertaining or when you’re on salad duty. The warm roasted chicken and generous chunks of pumpkin add heartiness and make it feel like a real meal, and together with the nuts and feta it’s deceivingly filling.
I’m a total sucker for anything that combines sweet and savoury (HELLOOOOO fig paste on double brie, honey on peanut butter, and my ultimate vice – maple syrup on fried chicken), and the marriage of savoury chicken and feta with sweet strawberries and maple-coated pumpkin and nuts in this salad is no exception, so when you curate a forkful that has just a little bit of everything, it really is a party in your mouth.
With just the right balance of sweet and savoury and a touch of tart, this very low-FODMAP salad will leave your tastebuds singing and your belly happy. If you’re after a side a salad or a vegetarian version, simply leave the chicken out. Vegans can omit the feta altogether or substitute with a nut-based feta, however because of the concentration of high FODMAP nuts (commonly cashews) in nut-based fetas, I have not come across one that is strictly low FODMAP.
This salad is best served while the pumpkin is still warm and caramelised, however it’s also great at room temp so don’t worry about being meticulous with timing. If you’re actually capable of controlling your portions and have leftovers, they make for a delicious lunch the next day!
Chicken and Maple-Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Strawberries and Caramelised Macadamias
- ½ roasted chicken (free range and organic if possible), shredded
- ¼ Jap pumpkin (approx 800g), cut into 1cm slices and then cut in half (skin on, seeds removed)
- 1 cup (130g) macadamias, halved
- 1 tbs + 3 tsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tbs melted coconut oil
- 200g leafy salad mix of choice, organic if possible
- ½ punnet cherry tomatoes (approx. 100g), halved
- 1 punnet strawberries (200g), sliced
- 5 spring onions, chopped (green part only)
- ¼ cup (35g) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- Small handful each fresh basil and flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- ½ tsp dried oregano leaves
- 100g goats curd or Danish feta, to serve (omit for vegan)
- Good quality extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), to dress
- Balsamic vinegar, to dress (optional)
- Sea salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 170*C and line a tray with baking paper. Place the macadamias and 3 tsp maple syrup in a small bowl and use a spoon to combine. Pour onto the tray and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden and caramelised. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
- Increase the oven temperature to 200*C and line one large tray (or two smaller trays) with baking paper. Place the pumpkin, olive oil and remaining maple syrup in a large bowl and toss to coat evenly.
- Arrange the pumpkin in a single layer on the lined tray and sprinkle with dried oregano and salt. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until tender and golden. When the pumpkin almost looks done, remove from the oven and sprinkle the pepitas over the top. Return to the oven for 3-5 more minutes or until the pepitas have toasted, then remove and set aside. If you’re using two trays, you may also want to swap their positions half way through to ensure even roasting. This salad works best when the veggies are a little on the ‘under’ side – still soft in the middle but caramelised and chewy around the edges. Don’t let them dry out too much as the delicious gooey maple will begin to burn!
- When ready to serve, arrange the salad leaves in a serving bowl or platter. Drizzle with olive oil and top with spring onions, fresh herbs, cherry tom’s, strawbs, pumpkin, shredded chicken, feta, macadamias and pepitas. Finish with an extra drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of dried oregano. Serve with balsamic vinegar on the side for those who want it – a tiny drizzle goes perfectly with the strawbs, basil and feta!