I leave the skin on my pumpkin. I also leave the seeds. Feel free to remove if it's not for you – I just love the gnarly textural goodness and flavour they provide. It also helps the pumpkin keep its shape while it roasts. This salad is a make-ahead winner. You can add everything except the spinach and flaked almonds, reserving these until you are ready to serve.
500g Japanese pumpkin, cut into even-sized wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
250g Israeli cous cous
¾-1 cup excellent quality pesto (or make your own using my basil and lemon pesto recipe)
250g green beans, trimmed, blanched and refreshed
2 cups spinach leaves
½-¾ cup flaked almonds, toasted
1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional).
2. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Add the pumpkin then pour over the olive oil and maple syrup, using your hands to ensure the pumpkin pieces are coated. Roast for 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is caramelising on the edges and cooked through but still holding shape. If your pumpkin is taking on too much colour too quickly, cover with foil and continue to cook, removing the foil for the last few minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into bite-sized pieces.
3. Cook the Israeli cous cous according to packet instructions. Strain and pour immediately into a large bowl. Slowly add the pesto and using a couple of spoons, toss the cous cous pearls until they are evenly coated. The aim is to coat it, not drown it, so after you've added the initial ¾ cup of pesto, add the additional ¼ cup slowly, if necessary. Add the pumpkin pieces and the beans and season generously with salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss through the spinach leaves and the flaked almonds.