Vegetarian salad recipes for sharing from Hetty McKinnon's Neighbourhood

'Neighbourghood': Chermoula roasted orange and vegetables with chickpeas and cous cous.
'Neighbourghood': Chermoula roasted orange and vegetables with chickpeas and cous cous. Photo: Luisa Brimble
  • More great vegetarian salad recipes (click here)

Neighbourhood, Hetty McKinnon: Salads, Sweets and Stories from Home and Abroad, Plum, $39.99

Neighbourhood is the much-anticipated follow-up to McKinnon's breakthrough 2013 self-published Community: Salad Recipes from Arthur Street Kitchen, which in turn was based on her small but flourishing business of cooking up hearty, vegetarian fare which she delivered (by bike) to those living near her home in Arthur Street in Sydney's Surry Hills. Neighbourhood traces McKinnon's next chapter, upending her partner and three young children for a life of travel and adventure, settling in 2015 in Brooklyn, New York. Each chapter pays delicious homage to a continent in salad form. Jane Holroyd

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 Photo: Supplied

Chermoula roasted orange and vegetables with chickpeas and cous cous ​

Orange is the new black? In this salad, orange is definitely the hottest colour around. Butternut pumpkin,carrots, sweet potatoes and orange capsicums (though yellow are fine if you can't find orange!) are rubbed and roasted in chermoula, a heady spice rub commonly used in Tunisian, Moroccan, Libyan and Algerian cooking. Chermoula is classically served with couscous and chickpeas, as it is here in this salad. Make the chermoula in advance and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

For gluten free, use quinoa or millet in place of couscous
​For vegans, omit honey

185g couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
375ml (1½ cups) boiling vegetable stock or broth
1 small butternut pumpkin (about 800 g),peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
2 sweet potatoes (about 500 g), cut into 2 cm chunks
3 carrots (about 350g), peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
3 orange capsicums, deseeded and cut into 2 cm chunks
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons honey
juice of ½ lemon
500g cooked chickpeas(about 2 cans), drained
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
½ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
sea salt and black pepper

For chermoula

2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
½ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

To make the chermoula, using a mortar and pestle, pound together the garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Whisk in the olive oil until well combined.

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Stir in the parsley and coriander. Alternatively, you can use a food processor to mix together all the ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 120˚C.

Put the couscous into a shallow bowl, along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir through to coat the grains. Pour over the vegetable stock and stir well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes. Uncover, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and stir together, then cover with foil and heat in the oven for five minutes. Remove from the oven and fluff up the grains with a fork.

Increase the oven temperature to 200°C.

Place the pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, capsicum and tomatoes on a large baking tray. Add enough of the chermoula to generously coat the vegetables (keeping the remainder aside for later) and rub it into the vegetables with your hands. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and roast for 30–35 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven, immediately drizzle over the honey and squeeze over the lemon juice.

To serve, add the remaining chermoula to the vegetables and stir through. Combine the vegetables with the couscous, chickpeas and herbs. Season with salt and pepper and top with the almonds.

Serves 4-6

Hetty McKinnon's seedy soba noodles.

Hetty McKinnon's seedy soba noodles. PanMacMillan (Plum)

Seedy soba noodles with Asian herbs

Soba, with its robust texture and hearty buckwheat flavour, is the consummate salad noodle. While I religiously enjoy most of my salads at room temperature, I like my soba chilled. This salad was created for the love of texture: smooth, silky cold noodles loaded up with whatever seeds you can think of and a host of Asian herbs that really take centre stage.

500g soba noodles (or mung bean vermicelli or rice noodles)
1–2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup coriander leaves
½ cup Thai basil or regular basil leaves
½ cup Vietnamese mint or regular mint leaves
½ cup finely chopped Chinese shallots
1 cup sunflower seeds, toasted 
1 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
½ cup white sesame seeds, toasted
½ cup black sesame seeds
3 tablespoons nigella seeds
sea salt and white pepper

For sweet ginger dressing

3 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
sea salt and white pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the soba noodles and cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, until just tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water.

Place the noodles in the fridge for at least 1 hour to chill.

To make the dressing, mix together the ginger and garlic in a small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk everything together. Season with salt and white pepper.

To serve, place the chilled noodles in a large bowl and loosen them up with the olive oil (any variety is okay). Roughly chop or tear the herb leaves and add them to the bowl with the Chinese shallots, seeds and dressing.

Toss gently to combine and season with salt and white pepper.

Serves 4-6


This is an edited extract from Neighbourhood, Hetty McKinnon: Salads, Sweets and Stories from Home and Abroad, Plum, $39.99. For more information see the publisher's website.