RECIPE: Salad of seasonal veg with labneh and toasted pumpkin seeds

Usher in the cold days ahead with a roasted seasonal vegetable salad by chef Dale Stevens. Photo Supplied.

Chef Dale Stevens draws his cooking inspiration from seasonal produce grown organically on the Avondale Wine Estate in PaarlFor Stevens, as the head chef of FABER restaurant on the estate, the 160-hectare biodynamic farm is a mere stone’s throw from his office. Whenever he is stuck or runs out of ideas for recipes, he takes a walk around the estate, actively looking for inspiration in the fresh produce.  

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He shares the recipe for a salad of seasonal roasted vegetables with a buffalo labneh. Labneh is yoghurt that is strained to the consistency of a soft cheese and is commonly used as a dip or spread. His technique is easy to follow, and the soulwarming rich kick you need to beat the cold weekend woes.   


100ml buffalo yogurt  

100g golden baby beetroots  

100g candy stripe baby beetroots  

100g purple baby beetroots  

1 medium sized butternut  

10g ground cinnamon  

10g castor sugar  

50g pumpkin seeds  

10ml soy sauce  

40ml olive oil  

100g watercress, washed  

Salt and pepper to taste  


  1. Place the buffalo yogurt in a sieve lined with cheese cloth. Store in fridge overnight, draining off most of the whey.  
  2. Once it has thickened up, add pinch of salt and set aside.  
  3. Preheat oven to 180°C.  
  4. Place baby beetroots in 3 separate baking trays (important to keep the three colours separate, as they tend to stain each other) and coat with 20ml olive oil, salt and pepper.  
  5. Wrap trays in tin foil and allow to roast at 180°C for 45 min, then remove from oven and allow to steam in tray for an additional 15 min. This will ensure the beetroots do not overcook. Peel and set aside. 

Pro tip: beetroots are cooked once skin can easily be peeled away.  

6. Peel the butternut and portion two “steaks”. Place the steaks in a baking tray, drizzle with 5ml olive oil, salt and pepper. 

7. Cover tray with tin foil and roast at 180°C for 30 min. Remove from oven and set aside. Dice the remaining butternut and drizzle with 8ml of olive oil, salt and pepper.  

8. Place diced and seasoned butternut in baking tray, cover with foil and roast at 180°C for 40 min.  

9. Once cooked, blend the butternut in a food processor or blender till smooth. Adjust seasoning accordingly.  

10. Toast the pumpkin seeds at 180°C for 12 min.  

11. Remove from oven and immediately coat with soy sauce, breaking seeds up with a wooden spoon to prevent clumps. Allow to cool and set aside.  


  1. Combine the castor sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, coat top and bottom of butternut steak in the mixture.  
  2. In a hot pan, roast the butternut steak on low-medium heat with 5ml olive oil, until both sides are golden brown.  
  3. Once desired colour is achieved, portion the butternut into bite sized pieces.  
  4. Toss the cooled baby beetroots in 5ml olive oil and adjust seasoning accordingly.  
  5. On a clean, flat plate, place a tablespoon of labneh in the top left corner and two tablespoons of butternut purée 
  6. Arrange the baby beetroots and the cubed butternut on the plate. Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds and finish off with watercress. 
  7. Serve and enjoy. 

READ: Failure was never an option for tenacious chef