Pumpkin and Pesto Warm Salad with Meneri

August 9, 2014

Hello there, hope you’ve been having a lovely week, I’ve been very happy this week as Colombo has finally got it’s own health food shop!! HOORAA! More and more items will be added, and this week, free range chickens have arrived, I am so looking forward to a roast chicken! Good Market Shop is opposite the Race Course and open from 8am to 8pm every day.

One of the many things I bought from there was Meneri, which after some searching, I have worked out it is also called Common Millet, for those of you who are gluten intolerant, millet is gluten free and nutritious, it has a low glycemic load of 21, which is good news for everyone but especially diabetics. If your interested in the nutritional comparison between Quinoa and Millet, follow the links.

Quinoa is nutritionally better, and if you can get hold of it, do, but currently in Sri Lanka unless you want to spend a lot of money, you are better off (literally!!) to substitute millet for quinoa.

Warm Pumpkin and Pesto Salad – for a generous two.


400g Pumpkin cut into cubes
150g onion cut into chunks ( I cut mine into 6 wedges)
150g beetroot cut into segments
Coconut oil
Sprinkle of cinnamon
100g Meneri (Common Millet)
300ml Stock
90g Feta Cheese
For the Pesto:
25g cashew or almonds
1 crushed garlic clove
Juice from 1 lime
40g basil
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil


Baking tray
Big Bowl


First of all, heat the oven to 190 degrees. Get your chopped pumpkin, onion and beetroot and place in a baking tray, sprinkle on salt, pepper and cinnamon powder and drizzle with coconut oil – I would say about 2 tablespoons.


Time saving tip – buy organic and no need to peel the vegetables! Place in the oven and cook for about 35-45minutes until soft. (I use my gas oven for this and it works better when covered with foil)

Whilst the vegetables are roasting, first of all rinse your meneri, the first time I cooked it I didn’t and we ended up with rather a lot of grit in the meal, so I definitely recommend you do this! Place in a saucepan with the stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low and let this simmer for 5-10 minutes until all the stock is absorbed and the meneri is fluffy.

Next chop your feta cheese into chunks and prepare the pesto. As Parmesan cheese is very expensive in Sri Lanka I make my pesto without it and it tastes just as good.

Into a grinder place your 25g of nuts, I normally use almonds but cashews work just as well, grind them for 30 seconds or so to a fine powder, then add the crushed garlic glove, juice from one lime, 40g basil, a good pinch of salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once all in the grinder I normally leave it there until everything is ready and then whizz it up! It will need blending for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just check and make sure it’s reasonably smooth.


Here are all the components good to go!

To serve, place the millet in a big bowl, then the roasted vegetables on top, sprinkle on the feta and top with the pesto!


Doesn’t it look pretty? Before serving, mix it all together and plate up.


If you have any left over, this is also perfect cold for a lunch to take to work or a picnic! I’ve made a batch to take on a road trip with me today down to Galle.

Hope you enjoy trying out this Pumpkin and pesto salad, it seems most of my recipes to revolve around pumpkin and butternuts eh? If you hadn’t guessed, I do love them!!

Take care, and see you around, maybe at the Good Market Shop!!

Rebecca x




  • Emmanuelle gunaratne

    April 18, 2015 at 15:03

    Thank you Rebecca for sharing your healthy recipes… Generally Sri Lankan have lotus seeds just cooked as rice and served separately among rice and curry dishes… Emmanuelle

    1. Rebecca

      May 4, 2015 at 12:46

      Thanks Emmanuelle, I shall give them a go!

  • Farina

    August 10, 2014 at 19:15

    Hi Rebecca

    I bought a packet of lotus seeds from the Good Market shop after reading about it in a magazine. Have you cooked with this before? I’d be grateful for any suggestions as I haven’t cooked it yet.


    1. Rebecca

      August 10, 2014 at 20:20

      Hi Farina,
      Funnily enough, I have just come back from the Good Market shop with a packet of lotus seeds too! I haven’t cooked with them before yet either. I’ve done a little research just now, when you look at pictures of lotus seeds they are much bigger than the ones in the packed so I’m not exactly sure these are the same (the pictures on google, the seed heads are about 1cm big?) Unless these are the seeds inside the seeds, bit of a mystery to me at the moment. I shall speak with Amanda about it as she should be able to enlighten me and get back to you, once I know how to cook I shall find a recipe to make with it.
      Take care and thanks for visiting Knit 1 Tea 1.
      Rebecca x

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