Maranui Surf Club Salad Recipe

Inspired by a visit to the Maranui Surf Club in Wellington, New Zealand. This chickpea salad recipe combines a big bowl of roasted winter squash, garbanzo beans, cilantro, and red onions with a quick coconut curry dressing.

Maranui Surf Club Salad

One of my more memorable meals in New Zealand took place at the Maranui Surf Life Saving Club in Wellington. Wellington sits at the base of the North Island on the expansive and picturesque Lyall Bay. On a clear day you can see the South Island and all the miles and miles of rich turquoise-colored water in between. I've never seen water quite like it - a seductive, alluring, tease of a blue making you crave a swim. Don't kid yourself, the water is cold enough (in December) to chill the marrow in your bones.

The Maranui Surf Life Saving Club sits perched on a pleasant stretch of beach in the belly of the bay. My little friend Jasper likes to collect beach glass near the boxy building where he informed me the pickings are good. Lots of blue and green glass, and the occasional (and most coveted) heart-shaped beach glass.

The waters off the southern tip of the North Island are no joke and the club has been providing surf life saving services for nearly 100 years. Big waves and big surf are commonplace here and the local North-to-South Island ferry is endearingly referred to as the vomit comet. Nothing demonstrates the big waters better than this clip of a freighter leaving Wellington as it heads into the Cook Straight.

A quirky café has taken up residence (relatively recently) in the surf club, providing locals with good food, eclectic 40's-era surf club décor, and epic panoramic views. I loved it the minute I set foot inside. They serve a Kiwi-fied version of café food with a decidedly natural food twist. While you could certainly order eggs, soup, burgers or a sandwich - their "big bowls" were the thing that caught my attention. I ordered a roast pumpkin, chickpea, and red onion bowl that I am going to riff off of for today's recipe. I could have gone back every day for a week to taste my way through all the big bowls. They had a green tea soba noodle bowl with sesame and fresh coriander, they also had a barley salad with green beans, peanuts, and cherry tomatoes. All looked delicious.

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In this version of the chickpea salad bowl I used acorn squash in place of the pumpkin. As I mention down below, I believe they used dill and parsley where I'm going to use cilantro. I threw together a quick coconut curry dressing and did a quick pickle of chopped red onions in a bit of lime juice to add some tang and acidity and cut the sweetness of the squash.

The only time consuming aspect to this recipe is cutting the squash. Beyond that, it is a recipe that takes just a few minutes of active prep time. Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and regular potatoes are easier to cut into cubes and are fine substitutions.

If you are ever in Wellington be sure to visit - it is a visually interesting, historically important, kid-friendly landmark that serves up a good meal.

More pictures of the café on the Maranui Surf Life Saving Club website.

Maranui Surf Life Saving Cafe
Lyall Bay, Wellington
Ph: (04) 387 2829

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Maranui Surf Club Salad

The salad I remember from Maranui used pumpkin - feel free to use your favorite winter squash. I used acorn squash this time around. You could also try sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, or butternut squash. The herbs they used were dill and parsley. I'm using cilantro instead - but for the cilantro haters out there, feel free to use the former.

1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
Juice from two juicy limes
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon red curry paste
3 cups winter squash, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
splash of extra-virgin olive oil
2 cans garbanzo beans (or equivalent)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
fine grain sea salt

Preheat oven to 375.

In a small bowl combine the chopped red onion, lime juice and a generous pinch of salt. Stir and set aside.

In another small bowl whisk (or handblend) the coconut milk and curry paste together (add more curry paste if you like more heat/flavor). Season with a pinch of salt and set aside.

Toss the squash with a splash of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and arrange on a baking sheet. Separately, in a casserole dish, toss the garbanzo beans with the coconut-curry milk. Place both the squash and beans in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Toss the squash once after about ten minutes to get browning on multiple sides.

Remove the beans and squash from the oven. Add about half of the reserved red onions and most of the cilantro to the beans and toss. Taste and add a bit more salt if needed. Add the squash and toss very gently - I like my squash to stay intact w/ some structure so I'm careful. Serve in bowls or on a platter garnished with the remaining red onions and cilantro.

Serves 4.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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I have been in a hospital for a week, and getting out tomorow. First thing I’ll do. Try it!!!.


I made this last night and Holy Jumping Jeebus on a bicycle, it is great! I too kicked up the curry paste and added some lime zest to balance. Mm-mm.


Oh so good! Beyond words when the flavors send you with every bite. Yum!


hi, i posted before after trying this with pumpkin…well last night the store was out of kabocha so i used sweet potatoes, and though i was worried that the visual wouldn’t be as pleasing, the purple skins were lovely and the taste may’ve been even more outstanding. i kicked up the curry paste too and the flavor was perfect. can’t wait to make this in so many variations for springtime parties! thanks again 🙂


Wondering if anybody has a link to a photo or a site that has information about these special squash?

Susan G.

great recipe, i stumbled upon it whilst looking for a recipe for my boss. He had requested a squash salad and event though i’ve been cooking for 10 years beleieve it or not it’s not something i’ve ever made! I find blogs are an excellent source of recipes, much better than websites that just churn out volume, blogs actually care about impressing their readers! I am a private chef and my boss happens to be one of the 10 richest men in the world, he loved the salad and am sure he’ll be asking for it again!!

Niall Harbison

the food is fab. even my three kids love it!!!!


This looks really good – I never knew surfers ate so well!


I was inspired by this tasty, healthy, and EASY-looking recipe to cook actual food last night, for the first time in weeks. My end product wasn’t quite as pretty as yours [I used sweet potato, in larger chunks, and it “mushed” a little more than I think squash might have] but it was dang tasty and will make an excellent lunch today. Thanks for posting this!


This sounds like a delicious salad. I like the coconut flavored dressing. Yummy, yummy.
Take care,

Monika Korngut

Ah, this is a “big bowl” of goodness!

Susan from Food "Blogga"

yummy tried at and its great


Danielle, they give out membership cards. You should definetely go, the salads are delicious. I like the chick pea salad with whole caper berries.


hi heidi, i always look at your recipes and drool, but ingredients are hard to find where i live (in japan) so i don’t often get around to making any of them. but when i saw this picture i HAD to try it immediately! and even with the changes i made (used a mix of black beans and white, mix of lemon juice and mystery-japanese-orange-citrus-fruit juice) this was delicious. i’ve been eating it by itself as well as stuffing it into chicken burritos for lunch. i love pumpkin and this is a great and beautiful way to serve it. thanks!


Wow…that looks yummy…
Thanks for sharing. Now, I know what to make for dinner.


Heidi, do you buy canned coconut milk or do you make your own?


I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and am super impressed. This recipe looks wonderful – can’t wait to try this tonight! Plus, your photo of it is beautiful.


Oh, YUM. I am going to have to try this.

the veggie paparazzo

That sounds like a fantastic salad! With a little butternut and sweet potato for me, this would be a great side to have on the table!


Heidi, This looks a great place,but it seems to be for members only?
We’ll be visiting NZ from Edinburgh Scotland as my daughter is getting married there in December (she’s based here, fancied a different sort of wedding). So more reports on your visit please!!

Danielle Ellis

Your pictures are beautiful. I never thought of using squash in a salad, and coconut milk as a dressing. Impressive combination.
Will be returning….

Married to a Desi . com

Hi! I’m a fellow blogger and fan with a crafty bent. I got the idea that I wanted to do a post featuring the work of some of my favorite other crafters/artisans/bloggers/etc (maybe even make a weekly habit of it) and, well, I like to include your blog.
It’s nothing to get excited about as I’m pretty sure my regular readers could be counted on one hand, but if you wouldn’t mind I’d like to use one or two of your recipie pictures (with a link back to said recipies, of course). I was hoping to cook my own things and photograph them, but my cat has been sick recently and is costing me about $2000, so I’m surviving on bread and canned soup and living vicariously through cooking blogs (of which yours is a spectacular example). I don’t mean to bother you, but I don’t want to take your pictures without permission either- it’d be rude. 🙂


Hi Heidi,
picture of the clubhouse is brilliant!! quaint & yet solid!! last summer i actually went around several places along the northern beaches here in Sydney clicking pictures of “surfy” stuff!! distressed old verandahs in blues and whites with surfboards parked against the walls peeling with paint, of owner run beach cafes with little buoys, anchors and bells as windchimes ….. ahhhh!
i m going to try this salad with pumpkin, got a “Jap” from the local market and have already tried ‘pumpkin n bacon lasagna’, ‘pumpkin n prawn curry’ and some pumpkin soup for my first born … gosh the pumpkin is big 🙂


Hi Heidi 🙂 This posting brings back great memories for me…
Jeff and I went to New Zealand and Australia last year in April (Fall in NZ & AUS) and were fascinated at how obsessed the Aussies and Kiwis were with pumpkin–it was on every menu, in every cooking magazine, and on all the cooking shows we happend to find on TV. I noticed that what they were calling “pumpkin” looked quite different from the round, orange variety that we get in the states: they were greyish-white and flatter on both the top and bottom.
Once we got back to the Bay Area, I searched for and found (at the Berkeley Bowl) the exact pumpkin variety (aka “Hubbard Squash”) I’d seen in AUS and NZ. For kicks, Jeff and I decided to do a blind taste test with the Hubbard Squash against butternut squash, sugar pie pumpkins, the larger orange pumpkins, and acorn squash. Well, the Hubbard Squash completely blew the others out of the water! They are simply divine–rich in TRUE pumpkin flavor, velvety smooth, and not watery or fibrous at all.
Needless to say, we are now just as obsessed with the Hubbard Squash as the Aussies and Kiwis are and I can’t wait to try this recipe with my newfound friend, Mr. Hubbard!


What a great picture of the old clubhouse! It always make me happy to see old building survive, and even happier when they house a cafe!


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