We recently stumbled across this delicious roast pumpkin, feta and spinach salad and have since made it our top go-to lunch option for the last few weeks. It’s a beautiful blend of sour and salty flavours, and best of all.. it’s healthy! If you’re looking to omit the high sodium, leave feta out.. although it’s well worth the slight boost to your sodium and fat intake.
Step one – Peel and cube the pumpkin
Step two – Place pumpkin on a tray lined with baking paper, cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven (220 degrees celcius) until soft (roughly 30 minutes)
Step three – Allow to cool and refrigerate the pumpkin until you are ready to serve
Step four – Combine all ingredients of satisfactory quantities and season to taste
What are the benefits?
Spinach – Spinach offers a whole host of benefits, containing essential vitamins A, K, D and E just to begin with. Many don’t know that spinach also offers a decent Omega 3 fatty acid profile. We’ve discussed cancer fighting foods in a previous post, however, spinach also contains anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits. In a recent study surveying the effects of the body’s barrier against prostate cancer, of all vegetables examined only spinach showed significant progress in lessening the disease. The carotenoids found in spinach help prevent eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Pumpkin – A half cup of pumpkin contains only 40 calories making it the perfect lunch time snack. The seeds are a rich source of unsaturated fat, antioxidants, fiber and zinc. Pumpkin seeds can be lightly roasted and added to your salad if you wish to do so. Beta-carotene is another antioxidant prevalent in pumpkin, essentially Vitamin A which is great for glowing skin, good eyesight and our immune system. With 550mg per cup, pumpkin contains more potassium than any other fruit or vegetable. Adding it to your post-workout meal may accelerate muscle recovery time. Finally, pumpkin is high in potassium, necessary to keep out heart muscle working at the optimum level.
Balsamic Vinegar – An antioxidant found within balsamic vinegar is polyphenol which improves the immune system and safeguards against damage to cells. It also contains bioflovanoid which helps to fight immune deficiencies. It assists with bone health, increasing the absorption of minerals by the body – this includes calcium and magnesium. Balsamic vinegar increases the effectiveness of the digestive system, and offers a rich source of potassium, manganese, calcium and iron. It is low in fat, cholesterol and sodium offering a great alternative to processed salad dressings.
Walnuts – High in protein, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, oils and lecithin. Walnuts contain primarily polyunsaturated fats, alpha-linolenic acid and are cholesterol free. Walnuts provided 8 percent of your Vitamin B6 daily intake, they also contain folate and thiami. Both Omega 3 and Omega 6 are found in walnuts, these help the immune system function, as well as preventing blood clotting and blood disease. Amongst their ‘health’ affects, they also help promote strong hair as they contain Vitamin B7 which improves hair growth and reduces hair loss.
This dish can of course be prepared with ingredients of your liking. We recommend against including processed meats such as salami or bacon, as well as high fat dressings such as mayonnaise or Caesar dressing. If you are looking for a substitute to walnuts, almonds offer a slightly higher Vitamin E profile and have more magnesium. Cashews have more Vitamin E than almonds, however, lack in magnesium and have a higher fat profile. Brazil nuts offer higher doses of selenium which is linked to the prevention of prostate cancer.