Pumpkin, Salmon and Pumpkin Seed Salad
If pumpkin is not in season, butternut squash might be and makes a good alternative with a great taste and a similar nutritional profile.
Pumpkin Seed Salad Ingredients for 2
- A small pumpkin or half a medium sized one with the seeds removed (any remainder can be kept in the fridge and used for a healthy soup within a couple of days).
- A fillet of wild salmon or fresh mushrooms for a vegetarian option. Wild salmon is far superior to the farmed version if you can get it. You can add a couple of mushrooms with the salmon for extra flavor and health benefits if you like both.
- Mixed organic salad leaves, washed.
I like rocket, spinach and watercress for this pumpkin seed salad recipe. These green superfoods have a great flavor and are very healthy, but unfortunately are also usually grown with a significant pesticide load. You can wash them with veggie wash or in warm water with a splash of apple cider vinegar, but personally I’d rather spend a little more on organic here.
- Around a quarter of a cup of raw pumpkin seeds. Crushed or chopped brazil nuts are good replacement if you don’t have them and pine nuts or cashews would also work, but pumpkin seeds are healthier and taste great.
- A cup of cherry tomatoes, cut into halves.
- A tablespoon of organic extra virgin coconut oil.
The medium chain fatty acids in coconut and its stable structure make coconut oil one of the most healthy oils you can cook with. This is one type of fat you definitely want in your diet. Unlike most common vegetable oils, such as sunflower, corn and soybean oil, that can have an inflammatory effect on your body, coconut oil, along with avocado oil for high temperature cooking, are the healthiest cooking oils to have in your kitchen.
- Crushed garlic, cracked pepper and Himalayan crystal salt to taste.
Himalayan pink crystal salt, with its varied mineral content and ancient unpolluted origins, is, in my opinion, the best true salt available. Standard sodium chloride with questionable processing and stripped of other minerals shouldn’t be considered real salt.
How to Make Warm Pumpkin Salad with Pumpkin Seeds
First cut up into strips and steam your pumpkin, as detailed in the page on cooking pumpkins for maximum nutrition.
While it’s cooking, dice up your mushrooms so they’ll cook relatively quickly. Salmon fillets are probably best flaked after the lightest of fryings.
When the steamed pumpkin is ready, take it off the steamer and put it on your chopping board to cool for a few minutes (it tends to hold its heat for quite a while).
Heat the coconut oil on medium heat in a frying pan and gently cook your mushrooms in the coconut oil.
Salmon needs little cooking and I preferred to fry a thin fillet lightly in coconut oil with the lid on for just a short period on both sides. Once done, the salmon can then be flaked off over the salad in bite-sized portions.
While the mushroom and salmon are cooking, transfer the rinsed salad leaves and cherry tomatoes into a serving bowl.
Now slightly cooled, it should be a little easier to remove the skin from the pumpkin strips on your chopping board. Scoop them out and gently chop the steamed strips into your desired size (around an inch in length works for me).
When the salmon looks just about done, add the pumpkin seeds, crushed garlic, crystal salt and cracked pepper and stir in briefly on a low heat. To keep as many nutrients as possible in the garlic and pumpkin seeds you really only wanted warm them up rather than fry them until brown.
Once the salmon and pumpkin seeds blend is ready spoon them out and onto the salad leaves. Gently toss and cover the serving bowl with a plate to retain the heat.
For a final step that really brings out the flavor in the steamed pumpkin, add a little more coconut oil if needed and transfer the chopped pumpkin strips to the same frying pan used for the salmon and mushrooms.
Lightly fry on a low heat for just around a minute, gently turning occasionally to infuse more of the garlic, coconut flavor into it. Once they are done, spoon the pumpkin into the serving bowl with the salmon and pumpkin seeds and carefully toss the salad again to mix all of the ingredients well.
Serve immediately. I hope you enjoy it.
Photo credit with thanks: Simon Blackley