Americans tend to think of “salad” as a “diet food” or an obligatory “healthy food” you eat to lose weight. More often than not, salads resemble dessert, especially when you add candied nuts, dried cranberries (or any kind of dried fruit), cheese, croutons and creamy, sugar-infused dressings or fruity vinaigrettes. If you eat your salad out (restaurant, deli, take-out / carry-out), you can be sure that the greens are conventionally grown, unless they specify “organic”.
When you use fresh, seasonal ingredients, including organic salad greens, for a salad, it stands on its own as a meal that satisfies.
Bagged salad greens from the supermarket can taste “dead”. On the other hand, organic, locally grown greens from a farmers’ market or farm market are alive with flavor and texture. They are also a rich source of nutrients that your body craves.
This Autumn Harvest salad includes Delicata squash, a type of winter squash. You can eat the skin—no peeling required! A lower carb, starchy vegetable, it is a good source of fiber and immune-boosting vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants, like beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Roasted delicata squash has a caramelized natural sweetness.
Toasted pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of immune-boosting zinc and other minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. Regular consumption of pumpkin seeds is associated with reduced risk of certain cancers, including prostate and breast cancers.1, 2 A large study of post-menopausal women in Germany also found that eating pumpkin seeds was associated with reduced risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.3
D’Anjou pears are relatively low sugar, a nice source of fiber and helpful for digestion. In addition to the roasted squash, it gives a hint of natural sweetness.
Scallions are in the allium family. In addition to being a rich source of vitamins and minerals and a beneficial digestive aid, they are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants and sulfur compounds.
This is a satisfying meal in and of itself.
Autumn Harvest Salad
1 bag of organic, ideally local, mixed greens, wash and spin dry
1 bag of organic, ideally local, arugula, wash and spin dry
1-1/2 cups roasted Delicata squash, sliced
*See recipe for Roasted Delicata Squash
1/2 D’Anjou pear, cored and thinly sliced
1 bunch organic scallions, green and pale green parts, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
Celtic sea salt, to taste
For the pumpkin seeds: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a heavyweight cookie sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Spread raw pumpkin seeds evenly on the cookie sheet. Place on middle rack in oven and toast apx. 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Take care not to burn the seeds. Remove cookie sheet from oven and transfer pumpkin seeds to a plate or bowl to cool.
Place all ingredients in a large salad bowl. Drizzle vinaigrette over greens and toss well. Season with Celtic sea salt, to taste.
1 Nutrition and Cancer. Vol 65, 2103, Issue 5
2 International Journal of Oncology. 2011 Jun;38(6):1675-82.
3 Nutrition and Cancer. 2012;64(5):652-65.