Today’s salad is an ode to the Fall season, and shines with simplicity and flavor.
Choosing to buy local is a great way to get the best your region has to offer that’s in season. You can support your local farmer or farmer’s market, food co-op or CSA (community supported agriculture).
Choosing foods when they’re in season can be really budget-friendly and great for your health, as they tend to be less expensive, more nutrient dense, and full of flavor than food consumed out of season.
Eating a wide variety of colorful produce that shifts as the year progresses ensures your body gets a solid rotation of all the vitamins and minerals Mother Nature has to offer.
The base of this salad can be used in a number of ways. You can prep this ahead of time, and then grill or bake a piece of fish, some chicken, or a little tempeh to throw on it for a fast, easy meal full of nutritional benefits.
- The butternut squash is a complex carbohydrate high in fiber and loaded with vitamins A, C, E, and B vitamins, as well as minerals like calcium, zinc, and magnesium that will give you lasting energy.
- Add in pomegranate seeds, known as arils, and you get tons of antioxidants, more fiber, vitamins A, C, and some B vitamins, plus additional calcium, potassium, and iron – all amazing for healthy skin, a strong immune system and a healthy metabolism.
- Pumpkin seeds, sometimes called pepitas, are rich in antioxidants, iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin K., and they bring solid doses of protein and healthy fats to the dish.
- And of course using a base of dark, leafy greens ensures your body gets a variety of fiber, micronutrients and phytochemicals, which of course give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to promote both healthy body maintenance and muscle growth.
The items in today’s recipe are in season right now where I live, which is why I chose them.
I know it might be different where you are (or when you’re reading this), so feel free to improvise your ingredients, and share what you’re doing in the comments below!
Harvester Fall Salad
Yield: 4 servings
You will need: blender or food processor, measuring spoons, measuring cups, baking sheet, mixing bowl, salad bowl
- 3 cups mixed greens (option to use just spinach or just kale)
- 1 cup roasted butternut squash, chunked (you can cook this yourself – method below, or buy frozen squash which usually comes cubed)
- 1 cup pomegranate arils or 1/2 pomegranate, seeded (depending on what you can find)
- 1/4-1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- Protein source like shredded or baked chicken, fish or tempeh (optional)
Creamy Cashew Dressing
- ½ cup cashew pieces, raw and unsalted
- ½ cup water (more if necessary)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp honey
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ lemon, juice of
Instructions follow that include prepping your squash – for a shortcut you can buy frozen diced squash, follow cooking directions on the bag and optionally skip to step 4 and finish it in the oven briefly.
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Place squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste and mix to evenly coat.
3. Bake for 15 minutes then remove from oven and toss.
4. Return to oven and bake until tender, about 10 minutes longer. Allow it to cool for several minutes before adding to salad.
5. In a large salad bowl toss together greens, squash, pumpkin seeds, and the pomegranate arils.
6. Drizzle with the desired amount of dressing and gently toss. Serve immediately.
1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and let set for 5 min. (to let cashews soften).
2. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender) blend until completely combined.
3. Store separately until serving.
I can’t wait to hear what makes it into YOUR Harvester Salad! Be sure to drop me a line and let me know!
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- Brown, Mary Jane. “Top 11 Science-Based Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds.” Healthline. June 12, 2016. Web. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds
- Shubrook, N. “The health benefits of butternut squash.” BBC Good Food. December 4, 2017. Web. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-butternut-squash.
- Shubrook, N. “The health benefits of pomegranate.” BBC Good Food. July 4, 2018. Web. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-pomegranate