A harvest kale salad packed with seasonal ingredients and topped off with a pumpkin seed oil dressing. Perfect for a weekday lunch or as a special appetizer for your Thanksgiving menu.
Ever feel like you’re in a salad rut? Or, do you have the preconceived notion that salads are BOR-ING?
I’ve been in your shoes. I used to love ordering salads out from restaurants but never liked to make them myself. I always felt like they were dull. Plain Jane status.
But long gone are the tired salad days. My secret to shaking up the salad bowl? Seasonal salads.
Varying my salads with what’s in season seems to do the trick to keep me interested. All Summer it was arugula and fresh berries. Lately, it’s apples, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin seed OIL.
What’s the deal with pumpkin seed oil, you ask?
Pumpkin seed oil is a type of unrefined plant oil. Unrefined means that the oil hasn’t been exposed to high temperatures or chemical solvents, which are typical processing methods used with refined oils like canola, vegetable, and pure/regular olive oil (not extra-virgin). This harsh processing is used to help increase the shelf-life of these oils but it also depletes their nutrients. Unrefined plant oils, like avocado, hemp, coconut, and pumpkin seed oil, are cold-pressed or mechanically extracted to avoid high heat and chemical treatment, which retains their nutrients, antioxidants, and inherent health benefits.
Pumpkin seed oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acid, ALA, and has a deep green hue. It also has a relatively low smoke point so you don’t want to heat this oil but its nutty flavor works great in salad dressings or as a finishing oil, drizzled over soups or vegetables. I store my pumpkin seed oil in the fridge to avoid any exposure to heat or light which can cause rancidity.
Because I don’t have enough pumpkin in my life right now (note: one can never have too much pumpkin), I’ve been using pumpkin seed oil as my go-to salad dressing this fall.
I also mentioned recently that I hate food waste, right? So I decided to make some “Brussels sprout croutons” from the leftover trimmed outer leaves from another dish with roasted Brussels sprouts that I made. It definitely added a nice salty crunch to the salad and contrasted the sweet apples pretty well.
- Trimmed outer leaves from 1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts
- 1 small bunch Lacinato Kale, washed, stems removed, and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
- 1 apple, sliced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seed oil
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss Brussels sprout leaves with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until browned and crispy.
- In a medium sized bowl, add kale, lemon juice, pumpkin seed oil, salt and pepper.
- Massage kale using hands for about 2 minutes, or until leaves have wilted down.
- Add walnuts, pepitas and apple. Toss to combine.
- Top salads off with crispy Brussels sprout leaves before serving.
To toast walnuts, add walnuts to a small frying pan over medium heat. Let cook for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant, tossing occasionally.
Tell me, have you ever tried or heard of pumpkin seed oil? What’s been your go-to salad this season? Check out the recipes below for more seasonal salad ideas: