•• Warm Wintery Pumpkin Salad ••

For me, as a European, it’s really weird to have winter in summer. I mean, May, June, July, August used to be my favourite months of the year as they were warm, sunny and full of happy times at the lakes, or trips to exciting new places by the sea.

Now, that I live in Australia, it’s the opposite. We have winter now. Not that I would call it that…it’s more like autumn in Austria. All the frangipani trees have lost their leaves or are still loosing them, and the beach is almost empty, except for a bunch of surfers who don’t mind the cold outside – the water is still nice as my hubby would say… When I say cold I mean around 10-20°C…that’s what the Aussies call winter. There is no snow or foggy days, no, there is sunshine, lot’s of sunshine and sometimes a few rainy days and wind. The problem is that as soon as the sun goes down it gets cold and the nights, I tell you, they can be a bit chilly. The houses are not built for this time of the year–don’t ask me why…I have no idea! They don’t have central heating like almost all of the houses in Europe have and their windows are thin…omg they are really thin.

Anyway, it’s beautiful here and it’s nice that Bondi Beach is empty and quiet for a few months of the year.

Now, I looove to eat salad, nothing better than a fresh & healthy bowl full of vitamins and nutrients on a warm sunny day. But what if it’s cold and rainy and you feel more like a warm, filling dish but still craving the sourness and freshness of a salad? That’s when my warm pumpkin salad is the perfect choice for you!

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Ingredients: (Serves 4)

  • 1 small hokkaido pumpkin, pitted and cut into pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, pitted and cut into slices
  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 handful of cocktail tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped and roasted
  • 1 block of feta cheese (or goats cheese), crumbled
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place the pumpkin, carrots and bell pepper on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast veggies for about 25 minutes or until tender
  2. Meanwhile heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, add the pumpkin seeds, walnuts and garlic and cook until golden.
  3. Transfer the roasted veggies, tomatoes and feta cheese to a bowl, add the lemon juice, a bit of olive oil, and salt and pepper and mix thoroughly until well combined.
  4. Serve with the roasted nuts and seeds on top.

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF PUMPKIN:

  • Weight loss (Pumpkin is rich in fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer)
  • Low calorie (Pumpkin may be filling, but it’s also a low-calorie superstar)
  • Sharper vision (good source of beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for eye health)
  • Better immunity (Vitamin A also helps your body fight infections, viruses and infectious diseases. Pumpkin oil helps fight various bacterial and fungal infections. Vitamin C may help you recover from colds faster)
  • Younger looking skin (beta-carotene helps protect us from the sun’s wrinkle causing UV rays)
  • Lower cancer risk (Research shows people who eat a beta-carotene-rich diet may have lower risk of some types of cancer, including prostate and lung cancer. Vitamins A and C are both antioxidants, and they act as a shield for your cells against cancer-causing free radicals)
  • It may help treat diabetes (In scientific tests, pumpkin has been shown to reduce blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance and increase the amount of insulin the body produces)

 

 

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