This salad is earthy, nutty, with a touch of sweetness from the orange dressing. It’s refreshing, hearty yet light. It’s wonderful as a main dish with the addition of a protein of choice or as a side. I’ve garnished mine with pumpkin and sesame seeds, but any nut or seed will do. I typically have toasted seeds/nuts on hand - but, if you don’t, simply soak and toast them during the prep of the salad.
To toast the seeds on the stove top, use a stainless steel pan. Turn the heat to medium-high. Drain the seeds (which have been soaking for a few hours). Toast one variety at a time. Add the pumpkin seeds to the hot pan. The water will sizzle and the seeds will stick a bit. With a wooden spatula keep the seeds moving continuously (this avoids uneven toasting). Slowly the seeds will dry out, plump up, tan, and lastly will start to pop. Once they start popping, pour into a bowl and set to the side. All said and done, the process takes about 5-7 minutes. Although toasting the sesame seeds is a very similar process, they will take a shorter amount of time to toast and will not stick to the pan.
All the vegetables in this dish are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant rich, anti-cancerous and promote optimal healthy across body systems and functions.
Winter squashes are rich in beta-carotenes, vitamins B6, B3, K, folate, potassium, and manganese. They help to regulate blood sugar and support gut bacteria via inulin-regulating properties.
Radishes are especially wonderful because they promote bile production which supports healthy digestion and detoxification in the liver. They benefit multiple organs including the liver, gallbladder, lungs, and digestive tract.
Asparagus is hailed for its nutrient density (rich in B vitamins, sulfur, chromium, selenium, Vitamins E, K, phosphorus, zinc) and glutathione content. Glutathione is a potent antioxidant compound found in food and made in the body. It helps to keep oxidation at bay. An abundance of the stuff is correlated with good health and lower risk of illness and disease.
Onions are rich in polyphenols, a family of antioxidants, biotin, sulfur, and potassium. They are known to increase optimal red blood cell function, support a healthy immune system, and aid in the detoxification process.
1/2 kabocha squash, I typically roast the whole squash and enjoy the other 1/2 later
1 cup onion variety, I’ve chosen a few kinds of spring onion found at the farmer’s market
1/2 bunch of asparagus
1/2 bunch radishes, any variety
A few handfuls of lettuce/greens, I’ve chosen spinach and green leaf lettuce
2 tbsp oil (coconut or ghee)
Top of the spring onion
1/4 cup seeds and/or nuts
A few raw radishes thinly sliced
1/2 cup orange juice, I used mandarin oranges, but any variety will work
1 tbsp ginger grated and juiced
2 tbsp good olive oil
A generous pinch of salt
1 garlic cloved minced
Black pepper, optional
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 60 minutes | Oven temp: 350° | Serves: 2 as a main
1. Preheat oven
2. Prepare vegetables for roasting. Cut kabocha squash into 1 1/2 inch slices: with a sharp knife cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, then place it skin side up, proceed to chop your slices. In a bowl mix melted oil (coconut or ghee), cinnamon, salt, and coat the squash thoroughly. Place on a baking sheet. Slice the radishes and onions in half (top to bottom); chop the bottom ends off the asparagus. Place in baking glassware, drizzle with oil and a generous pinch of salt.
Each of these vegetables will roast for different time. The kabocha squash will roast for about 45 minutes to an hour; the onions for 30, radishes for 10-15, the asparagus for 5. Toss each vegetable every 5-10 minutes or so. All, except the squash, should be tender but still have a crispness or crunch to them.
3. Make the salad dressing. In a small sauce pan heat up the orange juice. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until it has reduced to about half the volume, or 1/4 cup. The juice will thicken and the flavors will become concentrated. Yum! Put in a bowl and let cool.
Once cool, add the olive oil, salt, juiced ginger, and garlic. Whisk with a fork. Taste, and make any desired additions.
4. Remove the vegetables from the oven, place to the side. Check the squash with a fork. Once the fork easily pierces the squash, it’s done. Remove and set the side.
5. Mix the salad. In a larger bowl place the greens. I simply tear the larger leafs of lettuce by hand. Toss with salad dressing, add the roasted vegetables and garnishes. Since lettuce is a bit more tender, I typically toss the dressing once I’m ready to enjoy the salad. With greens such as baby kale or spigarello, you can let the dressing set in for 20-30 minutes before serving.