Summer Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

Summer is approaching and I am looking forward to warmer weather and cleaner eating.

In our home, I try to have lunch as the meal of the day with the most vegetables, especially raw. For our eldest little one it’s usually carrot sticks and cucumber sticks with a side of left over roast chicken. While this recipe isn’t child friendly, you can always use some ingredients from the dish and portion them on your little one’s plate so he or she can learn to eat and enjoy vegetables.

I really enjoy a good salad at lunch time. Not only is it nourishing and yummy, but it’s a good way to get a broad spectrum of vitamins into the day’s needs. I do this by incorporating a lot of dark and bright colours into the dish like beetroot and raddish. In this case however, I use pumpkin.

Oh pumpkin. Where do I even begin. Pumpkin is most probably one of my favourite root vegetables because it is so versatile and works well in either savoury or sweet dishes. I love to slice it, scoop out the seeds and bake it until it is soft. Then, I refrigerate it to use in dishes later throughout the week like pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread and yes, pumpkin pie :).

Pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s orange colour is a sign of its richness in beta-carotene; a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants are vital in protecting our cells from free radical damage, which slows our aging process.

Pumpkins are also low in calories but keep you fuller for longer so they are not only healthy but slimming.

This salad came as an idea after I baked a pumpkin with onions one evening for no apparent reason. The smell of the warm pumpkin and sweet onions filled our little apartment and I thought: “this would really good on a salad.”

And it was.

The cooled softly baked pumpkin and onions, coupled with the crunch of the salad was delightful. Really, all this recipe needs is a topping of walnuts or pumpkin seeds. I just didn’t have any on hand the day I made this.

Summer Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of lettuce (I use romaine) or mixed salad leaves
  • 1/2 an English cucumber
  • 6-7 raddish
  • 1 beet
  • 1/2 a pumpkin or 1 whole small one
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 a green apple

Directions:

  1. Wash and remove the skin of the pumpkin, slice in half and remove the seeds
  2. Wash and peel the skin of the beetroot
  3. Roughly chop pumpkin and beetroot into 1 inch cubes
  4. Dice the onion and garlic
  5. Lightly grease a baking dish and place the diced onion, garlic, pumpkin and beetroot in and bake at 200C/400Ffor 45mins-1 hour
  6. While this bakes, prepare your salad
  7. Add lettuce and cucumber
  8. Add raddish and red onion
  9. Add green apple
  10. Top with freshly ground pepper
  11. When the pumpkin and beetroot are soft pull out of the over. You can test the softness by gently poking with a knife. If it goes through easily, it’s ready
  12. Let the pumpkin cool before adding to the salad
  13. Dress with whichever dressing you like (preferably something simple to allow room for the flavour of the baked vegetables to come through)
  14. Serve immediately and enjoy!

How to Serve this to your Little One

As mentioned above, I think it’s important for children to learn to eat and enjoy health giving foods. Vegetables and fruits, but more so vegetables are important to include in their diet. When making a salad for the adults, I’ll take some of the same ingredients that are easy finger foods for little ones and make up a plate of those vegetables along with some protein.

An example for this dish would be:

  • some green apple slices
  • a few cubes of baked pumpkin
  • a few slices of baked beetroot
  • a few sticks of cucumber
  • your protein of choice (baked chicken, turkey, a hard-boiled egg etc.)

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