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Thursday, 21 July 2011

How Popeye The Sailor Man's favourite food happened to become mine too! Roasted Pumpkin with Spinach Salad

Easy - Serves 4
Pumpkin is delish! Why not go for a different kind of salad this Ramadan?
Who remembers the cartoon Popeye the Sailor Man? Gosh, it was a childhood staple! I used to love it! Olive was out of this world! Funny how even cartoons were so simple back then. Looking at how far animation had gone! Back in the day, we had only a couple of hours of cartoon a day! Heck the whole TV operated specific hours! To even think of a 24 hour dedicated variety of cartoon channels... that was not even a thought that crossed my mind then! I now have to struggle with my kids to limit cartoon watching time to a few hours! Whatever happened to playing outdoors with kids our age all afternoon long?! Running, jumping, climbing, and neighborhood football games were the source of fun. And it was really fun!

Not only does it taste good, but
spinach happens to be very good
for you too
Oh well, back to Popeye! I loved everything about that show. However, back then and with a very young palate, I always struggled with understanding why he liked spinach! I sincerely disliked it! In all her effort to try and make us eat varied food types, my mum used to tell me "even Popeye likes it"! But it never clicked!
I find it very interesting how through the years spinach had crept up to top list of foods I like! I am telling you, I like spinach in sandwiches and prefer it to lettuce! I like spinach pastries, Spinach based salads and all things spinach... I always tell my son, who tends to be a bit fussy with food, that he should keep trying new foods and as he gets used to them they become favourites, and always tell him my story with Spinach! 

Pumpkin seeds are full of nutrients
like old school cartoons, this recipe is very simple, yet really good. It is a perfect snack anytime. If you add goat’s cheese to it, it becomes a hearty meal both filling and very healthy. Roasted Pumpkin is super delish. It lends a sweet flavour that works very well with the somewhat sweet acidity of the balsamic vinegar. The mushy texture of roasted pumpkin is very comforting and is balanced by the bite from nuts and seeds. In general, roasted pumpkin pairs very well with walnuts, or pecans. Also pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds go very well with it. You can choose any one type of nuts and seeds or you can go for a combination. Balsamic vinegar is an excellent dressing for roasted vegetables. You can go for the classic Balsamic Vinaigrette, or simply sprinkle Aged Balsamic Vinegar over the salad, and drizzle with a little olive oil.

This Salad is packed full with nutrients. It is very easy, convenient and most seriously delicious! Just because it's Ramadan, it doesn't mean you have to stick to only Fattoush!

You Need
Peel & chop pumpkin or
butternut squash into chunks
1 Small Pumpkin, peeled, and cubed (you can also use butternut squash instead of pumpkin)
1 packet, baby spinach leaves, washed and pat dried
1 spring fresh thyme
1small red onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges
¼ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
¼ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds, toasted
Salt & Black pepper to taste
Aged Balsamic, or regular balsamic vinegar to taste
Olive oil
Crumbled Goat’s cheese (optional)

Start by roasting the pumpkin.  Preheat oven to 350F.

 Place, peeled and cubed pumpkin in an oven-proof baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt & black pepper. Add the fresh thyme and roast uncovered until the pumpkin softens (about 18 minutes). You have to turn the pumpkin every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking. Once done, remove from heat and cool down.

Meanwhile, wash and dry your spinach leaves. To toast your nuts and seeds, place them on a cookie sheet in one layer, and place in preheated oven for 10 minutes, turning twice throughout. Remove from oven and cool down.
You can go for the full version with crumbled goats cheese
or for the simpler version of only the vegetables

To Assemble, toss leaves, nuts, seeds, pumpkin, onions and crumbled goat’s cheese if using. Season and drizzle with olive oil, and gently toss to coat. Transfer to serving bowl or dish, sprinkle a little aged Balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.
Ahlan Ramadan!

Hope you enjoyed this post and do try this salad, it is delightful :))
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