Popeye & I...

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! I now have to struggle with my kids to limit cartoon watching time! Whatever happened to playing outdoors with kids our age all afternoon long?! Running, jumping, climbing, and neighbourhood football games were the source of fun. And it was really fun!

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 knew he did, and that was the part of him I never understood!

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 daughter, who at the moment is a bit fussy with food, that she should keep trying new foods and as she gets used to them they become favourites, and always tell her my story with Spinach!

like old school cartoons, this recipe is very simple, yet really good. It is a perfect snack anytime. If you add the crumbled Labneh balls to it, which by the way pairs extremely well here, 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!

Butternut squash & pumpkin are sold at the farmers’ market during market season (Nov-April) and they are gorgeous and as good as it gets. So are fresh spinach leaves. Make sure to buy those fresh organic beauties at the market and see how gorgeous this salad tastes 🙂


Serves: 4
  • 1 small pumpkin, peeled, and cubed (you can use butternut squash too)
  • 300g baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced (optional)
  • Crumbled DS Goat’s Milk Labneh Balls (optional)
  • ¼ cup walnuts/pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds, toasted

For the dressing

  • 1 tbsp DS Organic Pickled Zaatar
  • 1/4 cup DS Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar or a few tbsps Aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp DS Pure walnut butter
  • Salt & Black pepper to taste

Start by roasting the pumpkin.  Preheat oven to 400F-200C.

Place, peeled and cubed pumpkin in an oven-proof baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt & black pepper. You can sprinkle with dried zaatar or thyme too. 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 the nuts and seeds, place them separately on baking sheets in a single layer, and place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, turning twice throughout.

Remove from oven and cool down.

To Assemble, toss leaves, nuts, seeds, pumpkin and onions.

Make the dressing in a jar, shake and pour over the salad. Season and transfer to the serving bowl. Crumble the labneh balls on top and serve immediately.

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