You know what all of us at Heroic Health & Well-Being love about fall? Besides the changing colours of the leaves, the abundance of fresh produce coming off the farms and the break in the summer heat, one of the best things about fall is the fact that it’s pumpkin season! Pumpkins are very versatile in their uses for cooking. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers.
This recipe uses the pepitas. Pepitas (also known as pumpkin seeds) are small, flat, green, edible seeds. Most pumpkin seeds are covered by a white husk, although some pumpkin varieties produce seeds without them. Pumpkin seeds are a popular snack that can be found hulled or semi-hulled at most grocery stores. However, roasting pumpkin seeds (usually scooped out of jack-o-lanterns) is a popular Halloween treat. Per ounce serving, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, copper and zinc. They are a great healthy choice as a snack to munch on when you just can’t wait until dinner and make a fantastic addition to salads like this one.
We call this salad our Maple Roasted Pumpkin Salad (you will understand the name when you taste it!). It uses pepitas, actual pumpkin chunks, maple syrup, feta cheese, a ton of garlic and a bunch of other healthy and totally yummy ingredients. The end result is a crunchy, flavour-with-a-kick salad that makes a great way to start your afternoon.
Maple Roasted Pumpkin Salad:
- ¼ cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
- 1 sugar pumpkin (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 5 tbsp. olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- ¼ to ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- Coarse salt and black pepper
- 2 tbsp. plus 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1½ lbs. arugula (2 to 3 bunches, thick stems removed), washed and dried
- 6-oz. feta cheese
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread pepitas on a large rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside
- On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss pumpkin with 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until pumpkin is tender, 25 to 30 minutes
- Remove garlic cloves from sheet pan; set aside. Drizzle pumpkin with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; toss to coat. Return to oven and continue roasting, tossing occasionally, until pumpkin is glazed, 5 to 10 minutes more; let cool
- Meanwhile, cut off root ends of garlic cloves; squeeze out garlic and mash to a paste with the side of a knife. Transfer to a large bowl. Add lime juice, mustard, and remaining maple syrup; season with salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, add remaining oil in a steady stream; set aside
- Add arugula and pumpkin and toss to combine. Serve salad sprinkled with toasted pepitas and crumbled feta cheese