Autumn Salad

We’ve recently had a cold front come through the Lowveld, the mountains are looking particularly misty and there is a serious nip in the air. I don’t mind, subconsciously late September to me is still the beginnings of Autumn not Spring, and along with most of the USA, I’ve been having a hankering for pumpkin-flavored everything.

Butternut is often my pumpkin substitute in certain dishes because it is readily available and equally delicious. When the weather cools down, I love the idea of a warm salad with wilted greens with roasted vegetables. I originally made this Autumn inspired salad with butternut, but pumpkin would be a delicious and suitable replacement. This salad is tangy with a bit of sweet from the maple syrup and caramelized onions, and it also has that roasty flavor from the root vegetables. It is very nutritious and would make an excellent side or main dish.

Autumn Salad

Autumn Salad

serves 3-4

for the salad:

1 large head of kale

2-3 cups of raw cubed butternut

3 cubed beetroots

1 tablespoon of olive or coconut oil, plus 1 teaspoon

1 onion

salt and pepper

for the dressing:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

1 tsp of maple syrup

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C/400F
  2. Wash and dry the beetroots and cut off the stems. You can peel the beetroots if you want to, I never do though because I like the crispy skin once they’re roasted. Chop the beetroots, and place them in a bowl.
  3. Wash and cube the butternut and add to the bowl with the beetroots.
  4. Drizzle one tablespoon of the olive or coconut oil over the butternut and beetroot and toss. Season with salt and pepper and place on a baking tray. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until cooked.
  5. While the vegetables are roasting, start caramelizing your onion. Cut the ends of the onion and slice in half through the root. Slice the onion thinly lengthwise.
  6. Heat the other teaspoon of olive or coconut oil in a saute pan, and add your onions. Gently saute the onions for about 10 minutes, reduce the heat if you see them burning or drying out. Season with salt and continue to saute for another 10 minutes or until you are happy with their consistency. True caramelization takes a bit longer, but it’s up to you.
  7. Rinse and chop the kale. Add the chopped kale to the onions and saute until only slightly wilted. The water from the kale will have a light steaming effect on the greens, you can even put a cover over the pan for a minute to speed up the process. Don’t leave it on the heat too long though, it should only have a slight wilt, not be fully steamed.
  8. Mix the dressing ingredients together, pour and toss the roasted vegetables and kale/onion mix together very gently, serve immediately.
  9. Enjoy!

 

Hope you give it a shot… and stay warm!

 

xo,

Natalia

Friday Delights: Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Those who know me well in the States, know that I have a pumpkin problem. I was never that into Pumpkin Pie (although that has changed), but when Starbucks released the notorious Pumpkin Spice Latte many years ago, a pumpkin junkie was born. Whether in coffee, baked treats, smoothies, ice cream, cheesecake, ravioli, you name it… if it has pumpkin in it, I will eat it and probably with a little more gusto than is ladylike.

Flavor aside, the health benefits of pumpkin are also something to get excited about. That orange gourd-like squash is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, beta-carotene (an anti-oxidant that plays a role in cancer prevention and is great for your skin), potassium, to name a few. 

Pumpkin Spice is a seasonal favorite associated with Autumn, Halloween and Thanksgiving in America, and since it is Autumn (verging on Winter) here in South Africa, my taste buds were calling. Below is a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Muffins that I adapted from Oh Ladycakes‘. These muffins are seriously one of the best things to ever come out of my kitchen, they are vegan and make a delicious treat or indulgent breakfast, enjoy!

pumpkinmuffins

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

makes 12 muffins

½ c. melted coconut oil

¾ c. raw organic sugar (or granulated sweetener of choice)

1 TBSP blackstrap molasses

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup pumpkin puree*

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon of ground ginger

¾ teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of baking soda

½ c. coconut cream

2 ¼ cups of whole wheat flour (or flour of choice)

¼ cup of unsweetened finely shredded coconut

 

Crumble topping

3 TBSP of coconut oil (in its hard state, should resemble a cold butter texture)

¼ cup of sugar

1/2 tablespoon of molasses

6 TBSP of flour

2 tsp of cinnamon

½ teaspoon of vanilla

Pinch of salt

*pumpkin puree is found canned in the States, so if you don’t have access to the canned version just steam some pumpkin and blend.

 

1. Preheat oven to 190C and line a regular-sized muffin tray with 12 liners or simply grease the tray

2. In a large bowl mix melted coconut oil, sugar, blackstrap molasses and vanilla.

3. Add pumpkin puree, spices, salt, baking soda and mix

4. Slowly add cream and flour, and mix

5. Stir in coconut and divide between muffin cups (you’ll want to fill each tin about 2/3 of the way). Set aside.

6. For the crumble topping: in a separate bowl cut the coconut oil with the rest of the crumble ingredients, until it feels like coarse meal, a few large clumps are fine.

7. Divide the mixture between all 12 muffins

8. Pop them into the oven for about 20 minutes

9. Enjoy!

 

Enjoy your weekend!

 

xo,

Natalia