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 I originally made this Autumn inspired salad with butternut, but pumpkin would be a delicious and suitable replacement.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!





Seasonal Flavors: July



At the beginning of each month, I like to check the Eat Out SA’s “In-Season” guide to see what produce is in season for that particular month. While I have a pretty good idea of what will and won’t be in season (i.e. now is not the time to crave mangoes), it’s nice to see a list and incorporate vegetables that may not have occurred to me otherwise. Get your creative culinary juices flowing, here are July’s in-season goodies for South Africa:

  • Avocados– and thank god they’re still in season… I generally mourn when December comes around…
  • Beetroots– juice them, roast them, spiralize them. Delish.
  • Broccoli– did you know broccoli is carrying some sneaky protein? Now you do.
  • Cabbage– Cabbage rolled up with a little salsa or mustard is a great snack and very detoxifying.
  • Celeriac– an example of getting the culinary juices flowing… I’ve never cooked with celeriac, but maybe July is my month.
  • Celery- reduces inflammation and is great for juicing or snacking on.
  • Gooseberries– yummy sweet tart snacks, full of antioxidants.
  • Granadillas– I’d imagine these are great in smoothies.
  • Kiwi– these are classified as superfoods and are PACKING vitamin C. Enough said.
  • Leeks– an Allium veggie, this is a good one to sauté or add to winter soups.
  • Mandarins– easy snacks and tasty additions to salads.
  • Marrows- aka squash/zucchini, these are filling, full of fiber and make a nice side dish when sautéed with a bit of olive oil and seasoned.
  • Mushrooms– Mushrooms are one of my favorite foods. I like them steamed or sautéed and can eat a punnet of them in one sitting. Delicious, versatile, low in calories and high in several B vitamins.
  • Parsnips– one to add to the books, I’m keen to try this recipe.
  • Peppers– antioxidants to the max and did you know they’re technically fruits?
  • Sharon Fruit– aka Persimmon, I bet it could be a funky addition to a fruit salad? Maybe? I’ll have to give it a shot.

Eating seasonally is sustainable on so many levels, so if you’re South African based, incorporate these beautiful fruits and veggies into your diet this month!