Updated: Apr 24
I was visiting one of our awesome adult daughters recently and we had lunch at the Jeso hotel. I ordered a Pumpkin salad with chicken and was really impressed with the flavours and the healthy ingredients. So, as you do, I decided to try and make my own version. Although it is a bit different, the inspiration was from the dish at the Jeso.
I chose to use a butternut pumpkin as I find them easier to work with than other pumpkins and they are not too big. I can also use leftover pumpkin in my Pumpkin Pie Parfait or with Pumpkin Pie Porridge.
I love that this dish can be a well rounded vegetarian dish if I want it to be. Just remove the chicken. Vegetarian meals should always try to have a source of protein, and a good range of protein sources are important throughout the day. This will provide the essential amino acids that are required for your health. If you don't have a range of protein sources you may end up lacking one or more of the essential amino acids that your body needs. Animal sources of protein contain all the essential amino acids, so it is not as complicated.
A few potential modifications I can suggest are:
Use pomegranate arils if you can find them instead of the raspberries. These will give your salad a delicious crunch which the meal I had at the Jeso had. Unfortunately they are not always available, thus the swap to the raspberries. If you sprinkle the frozen raspberries over your salad, they will mingle in nicely with the rest of the food and give it that lovely tang.
Swap the pine nuts for the pumpkin seeds that are in your pumpkin. This will save you money and they are very healthy with a lot of fibre and protein. You could also use pistachios as another nut alternative.
I like using quinoa on occasion and it does go very well with this dish. But if you prefer rice, use a brown rice for the fibre content. Quinoa is also high in protein if you are a vegetarian, and so is useful for providing those amino acids I mentioned earlier.
I do try and remember to have some form of fermented foods every day. They are very good for a healthy gut. I used the sauerkraut in this, but you could opt for kimchi or fresh red cabbage. Each different option will give you different health benefits, so there is no best option.
Swap the chicken for fish. A nice piece of barramundi is a good source of Omega 3 healthy fats. Omega 3 fats are important for many health benefits including reducing anxiety and depression, and improving memory. I just sprinkled dukkah on it before cooking the fillets on the hot BBQ with the pumpkin. But it doesn't take as long as pumpkin. Only about 2-3 minutes each side (depending on the thickness of the fish).
I hope you enjoy this dish. If you try it, please let me know how it went and any changes that you made.