Roasted Pumpkin and Spinach Salad with Honey and Balsamic Dressing


    So my quest for interesting, allergy friendly food continues. I’m doing the Top 8 elimination diet, to manage my Eosinophilic Esophagitis, but the big allergens, the hard ones, the ones I miss, are gluten and dairy.

    Avoiding gluten and dairy means most sauces are off limits.  I have to check all labels for allergens, because almost all processed foods or commercial sauces  contain gluten or soy.  So I am trying to make interesting dressings and sauces from basic ingredients, to try and keep my meals a little more exciting than steak and steamed vegetables every day.

    I have been doing a version of this diet for almost 18 months now.  I have ‘broken’ a few times and bought some Brie and ate the whole lot myself, no crackers required.  I had a burger once…SO good!  Often the thing I crave most is fresh, white bread, with a slice of tasty cheese.  And pizza. Sometimes I just really want a big cheesy pizza!!!

    When I’m in those moods it’s not really possible to convince me that a pumpkin and spinach salad can be just as delicious, but it is a very tasty, nutritious salad, the perfect side for a steak.  The pumpkin is sweet, the pine nuts add texture and the spinach is fresh and crisp.  (Note:  Pine nuts are actually seeds, not nuts.  Many people with nut allergies can eat them safely, always check though!).

    The dressing is sweet and tangy and goes well over any salad, but works particularly well with pumpkin. I’ve also used sweet potato in this recipe, just as yum.

    So while you’re still thinking about that pizza I mentioned before, check out the recipe.

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    Roasted Pumpkin and Spinach Salad with Honey and Balsamic Dressing
    1. Preheat oven to 250°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Place pumpkin in a single layer on trays. Spray with oil and turn to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast pumpkin, turning once, for 20 minutes or until golden and tender. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
    2. Wash and spin dry the spinach leaves.
    3. Meanwhile, heat a small, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add pine nuts. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until golden.
    4. Make the dressing. Combine the honey, vinegar and oil in a screwtop jar, and shake it up to combine. If the dressing doesn't come together, microwave on HIGH or 10 seconds, so the honey melts a bit, and then shake to combine.
    5. Put the pumpkin and spinach in a salad bowl. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Drizzle over the dressing. Serve and enjoy the healthy goodness!
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