I’m not sure how to account for this, but lately my inner avocado monster seems to have been on vacation. Normally, I eat at least a half avocado per day, usually massaged into a massive kale salad and consumed on my lunch break. But over the past week or so, my usual kale-avocado combo has felt entirely unappealing. It’s not the kale, because I still go through that greeny goodness like nobody’s business, so it must be the avocado. Maybe I’ve finally grown tired of eating variations on this salad theme, or maybe my body is trying to tell me something. At any rate I was inspired to make a new kale creation , and thus here we are.
The inspiration for this salad started with one of everyone’s favourite raw foodies, Sarma. In a recent blog post, she wrote about her new pumpkin seed salad. I had never used pumpkin seed oil before, but just last weekend I randomly encountered it in one of the health food stores I frequent, so I picked up a bottle. (It just so happened this purchase took place while I was taking a break from G20 protests in Toronto. I’ll save for another day the story of how I then had to stash the bottle in my office building for the rest of the day. In case of a police search, I wouldn’t want to end up with a concealed weapon charge. Seriously, things were that crazy here over the G20 weekend.)
Pumpkin seed oil is fabulous! I wasn’t expecting it to have such a dark green tint – it will even stain your hands slightly. The bottle I bought claims to be cold-pressed so I’m assuming it’s raw.
The remaining inspiration for this salad came from my bountiful garden. I’ll post some new pics soon, but let’s just say things are growing well. I’ve been harvesting tons of kale, romaine and red leaf lettuce recently, and the herbs on my rooftop patio are a never-ending source of joy. Here’s the delicious result — fresh greens and herbs massaged with flavourful oil, topped with crispy cucumber and fennel, and pine nut parmesan.
Pumpkin Seed & Parmesan Greens
3 cups of kale, torn into pieces
1 cup of romaine lettuce, torn into pieces
1 cup red leaf lettuce, torn into pieces
2 tsp pumpkin seed oil
1/3 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
15 slices English cucumber (peeled if your cuke isn’t organic)
small handful each of thai basil, mint, parsley and chives, chopped coarsely
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
In a large salad bowl, massage the greens with the pumpkin seed oil. Add fennel, cucumber and herbs to the bowl and mix well to combine.
Next, make the pine nut parmesan by processing all ingredients in a coffee grinder until totally combined – it should be crumbly and slightly oily. Scrape it out of the coffee grinder and sprinkle on top of the salad. Devour with gusto!
If you don’t have pumpkin seed oil, olive oil also tastes beautiful. And if you don’t feel like shelling out the big bucks for pine nuts (those suckers can break the bank), I suggest using another oily nut instead, like walnuts or macadamias. You can use a food processor as well for the raw vegan parmesan, but you might need to triple the recipe so the processor has enough to work with. I find the coffee grinder is ideal for small batches.
I hope my American friends are having a fabulous Fourth of July! In Toronto, we are having our own celebration today – Toronto’s world famous Pride Parade! This is my first year marching in it and I’m beyond excited to a) join in on the fun, and b) more importantly, support my friends in the queer community and work to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression