Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle


South-of-the-border salad

The taco thing got me craving my favorite Mexican-inspired salad. Just had to have it. It is so much more than ordinary: tart with lime juice, rich with avocado, crunchy with toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and spiked with a bit of chile powder and oregano.

Toasting pumpkin seeds (the green hulled kind, not the white ones that still have the shell on) turns them into an addictive crunchy snack. A cast iron skillet is the perfect pan to use, if you have one, or any heavy-bottomed skillet. It needs to like getting very, very hot.

Put some raw green pumpkin seeds in a dry pan and crank up the heat to medium-high. As the pan heats up, you'll hear a little bit of sizzle from the seeds. Stir them or shake the pan every so often to make sure they don't get too browned. Within a couple of minutes they'll begin to pop as the air inside each seed heats up. Keep shaking the pan and toasting the seeds until they are almost all puffed up and have some nice toasty color on them. Then use them as a condiment on a salad, as shown here, or season them up with a touch of salt, some chile powder, and garlic powder and nibble away. Delicious!

Essentials for the salad include cabbage, red or green, shredded; red bell pepper bits, roasted or not; minced red onion or sliced green onions; cubes of perfect avocado. Add tomatoes if it's summer and they're irresistably ripe on the vine. Baby spinach or your favorite lettuce mix can also be added.

For the dressing: Whisk together some fresh-squeezed lime juice (or apple cider vinegar), a dash of tomato paste, pinch of chile powder, teaspoon of dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Now whisk in some olive (or flax) oil until emulsified. Drizzle dressing over salad, toss, and garnish with pumpkin seeds. For a main course, just add cooked black beans.

I know versions of this are going to be showing up a lot on my table this Spring-Summer, cuz I'm in a south-of-the-border state of mind. Alas, my Mexico travel plans have been shelved, due to a recently increased workload, but I can always dream, and eat, my way there.

Blessings and bon appetit!


At 5:18 AM, Anonymous Stevi said...

this looks like a real summer meal, ideal for hot days. thanks :)
(it's really hot here in greece at the moment)

At 6:02 AM, Anonymous Geraldine said...

This salad looks delicious....I love roasted pumpkin seeds too and yes, they are addictive.

BFN, G:)

At 11:01 AM, Blogger jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Oh I want to make this!

At 9:49 PM, Blogger KaiVegan said...

This is mouth-watering, Mindy! Thanks for the tips!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home