Roasted Pumpkin & Kale Salad with Macadamia Ricotta
Ok, before when I said warmer weather had arrived in Shanghai, I was totally lying. Or Shanghai was lying. Who’s keeping count? All I know is I’ve seen the sun more than two times in the past week and I am feeling (sort of) human again.
Did you know that your body can produce basically all of the vitamin D it needs when it’s exposed to strong sun for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on your skin tone. Vitamin D is responsible for healthy bones and teeth as it helps with the absorption of calcium. Contrary to popular belief, dairy products are not necessary if you want to do your body good. All you need is sun bebe.
If you can’t get yourself a healthy dose of UVB rays on the daily, you can take a supplement. Vitamin D2 is the recommended supplement for vegans, and D3 if you’re not in the v-gang.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because it’s good to know silly billies! But also, the sun gets a bad rap, especially around here in Shangers, but there is such thing as healthy exposure. So, if you need an excuse to lay out with your legs out, now you’ve got one. If anyone gives you a hard time about it, just tell ‘em you’re busy gettin’ that D. They can interpret it how they want. Not your problem.
Now, back to the food. I wanna celebrate the fact that salads can be this good and are best enjoyed outside in the sun with friends. I also wanna celebrate the deliciousness of this vegan ricotta, and mention to you that it can be eaten anywhere and off of anyone and still taste good. Wait, did I just say that? Yes, yes I did.
macadamia ricotta (recipe below)
1/2 small pumpkin, skinned and sliced into thin slices, lengthwise
1 tsp dark brown sugar
salt and pepper, for sprinkling
olive oil, for drizzling
2 giant handfuls of kale, de-stemmed and torn into large pieces
1 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
For the macadamia ricotta:
1 C pre-soaked raw macadamia nuts (you can sub almonds, but the color won't be the same)
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp water
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white miso (optional)
1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C.
2. Add soaked macadamia nuts, lemon juice, water, salt and white miso (if using) to a high speed blender or food processor. Process on high speed, frequently scraping down sides. It will take a bit of time to make the mixture more smooth and creamy, but it's totally worth it. You will know it's done when it resembles real ricotta.
3. Prepare a baking sheet with baking paper or a silicon mat so the pumpkin won't stick. In a medium bowl, add pumpkin, brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with olive oil. Mix well, coating all pieces of sliced pumpkin evenly. Place pumpkin slices on a baking tray in a single layer and place on the middle rack of the pre-heated oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.
4. In the same bowl you used for the pumpkin, add prepared kale pieces. Add olive oil, salt, garlic powder and nutritional yeast. Using your hands, massage oil and spices into kale. It will start to wilt a bit.
5. After the pumpkin has roasted for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and carefully flip over with tongs or a metal turner. Add kale to baking pan, making sure to spread it evenly on the pan. Place baking sheet back in oven and set timer for another 10 minutes.
6. After 10 minutes, check the pumpkin and kale. The pumpkin should have golden brown edges and the kale should start to crisp up at the edges. If needed, roast for 5 minutes or so more, but make sure to watch carefully so it doesn't burn.
7. Once kale and pumpkin are done roasting, let cool for 5 minutes. Once cool, add to serving dish and spoon macadamia ricotta on top.
This can be eaten immediately or refrigerated. Tastes great warm or cold!