Roast pumpkin salad with crispy skin salmon

This salad and salmon combo is perfect for this time of the year – warm enough to enjoy a salad, full of amazing spring ingredients and anti-inflammatory ingredients.

Spring is a season of growth and exploration. It’s coming out after winter hibernation, moving more in preparation for summer, flowers blooming and vegetables growing. Pumpkin, beetroot, avocado and lemons are all in season at the moment.

Spring is also the perfect time to introduce anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. Inflammation can present in the body for various reasons including as a normal response to injury which usually lasts last 2-6 weeks (referred to as acute inflammation). Chronic inflammation is when inflammation lasts months to years and can be caused by infection, exposure to low level irritants (such as mould), autoimmune disease and stress. Some foods can also cause inflammation such as fried foods, processed foods and refined sugars. This constant state of inflammation places undue stress on the body making it harder to recover from exercise and is linked to the development of fatigue and several diseases including cancers, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, allergies and asthma. The tricky thing about chronic inflammation is that you may not have any symptoms until a disease is formed.

Anti-inflammatory foods contain phytochemicals (the good kind of chemicals) such as antioxidants and polyphenols, omega 3, carotenoids (the chemical that gives fruit and vegetables their yellow, red and orange colours) and vitamin B, vitamin D and vitamin E. These nutrients reduce stress on the body by fighting free radicals – more on that another day. 

Beetroot has been the focus of research on exercise performance. Beetroot contains high levels of antioxidants ready for the body to use.  Supplementation of 500mls beetroot juice for 6 days in men resulted in improved exercise performance with the time to exhaustion increasing by 92 seconds. Consuming beetroot juice has also been found to reduce muscle damage during exercise and accelerate muscle recovery.

If you make this recipe, please tag me in any photos on social media. I’d love to hear what you think of it!

Serves 4 people

Ingredients

2 pieces of salmon, skin on
A handful of Kale
A handful of rocket
400g butternut pumpkin
1 beetroot, halved
400g sweet potato
1/2 avocado
1/4 lemon
Himalayan pink salt
1/4 red onion diced
Extra virgin olive oil
Pepper

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Toss beetroot in oil and place in oven for 40 minute or until soft enough to press a fork into.
  2. While beetroot is cooking, dice pumpkin and sweet potato, toss in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Place on one half of a baking tray.
  3. Pat skin of salmon dry with a paper towel and place skin side up on the same baking tray as the pumpkin and sweet potato. Rub skin with oil and salt and place in the oven for 25 mins or until salmon skin is crispy.
  4. Tear kale and massage with the juice from a quarter of lemon until it changes colour. Toss with rocket, avocado and red onion.
  5. When baked ingredients are ready, sit them aside to cool for 5 minutes. Add pumpkin and sweet potato to the salad. Peel skin off beetroot using paper towel to prevent stained hands and cut into wedges. Add to salad and season with salt and pepper. Serve with salmon.