Warming Winter Vegetable Salad Plus A Bit About Why It's Good For You


Chances are 8 out of 10 people have seen the movie, the Princess Bride. If you haven't, stop reading now, go watch it and come back to read this. 

I make this request because it helps explain why the damage is in the dose, and why we need constant small exposures to things with good perception and bad perception (i.e broccoli = good perception, stress = bad perception), so stay healthy for the long haul. 

When Wesley from the Princess Bride is not killed by ingesting the cup laced with poison, he says 'They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder."  This is kind of what general healthy eating does. If we eat a variety of foods, namely whole unprocessed foods, we get exposed to small doses of health boosting food chemicals, which keep us in good nick for longer! 

Simply put, nothing is either good nor bad, because the damage is in the dose, unless, of course, you have a known allergy or intolerance, in which case, best to follow your health professionals advice and guidance. By way of example, there has been a recorded case of an elderly women comping through close to 1 kg of raw boy choy, a seemingly healthy food, because she thought it was going to be good for her health, and subsequently went into a hypothyroid induced coma. A smaller dose, or is she had cooked the vegetables, this situation may have been avoided (she was fine after hospitalisation, for the record). 

In the opposite direction, we have research to indicate that stress in and of itself is not actually bad for us. In small doses, it's actually really good for us! However it's the duration and perception of stress, which is of concern. Chronic stress plays havoc with our bodies and mental health, and how we perceive stress (if we think it's good for us or bad for us in combination with actual amount) actually plays a part in its impact too! 

The caveat is, because there is always one smarty pants in the room, this concept should not be stretch to justify regular consumption of the 'sometimes' foods like cakes, lollies, fried foods, and highly processed goods. Keep these to one-ish serve a week and we will all be fine.

"So what has this got to do with salad Harriet". I hear you say, which is a totally valid question. In short if I can lure you in with a salad recipe and inject a bit of learning in the as a dressing I will, because that's how I do. 

So learning from this salad is such: 

  • Cooking food can actually assist in the absorption of nutrient and make them easier for us to take in. 
  • Cumin has some really great health benefits including antioxidant properties, and you only need small amounts regularly.  
  • Large doses of good things, it appears, are not necessarily any better than the total absence of them, so the 'slowly slowly' approach of regular doses is likely the most beneficial approach. 
  • Herbs and spices are a great way to boost health and increase flavor an an au naturale way. If you want to read some interesting bits on this head here
  • Warm foods are great in winter and totally hit that comfort food spot, without having to resort to the not-so-good comfort foods too often. 
  • Fill your plate and your stomach with veggies first and you will likely be better off on the waist line. 

Now to the bit you actually came for (ha ha- sorry): 


(serves about 4 large serves or 6 sides)

4 carrots, cut into sticks

500g butter nut pumpkin, skin removed and cubed

1.5 tbs olive oil

1 tbs cumin

1 bag of Kalettes (could use Brussels sprouts instead)

1 clove crushed garlic

Sea Salt to taste


Pre-heat oven to 160C.

In a bowl toss the carrots and pumpkin in 1 tbs olive oil and cumin to coat.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour, tossing the carrots and pumpkin a few times to get even colour. Cook for longer if required- until the pumpkin is soft all the way through.

In a pan, add 0.5 tbs olive oil, and heat. Add in garlic and kalettes. If there are bigger kalettes, cut them in half like you would with Brussel sprouts.

Lightly cook kalettes until they soften slightly and lightly browned.

Add carrots, pumpkin and kalettes together into a bowl and toss together. Season with salt to taste.

Per 6 serves:

475 kj/115 kcal

3g protein

5g fat

>1g saturate fat

11g carbohydrates

6g fibr 

Harriet WalkerComment