Thursday, July 19, 2012

Strawberry Salad with Candied Pumpkin Seeds

We just got back from visiting family in the midwest. This recipe is one my mom likes to make often, though I have put my own twist to it. She asked me to make it one evening for dinner, but we were out of sliced almonds, which she toasts on the stove with a little bit of honey and sprinkles over the salad. I found raw pumpkin seeds in her freezer and devised my own version of candied seeds. I made this salad again and again during our trip and everyone enjoyed it!

Since we've been back home, our children have been picking all of the juicy, ripe strawberries growing in a special 3-tiered strawberry bed we built a few years ago for our backyard. I am not sure there will ever be enough for a salad! If you don't have strawberries available, try fresh blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries instead.

Strawberry Salad with Candied Pumpkin Seeds and a Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

My mom also likes to use thinly sliced red onion in place of the green onions. Sometimes she even uses raspberry vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. You can find raw pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) in the bulk section of your local food co-op or health food store. If you don't want to use pumpkin seeds, try sliced or slivered almonds. I use coconut nectar which is slightly sweet and mainly composed of fructooligosaccharides (sugars that feed beneficial bacteria in your gut). The dressing recipe is from my first cookbook. You might have extra dressing leftover. I always like to make more, just so I can have leftovers!

Candied Pumpkin Seeds:
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons coconut nectar

1 head red leaf lettuce, rinsed and spun dry
2 to 3 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons organic red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey or coconut nectar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

To make the candied pumpkin seeds, first oil a plate with olive oil or line with parchment paper (the seeds will stick mercilessly otherwise), and set aside. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat; add the seeds and toast them by keeping them moving in the pan. You can jiggle the pan or use a wooden spoon to do this. They should puff up and "pop" and turn slightly golden. If they brown, it means your heat is too high. It should take about 5 minutes depending on your stove. Then turn off the heat and immediately add the coconut nectar. Stir it into the seeds with a wooden spoon. The nectar should get stringy and when this happens, remove them from the pan and place onto your oiled plate. Let them cool completely to crisp up.

To make the salad, tear the lettuce into pieces and place into a salad bowl. Add the green onions and strawberries. Break up the cooled candied pumpkin seeds and sprinkle over the salad.

To make the dressing, place all ingredients into a small jar and shake well. Pour desired amount over salad. Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Source: 

Here is my mom, fit and healthy at nearly 60!

More Salads and Dressings:
Everyday Salad Dressing
Raw Super Green Salad
Jalapeño-Lime Kale Slaw

Subscribe to this blog via Email
Follow me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. This looks delicious! If I wanted to use liquid stevia in place of the honey/nectar, should I add water to compensate for the liquid? How much stevia do you suggest?


  2. We are eating strawberries fact I am sipping on a strawberry Mache green smoothie as I type.
    Your salad recipe looks so good.
    Your Mom has a beautiful smile--she radiates health you can tell.
    Peace and Raw Health,

  3. Oh my gosh, this looks divine. and your mother is gorgeous and radiant!

  4. Such a lovely Summery salad..and I love the candied pumpkin seeds!

  5. This is such a great method for candying the seeds--I love how it doesn't require baking the seeds in the oven. I hate to heat up my house with the oven in the summer. The salad is so colorful!

  6. Thanks everyone!

    Chris - I don't think stevia would work as a replacement here. You could just toast the pumpkin seeds and skip the sweetener all together though.

  7. I adore coconut nectar and never thought to put it on nuts or seeds to sweeten it. What a wonderful idea! This salad would be a huge hit with my whole family-thanks for sharing another fantastic recipe!

  8. Love your recipes. However, you really shouldn't refer to your mom as being still fit at nearly 60. First of all, that means she's only 50'something. Wait til you get there and you'll see what I mean! LOL

  9. This salad looks incredible, Ali! It has a little of everything as far as flavor and textures. :-)

    And your mom looks fantastic!


  10. I made this tonight and wanted to let you know how delicious it was to the whole family. My husband said it was one of the best salads he's ever eaten.

  11. This looks really delicious. My 2nd crop of strawberries in the garden arenn't quite ready, but the farmers market has lots of fresh peaches that I think I'll try as an alternative. I can't wait to try this out.

  12. Wow she is 60? I want to look like her at that age. Where do you buy coconut nectar?

  13. Perfect! I have all the ingredients and some strawberry-loving brothers to feed for dinner. Coconut nectar is such an amazing sweetener. Thanks for sharing the picture of your Mom - she is the epitome of beautiful: radiant, healthy, loving.

  14. Yum. I made this a few days ago and we devoured it.


Join the Conversation!

I'd love to hear your feedback with my recipes. If you make any changes or substitutions then please share what you did so others can learn.

If you have a question about a recipe, please leave it here. I will do my best to answer it when I have time.

Comment moderation is in place. Your comment will be only be visible here once I publish it.

Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)