One thing that is very important to me during my Whole30 is the inclusion of vegetarian meals. One of the main complaints of those trying out the Paleo diet is that their cholesterol levels go up considerably. While Paleo’s biggest supporters claim this is nothing to worry about, I tend to disagree. Am I okay with my cholesterol going up a little on this diet? Yes. Am I going to actively encourage it to go up? Of course not! I still want to include a fair number of low-cholesterol, vegetarian meals in my Paleo diet, just like I do when I’m on my standard gluten-free, sugar-free diet.
That being said, getting enough calories from a Paleo, vegetarian meal is far from a guarantee. I need to ensure that I’m still getting sufficient energy without beans, grains, and dairy, which I typically use to fill out vegetarian meals and make them more hearty.
This Pumpkin and Beet Salad is a Paleo version of one of my favorites, and it’s quite filling. I got the original recipe from two friends when they both showed up at a BBQ with similar versions of the dish. I’m not sure which one of them came up with it first, but they had shared it with each other enough times to know it would be a crowd pleaser.
Typically when I make this dish I sauté the pumpkin in butter and sprinkle a liberal amount of crumbled goat cheese over the finished product. I do plan to go back to that version someday, but this one is a wonderful Whole30 compromise! The recipe was already vegetarian, gluten-free, soy-free, and sugar-free, but the changes also make it dairy-free and vegan, which certainly never hurts when cooking for a large crowd. You never know when you’ll be the hero of the potluck for the guest who arrived thinking he would only be able to eat his own dish.
Pumpkin and Beetroot Salad
1 and 1/2 cups pumpkin, in 1-2″ cubes
1 large roasted beet
2 cups spinach, washed and drained
large handful raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
balsamic vinegar to taste (optional)
Coat pumpkin in coconut oil and roast for 15 minutes at 400F. For last 3-4 minutes, sprinkle sunflower seeds over pumpkin.
While pumpkin cooks, chop beet into 1″ cubes. Combine in serving bowl with spinach, and mix in warm pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Serve with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Add vinegar if desired.
This recipe is shared on this week’s Wellness Weekend.