roasted pumpkin, cranberry & spinach salad

Over the next couple of weeks you’re going to be seeing several pumpkin recipes here on my little corner of cyberspace. It’s coming up on the season for pumpkins, apples, mandarins, spices & all things warming & comforting. I was pretty excited to find cut pumpkin in an Asian grocery store my hubby & I regularly shop at. Then my hubby found whole pumpkins in Walmart for only 50c a pound, so we stocked up. A good size pumpkin costs a mere $4.50 & you can get several meals from that one humble gourd. 

roasted pumpkin salad

The calabaza pumpkin, shown here, hails from the Caribbean, The West Indies, South America – places hot & tropcial. Pumpkin & winter squash are pretty much one & the same –  they’re all gourds, from the same family. If you can’t find calabaza pumpkin, use butternut, hubbard or kabocha squash. High in Vitamin A & potassium, calabaza pumpkin is low in calories – a teeny-tiny 35 calories in one cup. 

cut pumpkin

The flesh of calabaza pumpkin is creamy, smooth & sweet when cooked. Making it perfect for pies, salads, soups, stews, curries or served simply on its own as a side. Today I made a fall-ish salad: Cranberries, pecans, roasted pumpkin, spinach & blue cheese drizzle with a maple vinaigrette. A perfect introduction to my favorite season which… is only days away…

roasted pumpkin salad

Serve this salad as a side as part of a meal or, like I’m doing tonight, as the main meal. It’s such a great feeling knowing dinner for tonight is already made. This will leave me time to start planning the sights I’m going to visit on my upcoming trip to England & to start booking some accommodation now I’m equipped with maps. 

pumpkin salad

While I’m planning my trip, my clever hubby will be fixing not one but two vehicles. We had a buyer all set up this morning, here, at our house, ready to take possession of Big Red, my hubby’s truck, when the darn thing suddenly started making the most god-awful noise. I remain positive it’s nothing too big because the truck has been a reliable work-horse since we bought it over five years ago. Hubby’s also working on his new car getting some bugs ironed out of that. Last week was surgery week. This week is car-fixing week. No matter what life throws at you, the trick is to remain positive isn’t it? Most things have a way of working out & if they don’t you have to learn to roll with it. 

plated salad

Speaking of things working out, I lost another kilo. This is pretty exciting for me. Instead of dreading getting on the scales, I’ve been hopping on knowing they were going to show a loss. I’ve been tracking my calories on My Fitness Pal & staying away from wheat. Having yummy food to eat, like this salad, helps me stay motivated. Motivation, perseverance, consistency, determination. They’ll get me there, they have before. 

roasted pumpkin & spinach salad


roasted pumpkin, cranberry & spinach salad
Serves 6
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 3 lb (1.3kg) calabaza pumpkin (or butternut squash)*
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. salt & freshly ground pepper
  4. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  5. 8 slices bacon
  6. 5 oz (141g) baby spinach leaves
  7. 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  8. 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (or whole pepitas), roasted
  9. 4 oz (113g) blue cheese, coarsely crumbled
  11. 1/3 cup olive oil
  12. 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  13. 2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  14. 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  15. pinch of salt & freshly ground pepper
  1. To make maple vinaigrette, shake all ingredients together in a medium jar with a screw top lid until well combined; set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place a greased wire rack on one baking sheet.
  3. Peel pumpkin using a small, sharp knife or peeler. Cut pumpkin into 1-inch (2.5cm) slices. Toss pumpkin, olive oil, salt & pepper on a baking sheet without the wire rack. Arrange pumpkin in a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup; toss. Roast a further 10 minutes or until pumpkin is browned & caramelized.
  4. Lay strips of bacon, in a single on prepared wire rack. While pumpkin is cooking, cook bacon for about 20 minutes or until crisp. Cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces.
  5. Arrange spinach leaves, pumpkin, bacon, cranberries & pecans in a large bowl or individual bowls. Drizzle with dressing. Top with blue cheese.
  1. * For those in Australia use Queensland blue or jap pumpkin.
The Fresh Aussie
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  1. Lawrence says:

    Awesome pics, looks scrummy, & big reds all better

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