Pumpkin Seed and Herb Salad


Have you ever ordered a restaurant salad with high hopes of chowing down on a huge bowl of greens and instead, get a measly amount of veggies swimming in a pool of dressing? How they think this is appealing is beyond me.

Well, this salad is the complete opposite to that.

It’s loaded with greens, it’s packed with nutrients, and you don’t need a rubber dinghy to make your way across your plate. It’s the Queen of all salads, The Mack Daddy of them all.

But you’re thinking, ‘Leanne, it’s just a salad… what makes this one so special?’

Pumpkin Seed Lemon Dressing (28)

I wondered the same thing when I had it for the first time at One Lucky Duck in New York – a restaurant that goes against the dainty restaurant salad crowd. It was like magic on my taste buds – the lemon, healthy oils, fresh herbs… the… mint? Mint in a salad? Weird. Who else is totally boggled by this concept? I know that I was! But it works so perfectly here, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This salad also introduced me to pumpkin seed oil. Have you heard of it? I did a bit of research and learned that pumpkin seed oil has loads of nutrients and has a high content of omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids. The best part is that it’s half the price of flax and hemp oils. Whoop! I like that :)

And, remember the vegan shaved Parmesan that we made earlier this week? Throw it on this baby and you’ll find it hard to stock up on kale fast enough.


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5.0 from 2 reviews
Pumpkin Seed and Herb Salad
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Egg-free
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
A healthy greens salad made with pumpkin seed oil - an oil with an impressive amount of nutrients and essential fatty acids, and a slew of other good-for-you greens and herbs!
Pumpkin Seed and Herb Salad:
Pumpkin Seed and Lemon Salad Dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon raw pumpkin seed oil
  • ¼ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ½ garlic clove, minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. For the salad, rinse the kale under hot water for 30 seconds or so to soften up and make it easier on digestion. Chop fresh herbs and add all salad ingredients to a large bowl.
  2. For the dressing, add all ingredients to a jar, shake and pour over your salad.
This recipe is for 1 serving of salad. Feel free to double, triple or quadruple up if needed (I highly recommend it!) If you cannot find kale, any green will work. If you cannot find pumpkin seed oil, choose another omega-rich oil like flax seed oil or hemp seed oil. Alternatively, you could use a high quality olive oil. Hemp seeds can be replaced with any seed you'd like - pumpkin, sunflower, etc.
If you do not want to make the Parmesan, just sub out with 2-3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes added right to the salad.

View nutrition information (once on page, scroll down)

A bit of information about kale that I thought would share (and why I recommended running it under hot water as opposed to massaging it with oil)…

The fiber-related components in kale do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, making it easier to digest.


I like to begin by making the dressing and setting it aside for the flavors to develop. This dressing just gets better with age.


Cilantro (great for cleansing), parsley (antioxidants), mint (benefits your digestion) have major super power abilities, so don’t skimp on the fresh herbs here. Load ‘er up!

Pumpkin Seed and Herb Salad (18)

Betcha can’t eat just one ;)

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. Hehe your first statement = the story of my life! Funny you should mention the pumpkin seed oil because I found some the other day and thought about trying it for a Try Something New Tuesday feature. Does it taste pumpkin-y?

    • I definitely thought of you as I was writing it :) It doesn’t taste like pumpkin at all. Just sort of like pumpkin seeds. It’s really, really tasty!

  2. This looks divine! My last couple trips to the store have turned up only pitiful looking kale specimens so I’ve been holding off… And I’m really missing it. This will be a great new way to try it, too.

    Have you ever tried massaging your kale with olive oil to soften it? It’s a trick I learned from a friend who’s a raw vegan chef – you can do the whole leaf (hard stem cut away) if you’re using it for a wrap or for salads (the way I usually eat it), you first tear it into small pieces, then really give it a good back rub. Wow, does it ever change the texture! You can do this with collard leaves, too, and I’m pretty sure it works with chard as well.

    Great… Even though I just finished breakfast, now I want this salad along with some raw vegan pate wraps!

    • The kale here is pretty pitiful too. Back in November/December they were the LARGEST bunches! I ended up adding a piece to this blog post about why I chose not to massage the kale. There are certain properties in the kale that do better when they’re heated, regardless of how much massaging that you do. I’ve had massaged kale though, and it’s wonderful!

      • Thanks for adding the update – I hadn’t ever heard of running kale under hot water, but considering that it benefits digestion and is quicker than massaging, I might just need to make a switch. Things were starting to look better at Whole Foods this week so I loaded up on fresh purple kale, arugula, baby spinach, Italian parsley, cilantro, basil and dill. Gonna be a GREENS week!

        • It’ll be interesting to see how you like hot water vs. massaging. I’ve never had purple kale… ah! I can never find any. Sounds like you found quite the delicious bunch of veggies!

  3. I really love salads that are heavy on the greens, this looks awesome, especially with those Parmesan shavings!! And, seriously, these photos are gorgeous. To my (highly untrained) eye they are quite different from your norm (which are always amazing) in a really interesting, unique way. Super beautiful.

    • Thanks Alissa! I had a bunch of fun with the photos for sure. I incorporated a lot of what I’d learned at the photography course in NYC to this. Took me all day, but it was loads of fun. Maybe your eye isn’t as untrained as you think it is!

  4. I totally hate that restaurants load up on the salad dressing on salads. No matter what restaurant I go to now I ALWAYS ask for the dressing on the side…regardless of the stink eye I get from the server!

    OK – great tip on the kale! I have been telling my readers to massage the kale with oil because that is how I really fell in love with kale and started eating it more. I will definitely have to share this tip from you. Have a great weekend!

    • Oh the salad dressing stink eye… that’s funny. The worst is when you just ask for no dressing AT ALL (because you secretly have some in your purse… heh) Thanks for passing along my tip about the kale, I really appreciate it :)

      • Oh my gosh, I never thought of taking my own salad dressing to a restaurant with me! This will solve a lot of problems in the future!

    • Blah, glad I’m not the only one totally frustrated over the restaurant salad issue! I feel like we need to start a Facebook group to change the world one restaurant salad at a time.

  5. AHA! I always order my salads with the dressing on the side, but I never ever touch anyway, so I wonder why I bother ordering it… Maybe it’s because of the funny look I get when I ask for a salad with no dressing please.

    You should’ve heard me order today, it was a real joke. I ordered the spinach salad with no cheese, no pine nuts, no bacon, no onions, no oil or dressing and no salt on my salmon please (it comes with a beautiful slab of grilled salmon!)

    The waiter seemed about ready to ask me if I wanted any food at all!

    Your salad looks really gorgeous, Leanne! I think I would order it complete with all the fixin’s! My mouth is watering so bad now!

    • The no salad dressing trick, yes… I did that last weekend! No sense in drowning everything in dressing when all the veggies have so much glorious taste!

      PS: Sounds like an awesome salad that you ordered, grilled salmon is the BOMB!

  6. This looks yummy. It would go great with a nice steak and my favorite baked sweet potato with lashings of earth balance soy free and cinnamon.

    And one of those chocolate banana cake bars.

    I believe in the idea of “every thing in moderation – including moderation.”

    Leanne I’m thinking I just might like you even better then Nigella Lawson!

    Thank you for helping me enjoy cooking and baking and being healthy all at the same time.

    • I had it with sweet potato yesterday! No steak though… Wow, Nigella Lawson? I’m so ridiculously honored that you said that. Thanks for making my day, Nancy!

  7. I loooove pumpkin seed oil, but your oil is way too light. You should try the Austrian (Styrian) oil, which is almost black in colour, but in reality is a very, very deep green. The austrians use it on salads, like you, but also sprinkle it (though I pour it on, as already stated: I looove the stuff!) on their pumpkin soup, or use it in omelets.
    I don’t want to come across as a “Besserwisser”, just want to give you a friendly tip. My husband is austrian and has taught me about the value of the “styrian gold”. Yum!
    And about the salads: I never liked salads, that was until I started mixing them myself and not drowning them in dressing. Nuff said :-)
    Great blog, I visit it all the time and am having a lot of fun with your recepies!

  8. The reason I invoked Nigella was because your recipes have the same homey, comforting, familiar feel that hers do but obviously yours are alot healthier! But I’m an old hand at this point at substituting and revamping regular recipes to fit my own needs so that isn’t a problem; for me anyway.

    Sometimes it can be really hard being the only one in the house with food intolerance issues but here’s what’s cracking me up – I made your chocolate chip muffin recipe three times in two days this week and I only got four muffins out of those three batches! Honey trust me, developing recipes that are allergen free and satisfying to even my brood really does make you very special.

    Again, thank you,

    • Wow, thank you so much, Nancy. I sure would love my own cooking show! Wow, great about the muffins, that’s totally awesome. Thanks for sharing, Nancy!

  9. The combination of lettuce, kale and herbs was delicious. I also made the vegan Parmesan, which was quite easy to make, tastes cheesy, but not quite like Parmesan.

    How wonderful that you got to eat at One Lucky Duck. I’ve been following Sarma for years .. I’m not a vegan/raw eater .. more like a paleo eater .. trying to limit dairy and grains (not always easy).


    • Hi Monica! So great of you to stop by and say hello! I’m happy that you liked the salad. Sorry that the Parmesan didn’t meet your expectations. You’re right, it’s not like the real thing… but it’s pretty good! If you ever get the chance to go to New York, you must. Such a beautiful city… and One Lucky Duck definitely made it even better.

      • Oh, I’d totally make the vegan cheese salad topper again .. it’s GOOD .. but I think “Parmesan” is not quite the right description.

        Made the salad again last night and used olive oil for the dressing .. it’s such a good salad.


        • Hey Monica – thanks for your honestly. You’re not the first one to tell me that it’s not quite Parmesan. Hmm… naming fail! Whatever though, they’re good and that’s all that matters! So happy you like this salad. It’s still on my daily rotation with no end in sight!

  10. Just came across this blog courtesy of Raechel at Rebel Grrrl’s Friday 5! That salad looks amazing and I’m dying to try the topper to help jazz up my salad routine! Looking forward to reading more!


    • Hey Laura – thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself. I’m so happy that you found me and my salad topper!

  11. As far as taking salad dressings to restaurants, what works really well is a cleaned-out spice bottle with your dressing of choice snuck in your purse. I’m always recycling little bottles to reuse for stuff like that – the capers bottles are a good size too. Also good if you’re taking a salad to a party or pot luck and don’t want to add the dressing until ready to serve, so if you leave it there or want to toss it, no big deal.

  12. I actually LOVE mint in salads. I have been doing that for a while now. My favorite flavors are that of the Mediterannean, so I love the mint, lemon, and garlic combination. I also currently have parsley, cilantro and mint that are growing uncontrollably (except the cilantro) to use fresh. The ginger sounds heavenly. Cannot wait to try this.

    • Wow, sounds like you were made to try this salad, Susan!

      • So I made this today and absolutely LOVED it! I didn’t do the “Parmesan cheese” but did everyone else. I used raw sunflower seeds instead of hemp. It was excellent and my husband loved the dressing and herbs. Thanks for another great recipe!

        • Awesome. So happy that you liked it! Next time, just sprinkle the nutritional yeast over top. That’s what I’ve started doing and it’s out of the world amazing!

  13. Oooh, this sounds divine!! I’m definitely not a dainty salad eater. I usually make my salad in a serving bowl and eat the whole thing! I’m off to find that Vegan Parm recipe!

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