Spinach Salad with Limed Pepitas and Dried Cranberries

Last night I catered a Halloween party. My client wanted me to make a salad using pepitas and dried cranberries. Pepita (from Mexican Spanish: pepita de calabaza, “little seed of squash”) is a Spanish culinary term for the pumpkin seed, the edible seed of a pumpkin or squash.

The following recipe is based on Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s recipe from The Boarder Grill in Los Angeles. Their version of this salad uses pomegranate Seeds and jicama.  Also, if you are serving buffet style spinach is a good green to use.  It’s less delicate than lettuce and doesn’t go as limp.

I had never “limed” a pepitas before, but now I hooked!

Spinach Salad with Limed Pepitas and Dried Cranberries

Serves 12

1 cup pepitas or pumpkin seeds, raw and unsalted
1/4 cup lime juice mixed with 1 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs baby spinach, washed
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup crumbled feta
1 cup dried cranberries

In a small, dry frying pan over medium heat, toast the pepitas until golden brown. Remove from heat, add the lime juice mixed with 1 teaspoon salt, and shake vigorously. Cook, shaking often, until the pan is dry and cool.

Whisk the 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, pepper, vinegar, and olive oil together in a small bowl and drizzle over the salad. Add the pepitas, feta, and dried cranberries and toss well. Serve immediately.

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