Retreat Recipes: Autumn Harvest Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette Dressing

One of the foundational things that supports women (well, everyone) in maintaining optimal and balanced mental, physical and emotional energy is nutrition. Given life’s demands on our attention and our ever-increasing pace of life it is not surprising that many women can find themselves depleted and in a space of hormonal imbalance, pain, mental and physical exhaustion and emotional reactivity.

When we are engaged in high performance at work, while also managing our home-life, we can fall into eating for quick energy which, unfortunately, does not always translate into nutrition. Eating mindfully for sustained energy is a tremendous gift you can give yourself that will support you in being the best version of yourself.

A significant component of the Phoenix-Hearted Woman retreats is the concept of self-care and managing our energy for resilience. Therefore, we include at each of our retreats nourishing food to help us replenish our mental and physical energy and support the maintenance of health.


Autumn Harvest Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette Dressing

Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free

Serves 4 - 6

*Note: we use organic produce if available



2 cups or handfuls of baby spinach
2 cups or handfuls or baby arugula
*or use a pre-blended organic salad mix such as mixed baby greens
1 large carrot peeled into ribbons or grated
1 medium zucchini peeled into ribbons (grating is not the best option - the zucchini becomes watery)
8-10 cherry or grape tomatoes sliced in half
1 handful of pumpkin seeds - either raw or lightly toasted
Salt & pepper to taste - Himalayan salt is nice, as are cracked pink peppercorns

Optional: 1 small butternut squash - peeled, cubed and roasted + 1 TBSP olive oil of avocado oil
Optional: A sprinkling of hemp hearts (2-3 TBSP) is a nice way to add essential fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6) plus a complete protein (all the amino acids) to your salad.


3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (apple cider vinegar will work too)
2-4 Tbsp tahini (sesame-seed paste) (2T for a thinner dressing, 4T for thicker)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste
squeeze of lemon



1. If including the optional roasted butternut squash:

  • Preheat oven to 375F. Peel and chop the squash into approximate 1-2 inch cubes.

  • Lightly toss with a tablespoon of olive oil or avocado oil and dust with salt.

  • Spread onto a parchment lined baking tray or into a 9x11 inch pyrex glass baking dish and roast for about 20 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with a fork and lightly toasty looking.

  • It’s a good idea to stir or toss the squash cubes part-way through the roasting.

  • Remove from oven and let cool before tossing with the rest of the salad.

2. Toss the salad leaves and vegetables together in a salad bowl along with a scant 1/4 cup of the dressing, then sprinkle the pumpkin seeds and optional hemp hearts on top.

1. Simply put everything into a jar and shake it up.

  • If the tahini is too thick, mash it up with a fork. The vinegar should help dissolve the bits of tahini.

  • Fresh cilantro pairs nicely with this dressing--add them together to your salad.