Nutritious summer salad for people with Parkinson’s

Recipes & nutrition

Author: Richelle FlanaganPublished: 9 July 2020

Parkinson's LifePrep: 15-30 minutesParkinson's LifeCook: 30 minutesParkinson's LifeServes: 2

Roast squash salad Parkinson's nutrition

Dietitian and Parkinson’s campaigner Richelle Flanagan shares a delicious recipe for a light summer salad – packed with nutritious ingredients for people with Parkinson’s

This simple meal packs quite a nutritional punch for people with Parkinson’s.

It’s a tasty, light but satisfying dish, full of healthy fats from the dressing and salmon. It contains soluble fibres from the butternut squash, onion, salad and chickpeas to support the digestive system. The protein from the chickpeas and salmon provide the building blocks for keeping muscle mass – which is important for many people with Parkinson’s. The salmon also provides B vitamins, in particular vitamin B12, and vitamin D, both of which can be deficient in people with Parkinson’s.

Butternut squash has a nice sweet flavour when roasted. Whilst it has 40% of the carbohydrate of potatoes, it contains twice as much fibre, resulting in a low glycemic load – this means it does not raise the blood sugars as much as potatoes do. This makes squash a great alternative for those following a lower carb diet. It also contains a lot of micronutrients such as magnesium and a mix of B vitamins such as niacin, folate and pantothenic acid. It is high in antioxidants vitamin E, vitamin C and very high in beta carotene – which have been associated with a possible slowing of the rate of parkinsonian sign progression in older adults.


1 butternut squash (700g), peeled and diced

1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tbsp rapeseed or olive oil

1 tin chickpeas or any mix of beans, drained (such as mixed beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans – look for BPA (Bisphenol-A) free tins or use dried beans and prepare before using in this dish)

4 handfuls of mixed spinach and rocket salad

1 handful freshly chopped parsley

4 fillets fresh salmon

For the dressing:

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp honey

1 tbsp cider vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil


  • Heat the oven to 170° Place the chopped squash and onion on a flat baking tray. Toss in the cumin seeds and oil, mix to coat.
  • Place in the oven for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through. Make a space for the salmon on the tray and bake for next 15 minutes or until salmon is cooked. The squash and onion should both be soft.
  • Place salad leaves into a large serving bowl. Add the beans, parsley, and the cooked squash and onion.
  • Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a jar and shake well. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix to combine. Place salmon fillet on top.

You can replace the salmon with feta cheese or use kale instead of the spinach and rocket salad. Cook the kale for 30 seconds in boiling water, drain, finely chop and then add the squash, bean and onion mix. Squash can be hard to cut, so be careful with sharp knives.

Read more:

One-day menu for people with Parkinson’s featuring salmon baked potatoes

Why you need more vitamin B3 in your diet

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