Austrian Pumpkinseed Oil Salad

‘The hills are alive with the sound of music.’

Graz, Austria

Three years ago I boarded a train in Krakow, Poland and headed south to Graz, Austria to my friend Eva’s hometown for a ski holiday.  It was a nice break going from numbingly cold to refreshingly chilly. I was greeted by a relaxed and charming student city nestled between beautiful mountains, rivers and bike paths. We set off early in the morning to the ski station where we rented a cabin literally situated on one of the ski runs for one full week of powdery snow bliss.

We set off early the next morning to the ski station where we rented a cabin literally situated on one of the ski runs for one week of powdery snow bliss.  Now, before you get an image of some posh ski-in cabin, I must clarify. I felt like I had somehow found what was the original mountain cabin. We were a huge group of about 22 Austrians, one English and myself. We took turns in groups cooking and cleaning for every meal and there was no CD, television or DVD player. So we played lots of board games, there were guitar players for music (which was all quite interesting since most of it was in German) and I learned some very important phrases in German like ‘I’m thirsty for a radler’ (beverage similar to a shandy or panaché). It was an amazing time.

Kernol Oil

During this trip I made a personal culinary discovery of Kernöl oil which comes directly from the region we were visiting called Styria.  In English we call it pumpkin seed oil. Dark greenish-brown in color, it’s appearance makes no apologies. This aromatic oil pours thick and is rich in nutty and buttery flavors. I learned from the Austrians that this oil is a regional delicacy and we can top just about anything with kernol (salads, soups, potatoes and even vanilla ice cream). The gourmand that I am, I was thinking to myself ‘seriously how have I never had this before?.’ Well the answer to that is quite simple actually. Ninety percent of the oil produced is consumed in Austria but that percentage is quickly changing and this oil can now be found in a number of specialty grocery stores world-wide and can be ordered straight from Austrian producers online.

This oil is high in vitamins A, D and E and was once used as a folk cure in Styria.

Although this oil can be eaten and topped on many different foods, it should not be heated or used for cooking as it contains essential fatty acids that are easily broken down in heat.

One of the simplest and common ways to use pumpkinseed oil is on salad. In Austria we often ate salad with a mix of onions and potatoes topped with pumpkinseed oil and cider vinegar. In this recipe I swapped regular potatoes for sweet potatoes.


4 cups Mesclun (or any preferred salad)

2 cups of roasted sweet potato cut into large pieces

1/2 medium onion – chopped

2 Tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds (or preferred nuts)

Styrian salad sauce (add oil directly to salad first, then add cider vinegar)

3 Tablespoons pumpkinseed oil

1 Tablespoon Cider vinegar

*1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Thank you Eva and the Hagar family for your warm hospitality.


3 thoughts on “Austrian Pumpkinseed Oil Salad

  1. I think an important bit of information is missing. If you spill pumpkinseed oil on your clothes, the only way to get it out is to leave it in the sun before washing (according to old Austrian wives tales from Eva). 😀

    Cool blog. Look forward to seeing some Sheffield recipes. How about Yorkshire Pudding??

    Rich & Eva

    • Hey Richard and Eva, Yes that is definitely important information! Thank you. Yes I need to get going with some English recipes too. I will give Yorkshire pudding a go and if you have any other suggestions I would love to hear them! Thank you and big hugs to you both. Jonina

  2. Hi, my friend Margit, an IIN student, forwarded me an email filled with recipe links.. I just visited your blog and am impressed by the number of tempting recipes you have posted! Myself and my daughter, Nicole are currently in the process of collecting recipes for our next book and would like to know if you would be interested in contributing a few? You will be given full credit.

    Please see our request below and if you are interested.
    Thanks in advance! I am hoping to hear from you soon,
    Mary Elizabeth

    Chef Nicole Roarke and her mother, cookbook co-author, Mary Elizabeth Roarke, are seeking recipes for the sixth book in the Random House Country Comfort Cookbook series, Cooking Across America!
    The book will feature recipes indigenous to specific regions highlighting locally available cuisine as well as the surrounding cultures that influenced them.
    If you are interested in having a recipe published, please send it to: by 01Jan, along with your name, title, city, state and website. All recipes will be credited to the contributor. * It is optional to include details about the origin of your recipe as well as the people and places that inspired it (limited to 150 word count).
    To see the other books please visit:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s