Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Best Side to Fall For

Genius blogger Cathy of What Would Cathy Eat? issued a Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge:  use her 10 Tips for a Heart-Healthy Thanksgiving to cook/bake our own healthy creation.

Now while Cathy is indeed calling this a "challenge" I was overwhelmed with all of the things I could make for this.  The tips which include ditching full fat dairies & meats, using whole grains, skimping on the salt, and using less sugar are tips I run my kitchen with on a daily basis.  I certainly wasn't stuck for recipes.

The tip I decided to enforce with this post was "Go overboard on veggies."  Considering my last two Thanksgivings had veggie only sides (no starch sides) I was ready to go crazy with the produce patch.  I decided to share the very best veggie Thanksgiving side that I've made.  It is full of flavor, color, and amazing fall staples, including fruit.  What it's not full of is fat, salt or sugar.  And though I do use oil, it's not a lot.  Here's a great tip for using less oil when cooking/sauteing: put your oil in a spray bottle and that way you can lightly coat your pan without dousing it in tbs of oil.

Although this side requires a few steps and a good deal of chopping, it only takes 35 minutes from beginning to end (chopping included.)  That's not bad for a Thanksgiving side dish!  The speed of this dish is due to my use of what I call flash sauteing: sauteing for only a couple of minutes until warm.

I recommend this be the last thing you cook and serve it up instantly.  I'd imagine the recipe below would be enough to act as sides for a family dinner.  Feel free to double the recipe to satisfy the company that undoubtedly comes with a holiday meal.  Also, you can mix the dish with green and serve up a hearty salad.

Thanksgiving Fruit & Vegetable Medley

1/2 small butternut squash (You will only use half of 1 squash for this recipe.  Save the other side for another side dish or for soup.)
1 lb green beans, snapped horizontally in half
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 large gala apple, (peeled, core and cut into 4 sides.  Then length-wise, cut thin slices out of the sides)
3 oz pomegranate seeds
1/2 tbs lemon juice
herbs de provence to taste or fresh rosemary, thyme, sage blend
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut butternut first in half horizontally, than each piece lengthwise to give you 4 pieces of squash.  

Peel the two squash pieces without the guts.  Be careful!  Squash is hard to peel and must be done with a sharp knife!
Cut the peeled squash piece into 2 pieces of about 1/2"-1" thickness.
Then cut pieces into small cubes of squash.  Repeat with other peeled squash pieces.
Spray/toss cubes lightly with olive oil and fold in a foil packet.
Place in oven for about 35 minutes.

In a large pan sprayed lightly with olive oil, saute green beans on medium heat until tender yet still al dente.  This should only take minutes.  Do not overcook!
Remove green beans from pan and set aside.

Saute red onion in same pan just until onions are sweating a bit and begin to get tender.  Do not brown!  You still want the onions to have tang and a bit of a crunch.  Remove onions and mix with green beans, set aside.

Toss apple with lemon juice and flash saute until apples are just warmed.  Do not overcook or you'll have another side dish- applesauce!
Remove apple and mix with other veggies, set aside.

Remove squash from oven when the 35 mins end (which should be around now.) 

Add squash to other vegetables and toss with care.  You don't want to squash the squash.
Sprinkle herbs and pomegranate seeds on top and toss again.

Finally you're done and ready to serve and enjoy!  Trust me, everyone will love this side dish.  It might even make you forget to reach for the stuffing first ;)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's a combination I would have never thought of. You're a genius yourself!