It’s almost too hard to believe that the holidays are already upon us. Christmas tree lots are starting to pop up on every corner, gift guides are a plenty, and the urge I have to watch Clark Griswold string 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights over and over again is growing by the minute. This year has flown by! And I’m not one to complain. I love this time of year! I love that it’s a time to really slow down and focus on the ones we love.
Ironically, “slowing down” during this time of year tends to transpire as a jam-packed calendar full of work parties, happy hours, Friendsgivings, and all sorts of social events that usually include a lot of indulgent eating (and for some of us, drinking one too many glasses of wine). Which is mostly all fun and games…but for me, also includes a layer of anxiety about what the heck I’m going to eat while sticking on track with my diet.
In the past, I would really let that anxiety take hold and the holidays (in regards to food), became a very negative cycle of food restriction..and then the inevitable falling off the wagon. It was a ton of fun! These days, the anxiety isn’t totally gone, but I’ve found a few things that really help.
First and foremost, I always give myself a little pep talk and remind myself that it’s all about balance. Staying on track with my health goals is incredibly important to me, but if I have a slice of pecan pie or an extra serving of stuffing, there’s no point in beating myself up. It’s okay to veer off course every so often and partake in holiday traditions, which in my family at least, is largely about the food.
Secondly, bring a dish! Aside from the pep talks, I’ve found this approach is the most helpful for me because it switches my role from bystander to contributor. If I bring a dish that I’m excited about, it not only ensures that there’s something I’ll feel really good about eating, but it’s also a fun way to introduce others to a new healthy dish they weren’t expecting.
With that in mind and Thanksgiving right around the corner, we thought we’d share one of our favorite healthy veggie-based recipes. We’re having a bit of a love affair with Delicata Squash right now…I’ve found myself roasting a batch at least twice a week just to have on hand (EVOO, salt and a little pepper, boom). This salad can be eaten as is, or served over greens. And as always, topping it off with a little avocado is highly encouraged. Enjoy and have a happy Thanksgiving!
For the Squash & Cauliflower:
- 1 Delicata Squash
- 1 head Cauliflower
- 4 Tbsp Olive Oil (divided)
- 1 tsp Sea Salt (divided)
- 1 tsp freshly cracked Pepper (divided)
- ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
For the Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette:
- 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard (Amy’s Organics)
- 1/2 Lemon juice and zest
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked Pepper
- 1 clove Garlic put through garlic press
- >1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs)
- 1/4 cup Walnut Oil
- 1/4 cup good Olive Oil
For the Pan Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:
- 1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos (or tamari)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut your Delicata Squash in half the long way, scrape out the seeds, and slice ¼ inch thick “half moons.” Put squash moons in a large bowl and toss with 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, ½ tsp Sea Salt, and ½ tsp Pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Chop or break your Cauliflower into bite-size florets. Using the same bowl you just emptied your squash out of, toss your Cauliflower florets with 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, ½ tsp Sea Salt, ½ tsp Pepper, and ¼ tsp Turmeric. Spread in a single layer on another baking sheet. Place your sheet of Squash and your sheet of Cauliflower in the oven. Roast at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
While your Squash and Cauliflower are roasting, it’s time to make the vinaigrette. It’s easiest to make this dressing in a glass measuring cup. Add Mustard, Lemon (juice and zest), Salt, Pepper, and Garlic into your measuring cup. Then pour enough Vinegar to reach the ¼ cup mark. Whisk well. While whisking, slowly pour in your Walnut oil until the dressing reaches the ½ cup mark. Keep whisking and pour in Olive Oil to the ¾ mark. Taste your dressing and adjust the seasonings to your taste. You will need ⅛ – ¼ cup of dressing for this salad, the rest can be stored in an airtight jar in the cupboard for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for 2 weeks.
Take the sheets out, flip the squash, and stir your Cauliflower (flipping is good, but the little buggers roll around a lot, so just get them unstuck from your backing sheet, and tossed them about a bit). Place the sheets back in your oven, swapping which rack they were on, so if your Squash was on the lower rack, put your Cauliflower on the lower rack this time. Roast for 10 more minutes.
While your Squash and Cauliflower are finishing up, you have time to toast your Pumpkin Seeds. Heat your skillet over medium-high heat, add in you Pumpkin Seeds. Stir frequently with a spatula to avoid burning, after about 5 minutes you should see your seeds start to turn toasty, and you’ll probably hear some pops. You may need to lower your flame a little. When you start to see your seeds looking lightly toasted, add in your Soy Sauce (or Coconut Aminos) Stir a lot, the sauce likes to stick and burn. Keep stirring for about a minute, until all the liquid evaporates and the sauce sticks to your seeds. Transfer your seeds to a plate to cool.
When your squash and cauliflower are done, take your baking sheets out of the oven and let the veggies cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temp, put a scoop of squash and a scoop of cauliflower, maybe over a bed of fresh arugula if your wanting a little green, drizzle with a tablespoon or 2 of dressing and sprinkle on some pumpkin seeds.