Tahoe recipe: Delicata squash salad with maple pecans a lighter holiday option
The holidays can make it challenging to eat healthy. On Thanksgiving, we always seem to overindulge on mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, gravy, creamy green beans or whatever traditional dishes are a must-have on your table.
This year, try adding a salad to your dinner and enjoy something a little lighter to help balance all of the other carbohydrate-filled dishes. This salad is both filling and delicious!
Here are a few other tips to be just a little bit healthier on Thanksgiving day; start the day with exercise, eat a healthy breakfast and skip the appetizers at dinner. At dinner, try loading your plate with vegetables and meats first, adding the potatoes and stuffing once the plate is full. Have a happy turkey day!
Delicata Squash Salad with Maple Candied Pecans
Makes 4 servings
Maple Candied Pecans ingredients:
1 cup raw whole pecans
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Heat a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the pecans and maple syrup, stir to coat. Continue to stir the pecans constantly until the maple syrup crystallizes and coats the pecans in a sugary coating; this can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes depending on your heat.
Pay close attention to the pecans so as not to burn them. I find it best to cook on low. If the nuts are still sticky and glossy, continue cooking and stirring until crystals start to form. Remove from heat, spread the nuts out on a piece of parchment or foil, and let cool completely. Store any unused pecans in an airtight container.
Apple Cider Vinaigrette ingredients:
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp minced shallots
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Place first five ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend while slowly pouring in the olive oil, until emulsified. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add more honey if it is bitter.
Salad Fixins ingredients:
1 delicata squash
5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup maple glazed pecans (recipe above)
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise, then crosswise; scoop out the seeds. Cut lengthwise into half-inch-thick crescents. Toss with one tablespoon oil and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a little pepper. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until tender. Let cool slightly before serving.
To serve: Lightly toss the arugula with desired amount of apple cider vinaigrette. Place a small handful of dressed greens on each plate. Top with roasted delicata squash, cranberries, shaved red onion, maple pecans and goat cheese. Enjoy!
Chef Arica Davis is owner/operator of Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit http://www.yummyfixins.com or call 530-539-4504 to book your next dinner party.