Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fall Vegetables

Mmmm Fall, so many great foods in season to be excited about- squashes; acorn, butternut, spaghetti, hubbard, root vegetables; beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, celery root, carrots, potatoes. Things like leeks (yum) apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries- if your summer tan is officially gone, it’s time to get working on that winter fat!! I’m just kidding; if anything all of this fabulous food will encourage you to eat fresher and healthier.  Shop the produce aisles & avoid the processed food!  My favorite, easy way to prepare a variety of the above-mentioned foods is via roasting. What better way to prepare easy, healthy side dishes than to cut into even sizes, toss in olive oil, season well with salt & pepper, maybe some garlic salt, maybe some herbs de Provence, or Italian seasoning and thrown into the oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes and great, caramelized delicious vegetables are done! How easy is that? If you have vegetables that you need to use up or if you want a quick side, roasting is the answer. OR if you happen to be making a soup, roasted vegetables are sometimes the precursor to a fabulous version- roasted cauliflower, butternut squash, tomato soup- the extra step of roasting the vegetables lends a smoky or sometimes sweet element to your finished product. I can eat roasted vegetables for dinner or for lunch- I really do enjoy them!  As temperatures continue to dip, I continue looking for hearty, filling dishes- the ones that fill you up, stick to your ribs, are warm and delicious and perfect on these fall and or winter nights.  Of course soups and stews are on my repertoire, but I recently came across a recipe for a nice lentil salad topped with roasted vegetables. Easy, healthy, fits the “hearty” bill and adds additional flavor via the vegetables.  This one combines some fall faves like butternut squash and roasted carrots and also utilizes a light vinaigrette.  I’m very much into this recipe and have made it more than a few times.  This recipe also gets the guy seal of approval, meaning it is THAT hearty.  Give it a shot on a weekend afternoon and make a little extra to take with you to work the next day. 

Makes 4 Servings
  • 1/2 pound carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 1 small acorn squash, halved, seeds removed, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 shallot, halved
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
Heat oven to 425 degrees. On a baking sheet arrange carrots, onion, and squash; drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Roast, turning once, until caramelized and tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, 
place lentils and shallot in a medium saucepan and cover with water by two inches. 

Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until
 lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and discard shallot. Season with salt and pepper. Combine vinegar and mustard. Pour remaining
3 tablespoons oil in a slow steady stream, 
whisking constantly to emulsify the vinaigrette. 

Toss lentils and celery
 with vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Spoon over roasted vegetables.

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