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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Harvest Salad

I just love the colors of this salad! And yes it is still considered a salad, even though there's no lettuce or green leafy stuff in it.

According to Wikipedia (the world’s source for all information besides Google), a salad is "a various mixture of raw and cooked vegetables seasoned with a vinegar", balsamic vinegar reduction in this case.

So yes, this is a salad by those terms. And what a wonderful salad it is!

I've combined butternut squash, sweet potatoes, beets, French green beans, Brussels sprouts, persimmons, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts. As if that wasn't enough, I've also added…

It even looks beautiful without the blueberries!

A drizzling of balsamic vinegar reduction (homemade, of course!) over all those wonderfully healthy foods and a handful of fresh blueberries warmed with honey to top it all off with!

The result is a lightly sweet, healthy, and beautifully colored salad that will be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving table.

A perfect dish for all the vegans (and non-vegans) who will be attending your home on Thanksgiving Day! Plus, it’s also gluten-free, soy-free, and paleo friendly.

I've included directions for baking the butternut squash, sweet potato, beet, French green beans, Brussels sprouts, and warmed blueberries below. Plus, I've listed a link for making Balsamic vinegar reduction in the helpful hints section below the cooking directions.

One of the best things about this salad, especially if you're making it for Thanksgiving, is you can prepare the butternut squash, sweet potatoes, beets, and pomegranate a day or two ahead to save you some time. Then before you serve it, just pop those ingredients in the microwave to warm them up again and finish with the remaining ingredients.

You'll definitely want to wait to prepare the green beans, Brussels sprouts, and blueberries until it's time to serve them since they taste best right after preparing.

I hope you don't just make this salad only for Thanksgiving, as you can enjoy it anytime of the year for a healthy and flavorful meal or side dish.

Harvest Salad

Recipe by Julie Murphy
A healthy salad with a variety of Autumn fruit and vegetables. Paleo friendly, gluten-free, soy-free.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours (includes baking time for squash, sweet potato, and beet)
Yield: 4 servings
  • 1 butternut squash, roasted
  • 1 sweet potato, baked and cut into small chunks
  • 1 beet, baked
  • 1 bunch French green beans
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 1 Fuyu persimmon, cored and sliced
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, shelled
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar reduction
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
  2. Wash, rinse, and dry whole butternut squash, sweet potato, and beet.
  3. Pierce sweet potato a few times with a sharp knife. Wrap sweet potato in aluminum foil.
  4. Wrap beet in aluminum foil.
  5. Place whole butternut squash onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. You can place sweet potato in a small pan or fit it onto cookie sheet with butternut squash.
  7. Place butternut squash, sweet potato, and beet into oven and bake for 55-60 minutes.
  8. While those are baking, open up pomegranate and remove seeds. Place seeds into an airtight container and store in refrigerator until ready to add into salad.
  9. Wash and rinse persimmon. Core and slice. Set aside.
  10. After butternut squash, sweet potato, and beet are done baking. It's time to prepare Brussels sprouts and green beans.
  11. To prepare Brussels sprouts, add water, sea salt, and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Add in Brussels sprouts and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Drain by pouring into a colander.
  12. Add Brussels sprouts back into pan, combine 1 to 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Gently mix together, coating all of the Brussels sprouts with oil vinegar mix.
  13. Place Brussels sprouts onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 400F degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly roasted. Check after 10 minutes.
  14. To prepare green beans, preheat oven to 425F degrees. Place a clean, ungreased cookie sheet into preheated oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place green beans into a small bowl. Combine with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and a dash of sea salt.
  15. Spread green beans evenly over cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
  16. After butternut squash, sweet potato, and beet have cooled off, its now time to prepare them.
  17. For butternut squash, cut in half, remove seeds, and cut into small cubes. Place onto serving platter.
  18. For sweet potato, remove skin and cut into small cubes. Add to platter with butternut squash.
  19. To prepare beet, remove outside skin and slice or cut into small chunks. Add to platter.
  20. Add Brussels sprouts and green beans to platter mix.
  21. Arrange persimmon slices, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts throughout squash, sweet potato, beet, green beans, and Brussels sprouts arrangement on platter.
  22. Now its time to prepare the warm blueberries.
  23. Prepare a small frying pan with non-stick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Once warm, add 1 Tablespoon honey and fresh blueberries. Cook over medium to low heat for about 5 minutes until warm. Don't cook too long or blueberries will start to burst. After blueberries are warmed up, pour over other ingredients.
  24. Drizzle balsamic vinegar reduction over the top (or serve on the side) and serve.


*Helpful Hints*
- Link for making your own Balsamic vinegar reduction can be found here ~ How to Make Reduced Balsamic Glaze.

- I find it easier to bake the butternut squash as a whole because they are so difficult to cut before baking.

- If your oven cooks HOT, you might need to turn the butternut squash over after 30 minutes to prevent browning on one side.

- You can always double the ingredients to serve more people. Example is for 8 servings, double the ingredients, and so on. This salad has a very flexible amount of ingredients as you cannot go wrong with a little more or a little less of an ingredient.

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