Fall Cornbread Panzanella Salad

I’m hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year, and I don’t know about you, but I think it’s fun to add a more unique side to the mix of traditional fare usually served at a Thanksgiving feast.  I threw together this salad recently and all I could think while I was eating it is that it pretty much embodies “fall in a bowl.”  The jewel toned colors of the vegetables served warm over a bed of spinach and hearty cornbread is somehow both healthy and comforting at the same time.  I think it would be the perfect addition to your holiday table and could even serve as a stuffing substitute for the more health conscious diner.  Here’s to adding a little variety at your Thanksgiving table this year!

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This salad has three components that need to be made before assembling the salad.  Start by making a simple cornbread.  I’ve included a gluten free version in this recipe, but you could certainly make a regular version if you aren’t sensitive to gluten.   Let the cornbread cool and then cube it and toss it with a few tablespoons of oil.   Toast it in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or so.

The second component is a mixture of root vegetables, red onions and brussels sprouts that are roasted until caramelized.  Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the salad’s  vinaigrette.

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Once you have all the components, simply toss everything together with some gorgonzola cheese, sugared pecans and fresh spinach and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

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Fall Cornbread Panzanella Salad (adapted from Naturally Ella)

Ingredients:

CORNBREAD

1 1/4 c flour

3/4 c cornmeal

1/4 c sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 c buttermilk

1/4 c melted butter

1 egg

ROASTED VEGGIES

1 sweet potato

1 1/2 cups quartered brussels sprouts

1/2 medium red onion, diced

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

SALAD
1/2 cup sugared pecans chopped
1 oz gorgonzola cheese
3 cups fresh spinach
DRESSING
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  Preheat oven to 350˚. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, butter and buttermilk. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until batter is just combined. Pour into a greased 9″ square pan and bake until golden, about 20 min.  Allow to cool.  Cut cornbread into ½” cubes.  Toss with 2 tbsp oil and place on a cookie sheet. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and toast the cornbread for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  To roast vegetables, peel and cut sweet potatoes into ½” cubes. Toss with quartered brussels sprouts, onion, 1 tbsp oil, salt, and pepper. Place in the oven and roast until vegetables are tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  Meanwhile, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and maple syrup in a dressing carafe. Shake well until vinaigrette is combined.
  Toss roasted vegetables, toasted cornbread, spinach, pecans and gorgonzola cheese in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing on top and toss to coat.
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Vegan Scallion Pancakes with Brown Rice Flour

By Megan 

The other night I was making a soup and thinking, “Hmmm, what could I make to go with this beside just my normal salad, potatoes, or roasted veggies?”  I came across this recipe for these miniature, crispy scallion pancakes in my It’s All Good cookbook and immediately knew I had to try them.  Plus, the shock value of announcing that we were having pancakes for dinner was well worth it.  Once made, it was hard to keep my fingers off these bite size, savory treats and they paired perfectly with the soup I had made.  I will make them again in the future as they are so versatile and a unique pairing to any meal.  Warning before you get to cooking: these babies are addictive and finger-lickin good!

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These little gems are so simple to make. You simply mix the batter and then slice the scallions thinly to add to the batter.

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Once the batter has been mixed, oil your pan with a neutral oil (like canola oil, grapeseed, or safflower oil), and allow to heat. Use a tablespoon measure to spoon the batter into the hot oil.  When you see the edges begin to bubble and brown, flip the pancake to brown the other side.  These miniature delights should be crispy on the edges and softer toward the middle. So delicious!

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Scallion Pancakes with Brown Rice Flour:

1 cup white spelt flour, if you can tolerate a little gluten, or all-purpose gluten-free flour (if the flour doesn’t include Xanthan gum, and 1/2 teaspoon)

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1 1/4 cups ice water

1 Tbs. sesame oil

1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts only

Neutral oil (canola, grapeseed, or safflower oil) for frying

Coarse sea salt

Whisk the flours together with the water and sesame oil. Fold in the scallions and a large pinch of salt. Heat a shallow layer (about 1/4-inch) of oil in a large nonstick pan over high heat and add as many tablespoonfuls of batter as will fit without crowding.  Cook each pancake until it’s nicely browned, about 2 minutes on a side.  Drain the pancakes on a plate lined with a paper towel and sprinkle each with a tiny pinch of salt. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan as needed. Serve these immediately! 

Roasted Pine Nut and Date Cauliflower

By Megan 

Let’s be honest Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that just needs a little something to make it truly palatable unless of course you are one of those rare people that enjoy chomping on raw veggies.  Even when I was on a mostly raw diet, I couldn’t learn to enjoy it plain.  I am a lover of vegetables so I knew that if I didn’t enjoy cauliflower that much there was no way I was going to get my husband to eat it.  This recipe proved me wrong!  My husband ate most of the entire recipe and loved it so much I made a variation of the same dish the next day.  Prepare to fall in love with Cauliflower all over again…….or for the first time ha!Image

Another major plus to this recipe is that it is super easy.  Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees.  Cut the cauliflower into small chunks and spread evenly over a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

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Now for that component that makes this cauliflower so delicious…..the “sauce”.  I put it in quotations because it’s not really a sauce but I’m not sure what else to call it.  In a separate pan toast the pine nuts in some olive oil and after a few minutes add garlic, dates, salt and pepper.  Let simmer for 2-3 more minutes.

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Place the cooked cauliflower in a bowl and then just simply pour the “sauce” over the top and mix.  This dish reminded me of something you would eat on Christmas.  It made me feel all warm and cozy inside.  I hope it makes you feel just as nostalgic!

Tips: I used olive oil instead of the butter the recipe calls for.  The second time I made it I substituted half the oil for balsamic vinegar and a tsp. of brown sugar for all you fat conscious people out there.  It was equally as delicious and I did not miss the extra fat at all.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Pine Nuts (From 5 Ingredient Fix)

1 large head Cauliflower cut into florets

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

4 Tbs. unsalted butter or olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Evenly spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to the oven and roast, tossing once with a spatula, until golden brown at the edges, about 20 minutes.

Put the butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat.  Once it’s melted, add the pine nuts and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and dates and continue cooking until the garlic and dates are softened, 2 to 3 minutes more; season with salt.

Transfer the hot cauliflower to a serving bowl, drizzle the pine nut mixture over the top, and toss to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and serve warm or at room temperature.

One Pot Tomato Basil Rice

My favorite things to make are those that have very few ingredients, but each ingredient is so exceptional in its taste that you can pick out each flavor in the dish.  This dish is one of those masterpieces that becomes a staple in your summer cooking.  Incredibly easy and yet richly flavored, this dish is made in just one pot.   It’s also pretty foolproof as evidenced by the fact that I got distracted halfway through with my girls who decided to snag the bottle of cleaner I had just used to wipe up some meat drippings so they could “clean” each other off.  Somehow, the rice still tasted amazing even though I let it cook too long and didn’t stir it.     It is a balance of creaminess from a rich tomato broth and brightness from fresh basil.  A perfect summer side dish.

Simply start with one cup of rice and two cups of water in a medium size pot.  I chose Arborio rice (I know, it’s supposed to be used in risotto, but I think it works with this preparation too).  You could also use long grain white rice or even brown rice.

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Add some thinly sliced onion, chopped garlic, quartered tomatoes and olive oil.

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Allow the mixture to come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  The vegetables will create a broth that is absorbed into the rice.

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Stir every so often and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

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Serve it in bowls drizzled with olive oil, and topped with shredded basil and parmesan.  Eat and repeat because it’s too hard to resist.

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One Pot Tomato Basil Rice (adapted from Smitten Kitchen–serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 cup long grain rice, brown rice, arborio rice or farro

2 cups water

1/2 white onion halved and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

9 oz cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes or whatever you have on hand

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/4 cup shredded basil

Directions:

Add the rice, water, onion, garlic, tomatoes and 1 tbsp olive oil to a medium size pot.  Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes (depending on the grain you have chosen), stirring halfway through.  Once the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, divide into 4 bowls and top each bowl with 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp parmesan, and 1 tbsp shredded basil.