Incredible Foods for the Holidays

by Anouk Booneman

I hope that your Thanksgiving has been as enjoyable as mine. I was fortunate enough to spend it with my friend and co founder of Spring into Health, Danielle Maslowski. We all pitched in for the meal and it was delicious. I brought two salads, that will be part of my December rotation. Ottolenghi’s sweet potato and fig salad was mentioned in November and is always a crowd pleaser. I was very happy with a new salad that I made, featuring radicchio, pan di zuchero, kale, pomegranate, persimmons and caviar lime.

I have also made a lot of soups lately. Soup makes for a quick and easy comfort food, especially when it’s chilly outside. Soups are good for your body and your soul and the ultimate way to use those veggies hidden in the vegetable drawer.

Squash season has arrived, and with it comes endless possibilities for soups, pies, side dishes, casseroles, and more. You have probably seen different types of squash at the grocery store. I am still enthusiastic about them. Comes March probably not so much anymore.

IMG_7474Final.jpgAnother root that has started to be more prominent is the celeriac. While available year-round, peak seasons are September to April.  It looks like a misshapen turnip with a knobby surface. It’s popular in Eastern and Northern Europe as a winter vegetable and used in salads, soups and stews. Celeriac rémoulade is a popular French dish usually served as an appetizer. It’s grated celery root with mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

If you are interested in our Spring into health with Anouk and Danielle workshops or would like to know more about plant based cooking click here to contact us or like us on Facebook.

Enjoy the following recipes that will definitely spice up your holidays!

Persimmon radicchio salad

1 head of Radicchio
Salad greens of your choice (I used kale and pan di zucherro*)
1-persimon* sliced
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
1/4 cp of feta (optional)
1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds
Red wine vinegar (I used caviar limes* for the acidic component of the salad)
olive oil

Rinse and roughly chop the greens (I used kale as my green and massaged it first with some oil and salt) I also used pan di zucchero.  Slice persimmons, and thinly slice onions in half rounds.In a large bowl combine radicchio and salad greens. Add sliced persimmons, onions, pomegranate seeds and feta (if using). Drizzle with oil and vinegar. I omitted that step since I used the oil to massage the kale. For my acid component I used lime caviar.

* pan di zucchero or sugarloaf chicory is a slightly bitter green with sweet undertones. I have never seen it in the regular supermarket, but I get mine at the Feather bed lane farm where I have a year round CSA (community supported agriculture) subscription.

*Persimmons are a divine fall and winter treat. They can be found at your local supermarket. I got mine trough fruit It’s definitely pricier, but I really liked the quality of their produce.  They should be eaten when ripe though. A ripe persimmon will be orange red, but still a little firm to the touch. Spoon out the flesh and eat as is or use it in a salad. Persimmons can still be eaten when overripe. If you don’t enjoy the skin, blanch (immerse in boiling water for ten seconds) and peel.

*Lime caviar is my fruit discovery of the year. I get them through the site fruit It’s a lime variation filled with citrus pearls that do look a bit like caviar. A little goes a long way and they hold really well.

Hasselback Butternut Squash (Recipe is from Purple Carrot)

I made this recipe with a large butternut and very small ones that I get through the Featherbed Lane Farm. Both work.

  • 1 butternut squash (or 4 mini ones)
  • 1/4 cup turbinado  (or cane sugar)  sugar
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 oz fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp dukkah spice*
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper*

Prepare the squash

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Using a peeler, remove skin and white flesh below (you should reach the deep orange flesh). Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a large spoon. Place on a baking sheet and rub with 1 tbsp vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the halves, cut side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until barely tender, about 15 to 18 minutes.

Make the glaze

Place a small saucepan over medium heat and combine the sugar, apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Whisk to dissolve, then bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Make the Rosemary Pecan Dukkah

Roughly chop the pecans. Pick the rosemary leaves, discard the stems, then finely chop half the leaves. Add the chopped pecans, chopped rosemary, and dukkah spice to a medium bowl and toss the rosemary pecan dukkah to combine.

Slice the squash

Remove the squash from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, score the squash crosswise, without cutting all the way through. Return squash to baking sheet and tuck remaining rosemary leaves between a few of the slices. Drizzle half the cider glaze over the squash, then roast in oven until tender, about 15 to 18 minutes.


Drizzle the Hasselback butternut squash with the remaining cider glaze, then sprinkle with rosemary pecan dukkah.

*dukkah: dukkah has definitely become very popular in the last few years. It’s an Egyptian and middle eastern condiment consisting of a mixture of herbs, nuts and spices. It’s easy to make but I get mine at SpiceTrekkers.

Lentil Coconut Soup (Purple Carrot)

This is a lovely soup. Very easy to make. I usually have all these ingredients on hand. The roasted vegetables on top make it very special. Make a big pot for a few dinners and lunches

  • 8 oz cauliflower florets
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 onion
  • 1 oz fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 scallion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil*
  • Salt and pepper*

Roast the vegetables

Preheat the oven to 400°F for roasted vegetables. Cut the cauliflower into smaller florets. Peel and slice the carrots on the diagonal into ½ inch thick slices. Add the cauliflower and carrots to a baking sheet and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, caraway seeds, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until tender and browned in places, about 18 to 22 minutes.

Peel and dice the onion. Peel and mince the ginger and garlic. Rinse and sort the red lentils.

Place a large pot over medium-high heat with 1 tbsp olive oil. Once hot, add the diced onion, and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mince ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Simmer the lentils

Add the tomato paste and curry powder to the pot and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the red lentils, 2½ cups water, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 15 to 18 minutes.

Add the coconut milk

Open the coconut milk and reserve just 1 tbsp of the coconut cream for garnish. Once the lentils are tender, add the remaining coconut milk and stir. Bring soup to a simmer, taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the scallion.

Ladle the coconut lentil soup into large, shallow bowls and top with caraway roasted vegetables. Add a dollop of

Celeriac salad

  • 1 (1 1/2-lb) celery root, peeled with a sharp knife and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

 Coarsely grate celery root in a food processor fitted with medium shredding disk or a grater. I usually use a grater, it’s faster.

Stir together vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until salt is dissolved, then add celery root, chopped nuts, parsley, and shallot and toss well. Drizzle salad with oil and toss again. Serve sprinkled with remaining pecans.

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