Favorite Fall foods (Part 3): Apples and Butternut Squash
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In this third and final installment of my three-part “Favorite Fall Foods” series you’ll find two delicious picks—apples and butternut squash—from cookbook author and culinary instructor Robyn Webb. Learn why she loves these fall foods and how to use them to create appealing and nutritious meals you and your family are sure to devour.
They say that chicken is the “little black dress” of the food world, but I say it’s apples! Apples are so versatile—you can eat them out of hand, cook them, slice them in salads, sauté them and add to stuffing or use them to make applesauce; the ideas are endless. They are the best fruit to satisfy the need for crunch and they take a considerable amount of time to eat which keeps you full in the long run. And eating an apple cleans your breath naturally—they don’t call apples nature’s toothbrush for nothing! They’re also rich in pectin, which might help you manage your cholesterol.
APPLE FENNEL WALNUT SALAD
Yield: 12 servings
Serving size: 1 cup
2 medium Braeburn apples, unpeeled (about 6 ounces)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 large fennel bulb
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp coarse Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/3 cup walnut oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1. Core and quarter the apples. Slice the apples into thin pieces, and add to a bowl. Sprinkle with the 2 tsp lemon juice and toss to coat. Set aside.
2. Prepare the fennel. Cut off the stalks and fronds( the leafy part) from the fennel bulb. Save the stalls to flavor a homemade soup. Chop 2 tsp of the fennel fronds to reserve for the dressing. The remainder fennel fronts can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerate. Trim the base of the fennel bulb. If the outer layer of the bulb appears dry and tough, remove it and discard. With a sharp knife, cut the remaining bulb into julienned pieces. Add the fennel to the apples. Add the red onion and toss.
3. Prepare the dressing; in a small bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar, lemon juice, honey, mustard, garlic and the 2 tsp reserved chopped fennel fronds. Slowly add the oil in a thin stream whisking until the dressing is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the arugula to a large bowl. Add in half the dressing and toss well using tongs.Pile the arugula on a large platter. Add the remaining dressing to the apple fennel mixture. Put the salad on top of the arugula.
5. Garnish the salad with the cranberries, walnuts and cheese.
You’d be hard pressed to find any other vegetable that gives you a creamy texture and rich flavor better than butternut squash. I love the sweet taste as well. The vegetable has a gorgeous color and there are so many ways to prepare it—boiled, mashed, roasted, puréed into soup, or baked into quick breads. If I had to pick, I’d choose butternut squash over most other starches—in my opinion, grains, pasta and breads take second fiddle to butternut squash.
THAI SHRIMP WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Yield: 8 servings
Serving size: 3/4 cup shrimp, 1/2 cup brown rice
1 small butternut squash
1 Tbsp peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp peeled and grated ginger
1 1/4 cups lite coconut milk
2 Tbsp red curry paste
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, sliced into strips Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp
1 tsp brown sugar
Cooked brown rice
2 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1/2 cup toasted cashews
1. Prepare the butternut squash. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife. Cut the squash in half crosswise. Then cut each half in half again. Scoop out the seeds from the lower half of the squash and discard the seeds. Cut the squash into 1/2 cubes. Add the squash with water to cover in a 6 quart to a boil. Boil the squash for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain gently.
2. In a heavy skillet or large wok, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute. Add half the coconut milk and the curry paste and bring to a light boil. Cook 2 minutes until fragrant.
3. Add in the carrots and red pepper and simmer on low heat for 7-8 minutes.
4. Add the remaining coconut milk, butternut squash, salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add in the shrimp and sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Serve over brown rice and garnish with cilantro and cashews
Source: Robyn Webb, MS, award-winning cookbook author, culinary instructor and Food Editor of Diabetes Forecast Magazine. She has written 16 cookbooks including The Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook. [Webb also created the recipes for my latest book, Younger Next Week.]
To learn more about Webb and her wonderful work, visit her website.
Here are some other great recipes using apples and butternut squash from Food, Fitness & Fiction:
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