I don’t know about you, but whenever I prepare a big meal, for a holiday, a party or whatever the occasion might be, I always like to include something light and fresh to the menu, just for a little balance. Like, let’s say, a salad.
I absolutely love salads. And I love the fact that you can create them so they can complement any meal. To me, they’re like a white canvas. You can mix and match ingredients, colors, flavors and textures, so really, they can never be boring!
I personally enjoy playing with different colors and textures. The more, the better. So you get the visual appeal and the health benefits too!
I love this salad because it really has a little bit of everything: beautiful colors from all the different vegetables; contrast in textures, crunch for the pomegranate seeds, creaminess from the avocado, a little chewiness for the mushrooms; and a whole lot of flavors going on, from the smokiness of the tempeh to the sweetness and tang of the dressing. It’s even nutritionally balanced!
All that in one little salad.
So if you’re looking to add a little freshness to your Thanksgiving table this year, whether you go vegan or traditional, give this salad a try! I’m pretty sure it will be a crowd pleaser.
- Prep time: 15 minutes
- Cook time: 30 minutes
- Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1 medium size winter squash (here we used butternut), sliced into 1/2 to 1/4-inch thick slices
- 2 portabella mushroom caps, sliced
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 3 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 large avocado, sliced
- 3/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
- 5oz baby arugula
Crispy Tempeh Bits
- 1-8oz package tempeh
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbs smoked paprika (we use Pimentón de la Vera)
Warm Pomegranate Vinaigrette (makes about 1 cup):
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp grain mustard
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp agave nectar (We use Wholesome Sweeteners Raw Blue Agave)
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
- Place winter squash slices in a large resealable plastic bag. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. “Massage” the bag with your hands so the squash gets well coated with olive oil and spices.
- Arrange squash slices on one of the baking sheets and bake at 400F for about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool
- Cut tempeh into small bite size pieces
- In a large bowl, mix tempeh with salt, olive oil and smoked paprika until well coated
- Place tempeh on the other baking sheet and bake at 400F for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In the meantime, season portabella caps with ¼ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and ½ tsp garlic powder. Sauté in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool
- Lightly toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over low heat, until golden brown, 2-3 minutes
- To prepare the dressing, sauté shallots in olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan for about 5 minutes.
- Add pomegranate juice, mustards, salt, agave and vinegar and mix well. Cook over medium heat whisking often, for 12-15 minutes, until reduced. Set aside to cool slightly
- Arrange washed arugula in a large platter. Top with cooked squash, Portabella mushrooms, pine nuts, avocado and pomegranate seeds
- Dress it with warm pomegranate vinaigrette right before serving
Cut squash into 1/2 to 1/4-inch thick slices and season well with salt, pepper, cinnamon and olive oilCut tempeh into small bite size pieces. Mix with salt, olive oil and smoked paprika until well coated
ENJOY! From May I have that recipe