If there is one thing I love most about cooler temps it is ALL THE SOUP.
I’m one of those people that could live off soup when the temps drop but my better half doesn’t agree and if we have soup he demands something to dip into it, like corn bread, biscuits, crusty bread or crackers, which I agree to ALWAYS so I can have soup.
One of the first soups I always make in the Fall is this soup! Butternut squash starts popping up in my grocery store and I immediately start collecting the ingredients to make this soup. And most of the time I already have all the ingredients in my pantry, sans the butternut squash. This recipe only has 5 ingredients (if you don’t count olive oil, salt, pepper or condiments). Plus I love anything I can prepare with minimal clean up and this one pretty much fits that bill. All you need is two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (makes for a quicker clean up), large pot and an immersion blender or stand alone blender. Bonus: leftovers. Soup is always better the next day and this one is no exception!
This recipe whips up pretty quick making for a great weeknight meal. Butternut squash, onion and green apples get tossed in olive oil and S&P and nicely roasted…I know what you’re thinking, apples?! YES!! It’s a must, it lends a nice sweetness and balances out the flavors perfectly. Everything gets puréed with some broth and poured into a large pot to heat up while you continue to add more broth to thin out the soup as needed. The addition of curry powder adds a nice spice and with the condiments of toasted coconut and green onions the flavors harmonize perfectly! You’ll wonder why you never thought of curry and apples in butternut squash soup before.
I hope you enjoy this soup as mush as I do. Please let me know if you give it a try by tagging me #platefulnutrition on IG.
I have been experimenting a lot lately with cashews. Cashews are a mild tasting nut, super versatile and nutrition power house. Noted as one of the healthiest nuts it aids in heart health, supports brain function and improves nutrient absorption of foods it is eaten with.
It amazes me how soaking cashews can turn into a creamy decadent sauce when blended. Cashew sauce is an amazing invention (one I wish I discovered but did not). It’s a great alternative for those who cannot tolerate dairy, gluten or wish to eat vegan as it contains only plant-based ingredients and no milk, cheese or flour as most creamy sauces contain. It’s also a great substitute for those looking to increase the nutritional value of their meal as cashews are a great source of protein, essential minerals, mono- and poly-unsaturated fats.
I’ve used the base of this cashew sauce (sans the butternut squash as an all-purpose sauce) for numerous dishes, like alfredo sauce, mac and cheese, twice baked potato filling, topping to my soups or chili, etc. But one of my all time favorite ways to use cashew cream is in this recipe! It’s a very easy recipe and you won’t even realize there are cashews in it.
I blend soaked cashews with some onion, lemon juice and garlic to create a delicious creamy and flavorful base. To this sauce I also blend in nutritional yeast which lends to a “cheesy” like taste. Without the butternut squash, the sauce makes a great base sauce but I wanted a “mac & cheese” type dish. So I roasted fresh butternut squash and pureed this with a little water until creamy and smooth which gives a great orange color to look like “cheese” sauce. To the butternut squash I add the cashew cream sauce until it created a creamy consistency to mix with pasta noodles. Taste is creamy and flavorful with a subtle sweetness from the butternut squash shining through. This sauce pairs perfectly with pasta noodles making for a healthier mac and cheese-like dish, without the cheese!
Nutritional yeast is a type of yeast from saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nutritional yeast is a significant source of B-vitamins and often lends a cheesy flavor to foods it is added to.
I used elbow pasta noodles from Banza which uses chickpea flour to create a high protein, gluten-free (GF) pasta. I really liked this pasta. It was not too starchy and didn’t become a sticky mess like some of the corn-based GF pastas can be. It had a great neutral taste so it worked well with this recipe so the sauce could really be the star.
I also really like broccoli in my mac & cheese so I threw in some of that too but you can absolutely leave that out and by all means add some cheese if you like! I’d recommend something like shredded gruyere or another good melty cheese.
This dish is really perfect for Fall. I’ll be enjoying a bowl of this for a cozy night in!
With the cooler temps approaching, warm & cozy meals are a must! Many parts of the country are experiencing a dip in temp but here in South Texas we are still above 95 degrees! Despite this, I am making all the Fall foods and this recipe is one delicious bowl of comfort! I’ll pretend I am eating it in front of a warm cracking fire as the leaves are falling outside. Can you tell I miss the PNW much? I do love my seasons, so Texas has been an adjustment for me. In South Texas we basically have Spring and Summer weather, which has its perks but there is something about the leaves changing color, a cooler breeze, and cozier nights that transitions you to a new season. So in preparation of these cooler months to come, this coconut curry “meatless” meatball dish is the perfect meal for a cozy night in.
Coconut and curry are some of my favorite flavors. I love the creaminess coconut adds and curry provides an aromatic warm spice flavor. Together these two make a great combo creating the creamiest flavorful sauce inspired by Halfbaked Harvest’s version. Plus curry provides a ton of health benefits, more on this a little later.
This dish takes a little effort, especially if you are making your meatballs from scratch. In Halfbaked Harvest’s original recipe she uses homemade chicken meatballs however I opted to make this recipe 100% vegetarian so created my all time favorite Lentil Meatballs from Sprouted Kitchen. These meatballs combine lentils, parsley, eggs, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs then cooked in the oven to create a dense but flavorful meatless meatball. It really works perfectly in this creamy coconut curry sauce! YUM!
To save time I use precooked lentils from Trader Joes. I also double the meatball recipe and freeze the extras so the next time I make this I can whip it up in half the time. You could easily double any meatball recipe you are using and do the same thing. Or skip the meatball making process and buy your favorite premade frozen meatballs. Either way, this dish is really all in the sauce!
MEAL PREP TIP: Precooked lentils & double the meatball recipe to freeze and next time you can have this dish ready in 15 minutes!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CURRY
Curry is a well know spice typically used in Indian and Thai cooking. Curry is not a single spice but a combination of several spices; turmeric, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, etc. Each curry may have a different blend of these spices and therefore may vary some on the potential health benefits.
Turmeric tends to be one of the most researched spices in curry. Turmeric is what gives curry its yellow color and contains the active compound called curcumin; powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Most well known benefits of curry are:
Relieves joint pain
Detoxifies the liver
Fights cancer causing free radicals
Delays degenerative diseases
If you are not a fan of curry but want to reap the benefits you can buy turmeric or curcumin capsules sold at most health food stores. The capsules are actually more potent than curry powder itself and would allow you to see the benefits sooner.
If you like curry, I encourage you to try this recipe if not for the health benefits than the delicious warm bowl of curry and meatballs!
Enjoy and be sure to tag #platefulnutrition in your recipes!
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so I have a deep love for salmon. I realize now living in Texas how truly spoiled I was to have fresh wild caught salmon at my fingers tips. My absolute favorite salmon is the Copper River King Salmon that appears around late spring/summer months.
“Every year (May – September) king, sockeye and coho return to the Copper River to make the arduous 300-mile migration up the turbulent waters in order to spawn. Because the Copper River is so long and steep (gains an average elevation of 12 feet per mile) these fish must pack on sufficient fat reserves to fuel their epic journey–resulting in salmon that is rich in heart- healthy omega-3 fatty acids and flavorful oils.”
Copper river king salmon oozes fat and literally melts in your mouth. This fish is also very odorless and only needs salt & pepper to let the natural flavors shine. I had the opportunity to have an overwhelming supply of this fish when I lived near Oregon. My husband’s uncle is a fisherman and dropped of pounds of this gold at our doorstep regularly. Boy was I spoiled! The funny thing is my husband did not like salmon at the time, so I got this delicious fish ALL to myself! Today my husband still gets sad over this lost opportunity now that he enjoys salmon. Copper river king salmon is very expensive but if you ever see it I highly recommend you splurge and savor this delicious seasonal salmon, best money spent in my opinion!
Now that I am in Texas my salmon expectations have had to adjust a little. I continue to buy wild salmon because I do believe it has superior benefits and taste to farm raised. My local Whole Foods will carry wild king salmon and I have also purchased Trident Seafood’s frozen wild salmon sold at Costco or Trader Joe’s frozen wild sockeye.
For this recipe, I used the Trident Seafood’s frozen wild salmon but any type of fresh or frozen salmon will do for this recipe. I find previously frozen salmon can be less desirable than fresh so I really like this recipe, all the fresh herbs add a lot of flavor.
This recipe not only adds a wonderful herb taste to the salmon but it comes together in under 15 minutes and only requires minimum of 3 ingredients; herbs, butter & salmon!
I especially enjoy this salmon over the kale & chard caesar salad! Tossed in the creamiest yogurt-based caesar dressing and pecorino cheese, YUM! This salad & salmon combo really makes the healthiest weeknight meal. Omega-3 fats from the salmon and all the nutrient-dense vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients like iron, calcium and fiber from the dark leafy greens. Best part is this meal whips up quick and the salad makes enough for leftovers! Kale and chard both hold up super well with dressing. You can prep a big bowl of this salad, store it and it will still be crunchy tomorrow.
HERB ROASTED SALMON RECIPE:
You can use really any extra fresh herbs you have on hand; basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, dill, chives, etc….all combos work but I only choose about 3 herbs to use at a time. My favorite combo is fresh dill, chives and parsley.
In a oven-safe pan like stainless steel skillet or cast iron add the butter and herbs and place into 425 degree oven for about 5 minutes until the butter is melted and herbs are sizzling in the butter but not burnt.
Make sure to thaw your salmon if previously frozen. Once butter is melted place thawed salmon skin side up and return to the hot oven for another 4-5 minutes.
Carefully remove the hot pan out of the oven and gently pull away the salmon’s skin. It should pull away fairly easy if not return salmon to oven for another minute or two.
Once the skin is removed, season salmon with salt and pepper. Flip salmon over and season again. Return salmon back to oven for another 3 minutes or until done depending on the thickness of your filet. You should see some white fat oozing out and filet glistening.
Remove from oven once cooked through and finish with extra fresh herbs. Feel free to spoon the extra herby-butter over the salmon before serving. I find this cooking method keeps the salmon very moist.
For a variation of this recipe, I used What’s Gaby Cooking All Things Seafood seasoning sold at Williams Sonoma. This Herb rub is great if you don’t have fresh herbs on hand or maybe only 1-2 fresh herbs this seasoning can give a boost of flavor if needed, but not necessary.
Crispy sprouts are amazing! This dish can turn any brussel sprout hater surprisingly around. Just ask my husband, who requests this side dish weekly now.
No mushy spouts here. These little cabbages get roasted in the oven at a high temp until the leaves get dark and crispy.
Now to make these sprouts even better they get tossed in a delicious Caesar dressing for the best ever brussel sprout recipe! It’s just like Caesar salad but better because its tossed with crispy warm sprouts and the dressing is simple and healthy – not the usual Caesar dressing.
The Caesar dressing is a creamy vinaigrette made with no eggs or mayo instead Greek yogurt provides the creaminess while also giving you extra nutrition boost of protein and probiotics!
Sprouts are bursting with vitamins and minerals. Like vitamin K which supports bone health and vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps immunity, tissue repair and increases the absorption of iron. In just 1/2 cup the following nutrients meet 81% vitamin C, 8% fiber, 137% vitamin K and 12% omega-3 of your daily recommended needs.
How to Make Crispy Brussel Sprouts:
Preheat oven to 450.
On a rimmed baking sheet toss trimmed and halved sprouts with olive oil, salt & pepper.
Bake sprouts for 20 minutes until leaves are crispy. Shake baking sheet a few times during roasting process to ensure even cooking.
While sprouts bake, prepare the Caesar dressing. In a small bowl whisk together full fat plain Greek yogurt, dijon mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, anchovy paste. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Add Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Set aside.
When sprouts are all golden and crispy remove from oven and toss with Caesar dressing. Finish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and parsley.
Show off your cooking skills and make sure to use #Platefulnutrition so I can see your creations!