A Salt-Free Thanksgiving Side — Roasted Vegetables with Pumpkin Seed Gremolata

If you’re searching for salt-free side dishes to make for Thanksgiving that will amaze and satisfy your guests try this variation on roasted vegetables from Chef Laura Frankel.

I recently met Chef Laura and sampled this wonderfully tasty dish, at a meeting of my local Mended Hearts chapter, a support group for heart disease survivors.

The dish contains things I never eat, like Brussel Sprouts. Somehow, Chef Laura has made them desirable, a miracle in culinary magic if you ask me.

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Vegetables with Pumpkin Seed Gremolata

8+ servings as a side

3 large shallots, sliced thinly
1 pound Brussels sprouts, cut in half
2 Sweet potatoes, not peeled, cut into large dice
1 small Acorn or butternut squash, peeled and cut into thin wedges or large dice
2 raw beets, peeled and cut into large dice
1 small celery root, peeled and sliced thinly
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, preheat oven to 400F.

1. Toss vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on lined baking sheet.
2. Roast vegetables in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender.
3. Arrange vegetables on serving platter and sprinkle generously with Gremolata.

Gremolata

½ cup pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
6 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
Pinch of crushed red chili flakes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
2 fresh sage leaves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry medium saute pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they pop. Transfer seeds to a food processor.
2. Pulse toasted seeds, parsley, garlic, chili flakes, zest and juice, sage leaves and extra virgin olive oil until a coarse mixture is formed.
3. Sprinkle gremolata on top of roasted vegetables, roasted chicken, fish and turkey.

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A low-sodium Thanksgiving’s cooking guide

Traditional Thanksgiving fare is loaded with salt and fat, so double your vigilance when planning your Thanksgiving menu this year.

We have lots of tips on our site, check our recipe page for low-salt sides. We have a recipe for a low-sodium stuffing, as well as an entire low-sodium Thanksgiving menu.

And start by getting a fresh turkey that hasn’t been injected with a salt bath you check salt content on some of the frozen, self-basting turkeys, you’ll see salt content around 200 mgs or more per serving. That’s about three times what is in a serving of fresh turkey.

You can cut the salt and still enjoy Thanksgiving!

 

A fall chicken recipe, modified — chicken braised in two vinegars

I keep on eye on the New York Times for recipe ideas, but usually what they feature has too much salt, fat or sugar for my needs. Such was the case when I recently received a Times email entitled 72 Recipes You Should Make This Fall.

The Times suggests serving this chicken over polenta, I’d do it with a side of green beans or asparagus.

 

Looking through them, I didn’t see many heart-health choices until I came across this chicken braised in two vinegars recipe. The Times uses thighs, high in fat, so I’d substitute breasts and leave off the salt mentioned as something you can add for serving.

The ingredients (with my changes): Continue reading “A fall chicken recipe, modified — chicken braised in two vinegars”

One way to keep your salt under control — a new gadget

As my blog has become more popular, I’ve heard from more public relations people pushing all sorts of foods, books, and gadgets. I’ve started doing some book reviews and occasionally write about the gadgets as well.

The Taste Stick is that white tower-like implement.

This one, Taste Stick, came to me in May, so I’m not sure if they’ve reached their fundraising goal as yet, but I hope they do. This seems like a great way to know how much salt you’re adding to anything you eat. Continue reading “One way to keep your salt under control — a new gadget”

Pasta, swordfish, eggplant — if you like all those, try this

Pasta is always a favorite for me, although these days I eat only multigrain pasta because of my heart issues. I normally make my own tomato sauce to avoid high-salt processed alternatives. But occasionally, I’ll try something without a traditional tomato sauce, like this fun-sounding dish, Sicilian Swordfish Pasta With Eggplant and Tomatoes.

Rigatoni with swordfish, eggplant and tomatoes.
Rigatoni with swordfish, eggplant and tomatoes.

Swordfish is a relatively healthy fish when it comes to the type of fat it contains, but eating large amounts of it could cause other problems since it’s a fish that can contain high levels of mercury (sorry, every food seems to have its ups and downs healthwise doesn’t it).

The recipe is fairly simple to make.

Step 1: Fry the Eggplant
Step 2: Infuse Oil With Garlic
Step 3: Add Swordfish and Cook
Step 4: Add Tomatoes, Wine, and Herbs
Step 5: Add Eggplant, Then Finish

For all the details, simply click here to go to the site where I found this recipe.

Another look at what to eat at restaurants

Almost all restaurant food is awash in salt, far and sugar, so eating out is a challenge for anyone concerned about their heart-health. I’ve created a page of options for eating out that I’ve found, but I’m always on the lookout for other advice. Cooking Light magazine recently ran this piece, These are the Healthiest Meal Choices at 35 Popular Chain Restaurants.

This is what a Costco food court Caesar salad looks like when you unwrap it, a giant cup of fat-filled Caesar dressing and a mound of high-salt, high-fat grated cheese
Stick to salad when eating on the run, and take out the high-fat dressing and cheese. Always carry your own oil and vinegar packets to use instead.

Keep in mind, healthiest doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, it just means least bad.Still, if you find yourself stuck at a Boston Market or an Au Bon Pain, for example, this list may help you.

I was intrigued that the McDonald’s choices didn’t include a salad without the dressings, which are loaded with salt. I always carry my own oil and vinegar so I’m not tied to any dressing served by a restaurant.

Easter no-salt, no-sugar dinner recipes abound here for you

With Easter less than a week away, we’ve been getting a lot fo visitors to a post we did back in 2014, Low-salt Easter dinner: how to enjoy the holiday meal.

One of our many no salt, no sugar recipes. We cut the salt and sugar to a minimum, along with the fat.

That meal included low-salt turkey, green beans in a balsamic/olive oil glaze and asparagus roasted with low-salt panko breadcrumbs and low-fat cheese.

But we also have other Easter suggestions, such as A no-salt Easter side dish — asparagus with balsamic tomatoes.  Continue reading “Easter no-salt, no-sugar dinner recipes abound here for you”