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”

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.

Summer grilling: chicken breast, corn and asparagus

I’ve been blogging this week about easy summer grilling meals that also are low in salt, fat and sugar. Today’s pick is chicken breast topped with a low-salt, low-sugar barbecue sauce like the LocalFolks variety I buy.

Chicken breast is easy to overcook, especially if you worry about killing any harmful germs or bacteria it might carry. But overcooked chicken can be dry and rubbery. I finally found a guide that says cook a breast three minutes per side and use a meat thermometer to be sure it’s properly done inside. Continue reading “Summer grilling: chicken breast, corn and asparagus”

Summer grilling: Filet, asparagus and zucchini make a great, quick meal

Red meat is something I eat very sparingly since my two stents done in 2012 and 2017. When I do have it, I opt for the leanest possible meat.

When thinking about having a steak, I opt for a filet mignon, waiting for them to go on sale at local stores and then stocking up for the summer. I normally eat only four- or five-ounce sizes.

Grilling these is fairly simply, a guide I found online says 10-12 minutes for medium-rare, turning once. I like mine extremely rare, so usually go four minutes per side before checking it. That’s on a gas grill with burners at medium heat. I season with a salt-free pepper mixture we buy at our local spice store.

At the same time I’m doing the steak, I’ll put on trays of asparagus and cut-up zucchini, each with olive-oil sprayed on and an Italian spice mixture liberally applied. Cooking time depends on how thinly you sliced your zucchini, I usually check at 3 minutes and turn them if they’ve begun to brown. Same for the asparagus which tend to take a minute or too longer. Check the links  here for more specifics about cooking time for each.

Enjoy!

 

Product review: Sans Sucre sugar-free mousse and brownies

Baking is not usually my thing, I find it a bit too scientific a process as compared to cooking which allows for more freedom to depart from recipes and become artistic. So most of the recipes you’ll find on this blog are for cooking main courses and side dishes rather than desserts.

That said, I love to eat baked goods such as cakes and doughnuts, items I really should try  to avoid on my heart-healthy diet because of sugar and fat they contain.

Sans Sucre Mousse Mix
Sans Sucre Mousse Mix

So when I was approached by a public relations person for a brand called Sans Sucre which makes sugar-free and gluten-free baking mixes, I was intrigued enough by the prospect of guilt-free items that I asked for samples to try to make. (The brand name means without sugar in French, by the way.)

I’ve since tried the sugar-free, low-fat Chocolate Mousse Mix and the sugar-free chocolate fudge brownie mix. Of the two, I enjoyed the mousse more and found it relatively simple to make, even for a baking-challenged cook like me. Continue reading “Product review: Sans Sucre sugar-free mousse and brownies”