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”

Some happy talk about the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet has become a favorite of nutritionists in recent years, especially for those with heart and other ailments. Now a new study that looked at a lot of earlier studies thinks it also can help mood.

Veggie plates are common in Italy, why can’t U.S. places offer the same?

“The evidence so far pointed to the idea that the foods we eat can make a difference in lowering our risk of depression, even though there is no solid clinical proof yet,” reports the BBC in detailing the new study in Molecular Psychiatry. The study reviewed 41 studies published within the last eight years. Continue reading “Some happy talk about the Mediterranean Diet”

Restaurant review: Five & Dime had bar food, but a surprise or two

Rooftop bars and restaurants are having their moment in Chicago these days, with people willing to pay up for expensive drinks that come with views of the city skyline.

My Chicago suburb has its own entry in the rooftop derby, albeit not one that looks at the skyline of Chicago. Five and Dime is mostly outdoor dining above two other restaurant below it. My brother-in-law wanted to go there for his recent birthday dinner.

Looking at the menu on-line, something I do whenever I go out to eat so I can search ahead for any low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar offerings, the only thing I saw that might possibly be ok for me was a salmon grilled with charred lemon, farro & quinoa, tomato, basil, olive oil for $23.75.

My poke at Five and Dime
My poke at Five and Dime

Grilled salmon tends to be my go-to at most upscale restaurants and I usually ask for it without whatever sauce or butter mixture they try to put on it.

But it gets tiring to have salmon every time I eat out, so I decided to try something else, a poke bowl with Ahi tuna sashimi over steamed rice, sesame seaweed salad, vegetables, spicy Kewpie aioli, tobiko & a big tempura shrimp for $16.75.

Poke bowls are another culinary hotspot these days, but I’ve read they can be unhealthy, primarily because many are loaded with white rice which I’ve been told by nutritionists not to eat. Sushi rice, often used in poke bowls, also contains more sugar, another reason to avoid it.

But the thought of some fresh ahi tuna applied to me, so I tried the Poke at Five and Dime. I was pleasantly surprised, first because there was not a massive amount of rice in it.

The tuna was fresh and tasty, I had the aioli brought on the side and didn’t eat it after tasting how spicy, and likely salty, it was. The seaweed was tasty, although I worry if there was salt on it. The pieces of cucumber were fresh and unadorned which was fine with me.

Did it fill me up? No, not really, but it was good. The birthday boy, meanwhile, got a big slab of ribs while my wife went with barbecued brisket. Neither healthy but they smelled and looked so good.

My wife’s brisket and fries.

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!

 

Consider mushrooms for your Easter table

Mushrooms have always been something I enjoy, from cutting up small ones for salads to roasting giant portabellos on the grill with a salt-free teriyaki sauce for flavoring.

So it’s nice to know they have lots of healthful properties, as this slide show from WedMd.com shows.

Trout, with mushrooms as a garnish.

“If you’re looking for an all-natural multivitamin, skip the supplement aisle and pick up some mushrooms,” WebMD says. “Among their many nutrients: B vitamins — including pantothenic acid (B5), niacin (B3), and riboflavin (B2) — plus copper and selenium. Mushrooms also have protein, fiber, potassium, vitamin D, calcium, and more.

“Mushrooms may do a lot more for your health than fuel your body. They have antibacterial properties. They can help lower cholesterol. They’re good for your immune system. They may even help prevent or treat Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, and cancer,” the slide show goes on to state. Wow. I tend to be doubtful about such superfood claims, there’s still so  much about nutrition and our bodies that science hasn’t figured out, after all.  Continue reading “Consider mushrooms for your Easter table”

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