So GoodOct/Nov 2008 Issue

Harvest-Fresh Gluten-Free Foods for Your Holiday Table

Tis the season to gather with family and friends. Planning a meal or a dinner party menu that offers bountiful good taste but doesn't contain gluten, dairy, egg or soy can be a challenge. These flavorful, healthy recipes make it easier to entertain. They're allergy friendly and make use of late-autumn garden favorites. Add a new dish to your family's holiday fare or offer to bring one with you to a gathering. Here's more reason to celebrate and less reason to worry during this busy time of year.

Butternut Squash and Pasta

SERVES 4 TO 6

This tasty side dish satisfies hearty appetites and is a welcome addition to a holiday table. Free of gluten, dairy and eggs, it’s loaded with fiber and vitamin A.

1 large butternut squash (about 2 pounds)

1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)

4-6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

½ pound gluten-free penne pasta

2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter), optional

3 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, cut in ribbons

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon each salt and pepper

½ cup raw unsweetened coconut flakes or unsalted walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. To prepare butternut squash, peel it and cut it

in half. Remove seeds and cut squash into 1 to

2-inch cubes.

3. Mix squash cubes and diced onions with 2 tablespoons olive oil and roast in a large, heavy roasting pan for 30 to 45 minutes until soft but not falling apart.

4. In separate pot, cook gluten-free pasta in boiling salted water according to manufacturer’s directions. (Test the pasta a few minutes before the recommended cooking time to avoid over-cooking.) Rinse pasta and drain well. Stir in a little olive oil to keep pasta from sticking.

5. In a large skillet, heat additional 4 tablespoons olive oil (or 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons ghee, if using). Add sage and garlic and sauté until fragrant but not browned. Add butternut squash and onion mixture, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cooked pasta. Toss to blend.

6. Toast coconut flakes (or walnuts, if using) in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until fragrant and lightly browned. Watch closely as coconut (and walnuts) will burn quickly when unattended. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. If using walnuts, chop them roughly.

7. Sprinkle squash and pasta with toasted coconut (or walnuts) and serve hot.

Each serving contains:

459 calories, 21g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 64g carbohydrate, 252mg sodium, 6g fiber, 7g protein

Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

SERVES 4

This sweet and savory apple-squash combination makes a great holiday side dish or a main course offering for vegetarian guests.

2 medium acorn squash

3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil, divided

1/2 cup minced shallots

2 apples,* peeled, cored and cubed, about 2 cups

1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries

1/4 cup maple syrup or maple sugar

2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and strings.

3. Brush 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil over the cut surface. Place squash cut side down in a glass or clay baking dish. Add water to cover the bottom of the pan (about ½ inch) and bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until tender. Discard water.

4. Heat the remaining olive or coconut oil in a large skillet and sauté the shallots for about 3 minutes, stirring until softened. Add the apple and cook about 3 minutes more, stirring until blended.

5. Add the cranberries, maple syrup or sugar, orange juice, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cover and cook about 5 minutes.

6. Spoon the stuffing into the squash cavities and bake uncovered 15 to 20 minutes more. Serve hot.

Each serving contains:

336 calories, 11g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 64g carbo-hydrate, 302mg sodium, 5g fiber, 3g protein

*TIP Fuji, Gala, Rome or Braeburn apples are good choices for this dish.

Sweet Potato and Cranberry Soup

Serves 8 to 10

Antioxidant-rich sweet potatoes get a colorful twist with the addition of cranberries. This soup can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for two days or frozen for one month. Serve it hot, topped with a drizzle of cranberry puree.

 

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 (12-16 ounce) can or jar prepared whole cranberry sauce

4 cups gluten-free, casein-free

vegetable or chicken broth

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss onions, carrots and sweet potatoes in olive oil and roast them in a large, heavy roasting pan for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally (about every 15 minutes).

2. While vegetables are cooking, puree cranberry sauce in a blender until smooth. Set aside.

3. Place roasted vegetables in a large stockpot. Add broth, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, white pepper and salt. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft.

4. In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches.* Add water as needed to achieve desired consistency.

5. Ladle hot soup into individual bowls and drizzle cranberry puree decoratively over the top of each serving.

Each serving contains:

223 calories, 5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 43g carbohydrate, 342mg sodium, 4g fiber, 4g protein

*TIP Take care when processing hot liquids in a blender. Hot soup will expand when processed so don’t fill the blender more than half full. To avoid being burned by any spattering soup, cover the blender with a dish towel before turning it on.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

SERVES 4 TO 6

Replace standard mashed potatoes with sweet potatoes for a healthy alternative that’s naturally flavorful.

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

Caribbean Variation: Replace maple syrup with 3 tablespoons honey or 2 tablespoons agave nectar; add 2 tablespoons lime juice, fresh squeezed; replace nutmeg with ¼ teaspoon allspice and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.

1. In a large pot, cover sweet potatoes with water and cook until tender. Drain. Transfer to a large bowl and mash.

2. Add nutmeg, maple syrup, salt and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Each serving contains:

101 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 24g carbohydrate, 2420mg sodium, 3g fiber, 1g protein

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Wedges

SERVES 4 TO 6

Roasted sweet potatoes are delicious when they’re made simply with olive oil and salt. Here, garlic and rosemary add a distinctive and appealing flavor.

4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed, cut in 1-inch wedges (do not need to peel)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. In a large roasting pan, toss sweet potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper and seasonings.

3. Arrange potatoes in a single layer in the pan and roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning potatoes half way through cooking until they’re tender and slightly browned. LW

Each serving contains:

117 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 18g carbohydrate, 48mg sodium, 3g fiber, 1g protein

TIP For variety, replace the garlic and rosemary with these options: 2 tablespoons fresh thyme (2 teaspoons dried) or 2 tablespoons bottled Cajun seasoning or curry seasoning.

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