Serves 6 | Ready in 1 hour
Eating colorful plant foods—from dark blue and purple to green, yellow, orange, and red—is the key to good nutrition and good skin. Take butternut squash as an example. Its brilliant orange color indicates it’s chock-full of carotenoids and vitamin C, which help protect against UV-induced skin damage.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.
Roast the squash: Peel butternut squash to reveal bright orange flesh. Thinly shave top and bottom from squash and cut down middle to form 2 symmetrical halves. Scoop out seeds and discard. Brush cut sides of squash with oil and place cut-side down on prepared baking sheet. Roast in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until you can almost pierce it with a paring knife.
Make the pickled red onion: While squash roasts, in small saucepan, heat rice vinegar. Pour into 1 cup heatproof glass jar, such as a canning jar, and stir in lime zest, syrup,
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, and salt. Stir to dissolve salt. Stir in onion and press down to immerse slices in vinegar. Cover and set aside. Onion can be refrigerated for up to a couple of weeks.
Slice the squash: After squash has been roasting for 15 to 20 minutes, remove from oven. On cutting board, place halves cut-side down. Using very sharp knife, carefully cut 1/4 inch wide slices crosswise into squash, being careful not to cut all the way through. Slide long spatula under sliced squash halves and return them to baking sheet. Return to oven and continue to roast for approximately 20 more minutes, or until slices are completely tender but not falling apart.
Prepare the herbed salsa: While squash continues roasting, in mini blender, combine herbs, oil, garlic, lime juice, and crushed red pepper flakes. Pulse until finely ground. Add a splash of water for thinner mixture. Add a pinch of salt, to taste, if you wish. Store in tightly covered container for up to 1 week. Makes about 1 cup.
Assemble the dish: To serve, remove squash from oven and place on heated serving platter. Spoon some pickled onions and salsa over top. Top with crumbled vegan cheese and splash with a little extra olive oil, if you wish.
A tribute to the bounty and beauty of nature, this chocolate bark is studded with nuts, seeds, and berries and flavoured with the warming spices of ginger and cinnamon. Adding sweet paprika and chili also gives an interesting kick to a winter favourite. Cut back on the red pepper flakes if you prefer a less spicy version. Chocolate contains tryptophan—an essential amino acid—that helps our brain produce serotonin. Eating chocolate is a delicious way to get a mood boost, which can help lift our spirits when sunlight levels are low. Food of the Gods In the taxonomy of plants, the cacao plant, from which chocolate is derived, is called Theobroma cacao. Theobroma comes from Greek for “food of the gods.” Cacao comes from the Mayan word for the plant.
Up your omega-3 intake with these easy-to-make salmon parchment pockets. The sockeye fillets are first rubbed with a marinade of juniper berries, citrus zest, and garlic before being enclosed in parchment. Juniper has a strong and piney flavour and lends a unique tang to this dish. It also contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. Be sure to capture the juices that arise during steaming. No mortar and pestle? Crush juniper berries by laying them between two sheets of parchment and bashing them gently with a rolling pin.
Escarole is a bitter green that stands up to heat and is suitable for grilling, braising, or using in soups. In this salad, it’s broiled with radishes before being dressed in a sweet, garlicky dressing that cuts the bitterness. Escarole is high in folate (vitamin B9), important in red blood cell formation, and vitamin A, important in immune function and eye health. Like kale and other cruciferous vegetables, it’s also very high in vitamin K, which assists in blood clotting. Bitter green substitutes If you can’t find escarole, use frisée (also called curly endive), mustard greens, or radicchio. Romaine also stands up to heat well and makes a good substitute, but it lacks the characteristic bitterness of the others.
In Japan, it’s a custom to eat kabocha squash on the day of the winter solstice as a symbol of good health. In fact, kabocha squash contains cancer-fighting antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein. It’s also full of fibre and vitamins A and C. We’ve made a roasted version dressed in a sweet and tangy marinade that’s sprinkled with sesame seeds before roasting in the oven. The remaining marinade, full of ginger, tamari, and red pepper flakes, is used as a dressing to further flavour the squash. Know your squash You’ll recognize kabocha squash by its dark green rind and round shape. Its yellowish-orange flesh is sweeter than other types and has been likened to a cross between sweet potato and pumpkin. The rind is quite hard but is edible when cooked. Wash squash well and take care while cutting. You can microwave the whole squash for 4 to 5 minutes prior to cutting to help soften the rind and make things a bit easier.