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OK ONTO THE POST!
I have spent the afternoon absolutely drooling. I’ve been dreaming up Thanksgiving recipes in my head to share with you, as we approach the Big Turkey Day!
Aside from Christmas, Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday. I love how joyful it is, and how everyone is together with family and loved ones.
Honestly, is there anything better than a day full of family, football and food?!
I think not.
So tonight’s recipe is extra special because it’s a “TWO-FOR.” ((Pronounced as Two-Fer”)) AKA a TWO-FOR-the-price-of-one special 🙂
Why, you ask?
Well – not only can this be a terrific meal in and of itself, but it can ALSO be made into an appetizer that is a show-stopping finger food that is perfect for Thanksgiving afternoon, to munch on while watching the Parade or a bowl game.
Now that’s my kind of combo!
What is this gorgeous gobble?
Roasted Beets and Cauliflower with a Spicy Butternut Squash Mash!
Otherwise known as my Beet Blooms Thanksgiving Appetizer!
Warm and roasted veggies, kissed by a spicy and luxuriously creamy winter squash mash!
And it’s Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo and Specific Carb Diet Friendly!
Here’s What You Need (Makes 2 meals or a plate of appetizers)
2 beets, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
2/3 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 cup of butternut squash, steamed
1 sweet bell pepper (red or orange), chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
chopped, fresh basil, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Scrub and dry the beets, and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. On a tin-foil-lined, olive-oil-sprayed baking sheet, place the beet rounds and cauliflower florets in a single layer. (Don’t crowd the pan – use two baking sheets if you need!) Spritz with olive oil and bake for 40 minutes, flipping once, halfway through.
Meanwhile, steam the butternut squash, either by using a steamer basket, or microwaving it in a Pyrex measuring cup with 1 inch of water, covered, for about 8 minutes. (I did the later.)
While it’s cooking, sauté the bell pepper in a large, non-stick skillet in 2 tsp EVOO, salt, pepper, and spices. Let it cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, until it begins to soften. When the butternut squash has finished steaming, add it to the skillet with the bell pepper. Let them cook together for about 5 more minutes.
Then, transfer to the food processor, and process until smooth. You’ll have to scrape the sides several times. It helps to do this when the veggie mixture is still hot and steaming (be careful!) because the steam helps to create a creamy texture.
When the beets and cauliflower come out of the oven, sprinkle with sea salt.
From here, you have two options: You can plate it as a large dish over the cream sauce, OR, you can create little bite-sized Beet Blooms. These would be perfect for an appetizer or tapas!
Option 1: Large Plate
Take the roasted beets and slice them into match sticks. Place a bed of the butternut squash cream on the plate, and artfully mound the beets and cauliflower on top. Garnish with chopped basil.
Option 2: Beet Blooms
Leave the beets as whole rounds. Top each round with 1-2 Tbsp of the butternut squash cream. Top that with a cauliflower floret and garnish with chopped basil.
What a delicious meal! This combination of flavors is not one that traditionally goes together. But my goodness, is it ever tasty!
First of all, roasted veggies are SO. GOOD. Especially beets and cauliflower. The beets’ inherent sweetness is intensified in the oven, and they become chewy and wonderfully caramelized. The cauliflower also become caramelized and deliciously golden brown. YUM!
And then the butternut squash cream is simply terrific. Butternut squash and bell peppers have a lot of natural sweetness to them. So when you add the cumin and chili powder, it compliments that sweet note beautifully! It is the perfect accent to the beets’ earthy sweetness, the savory cauliflower, and fresh basil.
The textures are wonderful too. The beets are chewy, the butternut squash is rich and creamy, and the cauliflower is perfectly crunchy and has a nice bite to it!
Finally, it is a stunning dish, visually. The deep purple of the beets bounce off the plate against the burnt orange butternut cream sauce, white cauliflower, and bright green basil. And the beet blooms are just so stinkin’ cute! They look like little dainty flowers! A great Thanksgiving appetizer for sure! (Just watch out for purple fingers! A knife-and-fork food for sure!)
This is a “ten” if I’ve ever seen one!
What are your favorite Thanksgiving appetizers?
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