Our extended family had Christmas dinner this Saturday at my sister-in-law’s home which was a little early this year. There were 5 families with some guests and as expected in Filipino tradition, tons of food to partake of. Each family brought their own specialties and as usual, we had an awesome buffet! What’s been really encouraging lately is the openness of relatives to a better way of eating. And this inspires me even more to continue on my passion.
So let’s just say that there were many vegetable and healthy grain dishes… and surprisingly, my brother-in-law excitedly volunteered to roast an organic turkey! So what’s a plant-based eating gal bring to a a family get together? Well, I made black rice, roasted some root vegetables and the usual, salads - ”freshncruncy way.” I did the black kale salad recipe posted earlier on this blog and because it’s Christmas, I thought why not another salad that would introduce CHESTNUTS!
Yes, I finally roasted some chestnuts! I’ve never really done this before. Angel’s dad used to roast chestnuts several years ago but I didn’t really pay much attention at that time. It’s not really that complicated. I thought they would explode on me. Anyway, I cooked them in the toaster oven for 15 minutes and then added them to this salad.
Green Beans and Roasted Butternut Squash Topped with Roasted Chestnuts And Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing
1 lb. organic green beans (see note)
2 c. butternut squash cut in cubes
2 tsp. coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, cut lengthwise and lightly smashed
8- 10 pieces roasted chestnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c. parsley, chopped
1/4 c. goji berry (softened in 1 t. of water) or dried cranberries
3 Tbsp. cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 1/2 - 2 tangerines or clementines
juice of 3/4 lime
1 Tbsp. poppy seed, lightly toasted
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. Dijon or brown mustard
1/4 tsp. Celtic sea salt
pinch of black pepper
1.Preheat the oven to 425F. Place the squash in a roasting pan then coat them with the oil and and add the garlic. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
2. Roast the chestnuts by following the instructions above. They have to be peeled immediately otherwise, it becomes a challenge. Chop them roughly.
3. While squash and chestnuts are roasting, remove the ends of the green beans and wash them. Boil about 6 cups of water and blanch the green beans for about 2 minutes and drain through a sieve. Set aside.
5. Toast the poppy seed in a skillet for about 1 -2 minutes then whisk together all the ingredients of the dressing with the red onions to soften.
4. When squash is cooked, discard the garlic. In a big salad bow, mix the squash and green beans and toss with the dressing. Top with goji berry, chestnuts and parsley. Enjoy!
Note: Green beans and kale have been recently added to thelist of produce with high pesticide residues so it’s important to buy these organic.
I hope you and your family will have some fun and make good memories this Christmas. I know that this season can sometimes become too commercial with what’s going on around us but we have to remember that in the midst of our busy lives and the gift buying frenzy, there is a bigger reason why we celebrate the occasion. This hit a note on me as I was listening to a message shared at church today - ”What are we giving to God as a gift?” It could be making peace with a relative or a friend, letting go of old time grudges or improving our relationship with our spouse; as for me, it’s to spend more time with the Lord with my bible studies. I’ve been pursuing so many things all at the same time that this part of my life has been somewhat neglected. May we all take the time to consider one thing to give as a gift to God. Merry Christmas!
And yes the Liwag family enjoyed our time last night with lots of food and good conversations. The kids received gifts which gave them lots of joy. I saw all my highly technical relatives and got some good tips in photography…hopefully I will remember them all!
This was taken at my sister-in-law’s home.