A Vegetable Test-Run Before Turkey Day

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These two vegetable side dishes are perfect autumnal fare. Make them for dinner this week before Turkey Day and, if you like them, your vegetarian guests won’t be the only ones thanking you for adding them to the menu. You could even skip the sweet potatoes …Just kidding! But have you tried delicata squash? It’s the only winter squash that is completely edible—the skin, the flesh and the seeds. Even though its shape is similar to an acorn squash, the winter squash is sweeter than its cousin with a distinctive skin that is either yellow- or cream-colored with dark green stripes running from stem to blossom end. It’s a great source of dietary fiber, potassium, Vitamins B and C, as well as carotenoids. The seeds are equally delicious and rich in healthy fats.

There are three good reasons for serving multi-colored cauliflower and broccoli as the perfect au naturel vegetable side dish for Thanksgiving dinner. First, the result is so beautiful. Second, it’s amazingly healthy, and three, the flavors of these cruciferous vegetables range from delicate sweet Tuscan to mild-tasting golden to full-strength white cauliflower. All three cauliflowers are offset by classic broccoli, while the orange-scented extra virgin olive oil ties the vegetables together. I’m telling you, don’t wait for Thanksgiving to make it.

Bon healthy appétit!

Roasted Delicata Squash With Sage, Rosemary, Thyme And Garlic(Serves 8 to 10)6 to 8 delicata squash, scrubbed, halved crosswise and seeds removed

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, as needed

12 sage leaves, cut into chiffonade

5 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Optional: 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup to sweeten the dish. Conversely, add a few pinches of red pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper, for a kick.To prepare:Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Line large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Scrub squash under cold running water.

Halve squash crosswise.

Scoop out the seeds.

Rinse seeds.

Drain well.

Discard the pulp and reserve the seeds.

Cut the squash into 1/2-inch rounds.

Place the squash rounds in a large mixing bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil to coat.

Mix sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic, coriander, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. (Note: if using maple syrup, add it before the spices.)

Sprinkle seasonings over the squash.

Toss to thoroughly coat.

Transfer the squash circles onto prepared baking pan, slightly overlapping if necessary.

Toss seeds, olive oil and salt together.

Scatter them on a separate baking sheet.

Place pans of squash circles and seeds in the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Turn squash slices over.

Stir the seeds.

Continue baking, until the seeds are golden, about 5 to 7 minutes longer.

Continue baking the slices, until they are fork-tender and golden brown, about 10 to 20 minutes longer.

Arrange the squash on a large platter.

Scatter toasted seeds over the whole affair.Tuscan, Gold/Orange And White Cauliflower With Broccoli(Serves 8 to 10)1 large head white cauliflower, cut into florets

2 heads light green Tuscan cauliflower, cut into florets

2 heads golden/orange cauliflower, cut into florets

2 heads broccoli, cut into florets

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Zest of 2 oranges, grated

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to tasteTo prepare:Add water and 2 teaspoons of salt to a large stockpot over high heat.

Bring to a boil.

Fill a large stainless steel bowl with very cold water.

Have a large colander/strainer at the ready.

Separate each type of cauliflower and broccoli into florets.

Add white cauliflower florets to boiling salted water first. (Note: each variety of vegetable has a different cooking time. Be sure to check the florets after 1 to 2 minutes; the time will depend on the size and temperature of the florets.)

Cook, until barely crunch tender.

Scoop florets out of water.

Immediately plunge them into cold water to stop the cooking process.

Drain well.

Cook the Tuscan florets, until barely crunch tender.

Remove immediately.

Plunge into cold water.

Drain well.

Cook the golden cauliflower and broccoli florets, using the same method.

Artfully arrange drained vegetables on a microwave-proof platter.

Cover with paper towels.

Pour olive oil into a glass measuring cup.

Grate the orange zest into the oil.

Cover with plastic wrap.

Microwave, until little bubbles appear on the edges of the oil.

Taste and adjust the amount of zest.

Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Reheat the arrangement of florets, until they are steaming, but not overcooked.

Drizzle hot oil over the vegetables.

Serve at once.

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