Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

In his book, Thanksgiving, Sam Sifton makes the case that salads have no business being a part of the Thanksgiving spread.

“A salad is a perfect accompaniment to many meals, a hit of astringency that can improve some dinners hugely. Not this one. You can have your salad tomorrow.” {Sam Sifton, via Cup of Jo}

Well folks, it’s tomorrow.

I hope that each and every one of you had the happiest of Thanksgivings full of family, football, and most importantly, lots of good food. Am I right or am I right that you kind of never want to look at food again?

I’m also wagering that you have lots of leftovers hanging out in your fridge.

I’ve been making this little salad at least once a week all fall, and I’ve been dying to share it with y’all. It dawned on me a couple days ago that many of these veggies were probably on your thanksgiving tables, so in the spirit of Thanksgiving, be grateful for those leftovers. They’re about to be a truly great salad.

In the directions, I walk you through roasting the veggies, but really you can throw your already cooked leftovers in there and it will be a winner. It’s completely adaptable, so go wild!

Roasted sweet potatoes or yams with candied pecans? Add it.

The always present brussels that the kids wouldn’t touch? Add them.

Cranberry sauce? Why not?

How are you using up your Thanksgiving leftovers?

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

serves 2-4 depending on how hungry they are

{This genius recipe is from the lovely lady behind Naturally Ella, Erin. Very, very rarely do I follow recipes exactly. There are usually things I add or take away in order to improve or adapt the recipe to our tastes. I didn’t have to do any of that for this ingredient list. It’s pretty much perfection. I do have a few procedural short cuts to add though, so I thought I’d share it.}

1 loaf of Erin’s cornbread

To Roast
1 small sweet potato, cubed
about 15 brussels sprouts, quartered

To Toss
about 2 cups of spinach, {this is your salad base so adjust accordingly for how much you think you’ll eat}
6 oz blue cheese, crumbled

The Dressing
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sweet whole grain mustard {we use Handelmeier}

Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C.

Whip up a loaf of Erin’s cornbread and pop it in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. {To keep dirty bowls to a minimum, I always combine my wet ingredients in a mixing bowl first and then place a sieve over the bowl and measure my dry ingredients into it.}

While the cornbread is cooking, wash and chop your veggies. Leaving the skin on, because there are tons of nutrients in that stuff, chop your sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Cut off the base and quarter the brussels. Put them in your roasting pan and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Give them a toss and put them in the oven to roast for around 45 minutes.

about 15 minutes before the veggies are done roasting, chop your cornbread into little squares, toss with olive oil and rosemary and add them to the roasting pan to toast them up.

While those finish, put your spinach in a large mixing bowl and crumble the cheese over it. Also go ahead and shake up your dressing. {I put all of the ingredients in a mason jar and give it a shake. Super easy and beats the heck out of the store bought stuff in terms of flavor.}

When the veggies and croutons come out of the oven, transfer them to the big bowl and pour the dressing over the whole thing. Give it a toss and serve.

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

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Quinoa Fall Skillet

I’m trying really hard to think of a way to start this post without the phrase “One of my favorite things about fall is…” I think it is a well established fact that, as a people, we tend to love fall.

So I’ll try this…

What really gets me jazzed about fall…

is all the produce that starts turning up at the market. There is suddenly an abundance of whole stalks of cute little brussels sprouts, gourds, squashes, and pumpkins. So. Many. Pumpkins. Now, I love pumpkin as much as the next girl {really, I do!}, but it isn’t the end all be all of amazing fall veg.

What about all of those other delicious, beta-carotene packed, orange veggies?

Sure there are carrots, but I don’t want to talk about that. {Unless they’re in cake, then I fully support their existence.}

I want to talk about sweet potatoes. These babies are easily my all-time favorite veggie in the history of ever. You can boil them, mash them, stick ’em in a stew. You can roast them and put them in a salad. You can cook them with with bacon and some other fall favorites like apples and brussels sprouts and get this skillet that will make you want to go jump in a pile of leaves and watch Hocus Pocus on repeat until your boyfriend demands that you turn the drivel off.

It’s fall, in your mouth, minus the pumpkin.

Quinoa Fall Skillet from Kiwi and Peach

Quinoa Fall Skillet from Kiwi and Peach

Quinoa Fall Skillet

{Serves two. Adapted, barely, from a heart healthy recipe Prevention magazine. I reduced the recipe for two, and completely eliminating the heart-healthy aspect of the recipe, I used my normal chicken stock, and subbed thick cut bacon for the low-fat and let’s face it, low-flavor, bacon. If we’re going to eat bacon, let’s eat the real stuff from a nice non-factory pig, why don’t we? My method is also a bit different too because of the quinoa.}

The Quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
dash of salt
1 Tbsp olive oil for crisping

The Chicken
1 chicken breast, cut into cubes
salt and pepper
dash of olive oil for cooking

The Skillet
2 ounces thick cut bacon, sliced
1/2 of a medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
about 10 brussels sprouts, quartered
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cubed
1 tsp fresh thyme
big pinch of cinnamon
little pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup chicken stock

First things first, let’s get the quinoa on. Boil your jug and start heating a medium pot and a large pan, both on medium high heat.

Once the jug has boiled, add your water to the pot and salt it. Bring it to a boil and add the quinoa. Remember to rinse your quinoa with hot water before you cook it to get rid of that bitter powder that coats it! Set your timer for 20 minutes and let it do its thing.

Cube your chicken and season it withe salt and pepper. {I usually go ahead and slice the bacon now as well since I already have the meat cutting board out. Just sit it to the side until we’re ready for it.} Once the pan is really hot, add a dash of olive oil and pop the chicken in there. I usually sear it on one side, then flip and let it cook for 4–5 minutes or so. You want to cook it until it’s a nice golden color. When the chicken is finished transfer to a bowl and set it to the side. Return the pan to the heat.

While I’m waiting for the quinoa to finish up, I go ahead and start prepping the veggies. They all go in at about the same time, so it’s good to have them ready before you start on the skillet. Dice your onion. Peel and press your garlic. Peel and cube your sweet potato and apple. {1/2 – 3/4 inch cubes should do it.} After rinsing your brussels sprouts, cut the bottom off like you would a head of cabbage and quarter them. I discard the leaves that fall off when quartering them since they can be a bit bitter anyway.

By now the quinoa should be finished. Now, this step is completely optional. I, personally, like my quinoa crispy, so it’s worth the extra step to me. It’s completely up to you. Before getting started on the skillet, I add some olive oil to the now very hot pan and transfer the quinoa from the pot to the pan. Stir a bit, let it sit, then repeat a couple times. Basically what we’re doing is getting rid of the extra water and frying it up a tad bit. The quinoa will get a little darker and some bits might blacken. That’s when you know you’re done. Transfer it back to the pot and set it off the heat.

Now. The skillet.

Add your bacon, onion, and garlic to the hot pan and let them cook for a couple of minutes. Add the brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the sweet potatoes are starting to get tender go ahead and stir in the apple, thyme, cinnamon, and salt and let those flavors cook for a couple minutes. Add half of the chicken stock and let it cook until it is mostly evaporated. {This will soften up those potatoes!} Add the chicken to the skillet along with the rest of the stock and cook for a couple minutes longer until the it is all nice and hot.

Stir the quinoa in and serve it up. Enjoy!

Quinoa Fall Skillet from Kiwi and Peach