Fall Pumpkin & Orange Salad

I think I found my Thanksgiving pumpkin-centric side for this year. I made this first round with sushi rice because that was what I had on hand, and it was great. Soft, almost creamy, and filling.

For Thanksgiving, I think I’ll swap the soft rice for something with more chew – either a wild rice mix or maybe pearl barley – and bump the orange and dill up a bit for more of a punch that will stand up to DH’s bourbon honey ham.

EDIT: I did end up making this for Thanksgiving, and it was fantastic. I used a mixture of wild and basmati rices for the grains and went for a curry spiced pumpkin instead of the molasses – both versions were great. I also beefed up the dill a little, which was also welcome.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Fall Pumpkin & Orange Salad


2-3 cups chopped pumpkin or other orange squash

And toss with:

1 Tbsp. date molasses

2 Tbsp. neutral oil

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

Salt & pepper

Bake at 220C/400F for 30 – 40 minutes or until deeply browned. Add to a large bowl.

While the pumpkin is working, make some ginger rice by combining the following and cooking however you cook your grains.

1 cup rice or grains

2 cups water

2 coins sliced ginger

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

When the rice is done, toss out the ginger and combine the warm rice & squash with:

1/2 inch ginger, minced

3 Tbsp. good olive oil

2 scallions, minced

1/4 cup pomegranate arils

1/2 tsp. black pepper

3 Tbsp. dill, chopped

2 Tbsp. peanut butter

2 Tbsp. whole grain mustard (Maille is my favorite)

4 clementines, supremed, with the juice squeezed out of the leftover bits

2 tsp. turmeric

1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

Serves 4-6

Pumpkin Grain Bowl

This dish is great warm, room temperature or slightly chilled – making it perfect for your next get-together.

Pumpkin Grain Bowl

1.5 cups chopped pumpkin (or any variety orangey squash)

1 carrot, shredded

1 cucumber, ribboned

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

2 cups wild rice mix (quinoa would also be good – you want something with a bit of body to it)

Crispy fried chickpeas (mine were pre-seasoned and halved)

2 scallions, chopped

1 Tbsp. turmeric olive oil (substitute with adding a little turmeric to your favorite oil )

2 tsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. curry powder


1/4 cup turmeric olive oil

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Juice of 2 limes

2 Tbsp. dijon or whole grain mustard

1 tsp. mustard seeds

1/2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. salt

Lay your chopped pumpkin out on a prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the Tablespoon of oil over top and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 Tablespoon curry powder, salt and pepper. Bake at 200C/375F for 30 minutes or until soft and beginning to brown. Remove.

While the pumpkin is working, cook your rice or other grains however you cook rice. Set aside.

Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk.

To assemble, combine all but the crispy chickpeas in a large bowl, adding the chickpeas as you serve so they don’t get soggy.

Serves 4 for dinner and more as a light lunch

Harvest Cauliflower Pilaf

Ok, so I’m on a harvest-theme here lately, and all the dishes that have been making me happy speak of (North American) Fall.

This dish is lighter-than-expected, makes a lovely salad for surprise company, and can be bulked up easily to feed a crowd.

It’s also fantastic topped with leftover turkey pancetta and pepitas from last week’s Fall Harvest Soup recipe.

Quick note: if your coconut flakes look like mine (shreds) and you toast your cauliflower as deeply as me (I like some burnt pieces), this dish may look like it has croutons in it. Which was giving my brain a weird disconnect that was less than pleasant. The coconut in here is actually really pleasant and gives a nice little subtly sweet nuttiness with a bit of texture.

Gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, Whole30

Harvest Cauliflower Pilaf

1 smallish head cauliflower, cut into small bits or riced (I did small bits because with my current kitchen setup I just can’t be bothered to fully rice cauliflower)

1 apple (Granny Smith or Fuji – you want something with a bit of tartness or crispness)

2 cloves garlic, minced

Double hand full flat leaf parsley, chopped

Pomegranate seeds (I’m lazy and buy mine prepared – I used a good amount and keep adding more fresh every time I go for leftovers because they’re delightful and so very pretty. Use however much your eye wants to bring nice color to this otherwise very green dish)

3 Tbsp. coconut milk (optional)

Juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses

Few generous sprays oil (I love a grape seed oil pump I’ve been using lately – it’s really cutting down on the amount of oil I feel I have to use)

Generous sprinkle black pepper

Liberal amount of salt

Generous sprinkle cayenne pepper

Generous sprinkle curry powder

Generous sprinkle cumin powder

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup unsweet shredded or flaked coconut

Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Prep a baking sheet with a liner, process your cauliflower into tiny bits, and spread in a single layer.

Hit with the oil, salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, and curry). Toss and roast for 35-40 minutes or until your desired toastiness is achieved.

In the last 5 minutes (or if you forget, stir the cauliflower, flip the pan around and put back in the oven), chuck the almonds & coconut on the pan. Roast to toast 3-5 minutes, being careful to watch and make sure these delicate additions don’t burn.

When done, add to a large bowl.

Chop and toss in the apple, garlic and parsley. Add the coconut milk, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. Toss to combine. Add enough pomegranate arils to make yourself happy.

Serve room temp or cold – either way is fantastic.

Serves 4 as a meal or a party as part of a larger spread

Fall Harvest Soup

This soup feels like a hearty, warm hug but gives a nice light dinner that doesn’t weigh one down.

Gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, halal, Whole30

Fall Harvest Soup

1 medium carrot, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cups kale, chopped
2 Tbsp. stock powder (I used a vegan chicken stock)
48 ounces water
1/2 can coconut milk
Generous sprinkle oregano
Generous sprinkle cumin
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Liberal sprinkle black pepper
Liberal salt
1.5 Tbsp. butter or vegan equivalent
Big hand full pepitas toasted in 1/2 tsp. coconut aminos
Optional: 4 ounces turkey bresaola, crisped until browned in a dry pan

Prep all veggies and add to a slow or multi cooker with spices and liquids (everything but the butter, pepitas and bresaola).

Press the stew/soup setting.

When complete, open the lid and add the butter/butter substitute. Let cool a bit and blend all but 1/4 until smooth. Add the reserved 1/4 back in for texture.

Serve topped with the pepitas and bresaola if desired.

Serves 6

Miso Rosemary Squash Salad

Screw it. The calendar says Fall, despite what the weather says. I’m tired of waiting and need some chilly weather comfort food!

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Miso Rosemary Squash Salad


1 Tablespoon white miso
1 Tablespoon date molasses
2 Tablespoons tahini
2 Tablespoons coconut aminos
1 Tablespoon oil
1 Tablespoon water


1-2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 butternut squash, seeds removed
Salt, pepper, ground cumin


1-2 Tablespoons zaatar
1 Tablespoon slivered almonds

Optional: Chicken or other protein

Preheat your oven to 200C. Scoop the seeds from the halved butternut squash, and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle rosemary, salt, pepper and ground cumin liberally. Roast 35-40 minutes or until soft.

Set aside until cool enough to handle, then scoop the roasted squash into a large bowl.

While the squash is working, add big handfuls of arugula to a large bowl. Whisk or whiz the dressing ingredients together. Add the squash when ready and sprinkle with the toppers.

Serves 2 as written; can easily be doubled.

Chipotle Pumpkin Soup

Faced with an unexpected CSA prize – an adorable pumpkin – I set out to find something fitting to do to this noble squash, aside from sitting it on the edge of my counter so I could ogle it daily, luxuriating in the little bit of Fall brought into my daily line of sight.

I researched pumpkin recipes high and low, got frustrated because it seems everything calls for canned pumpkin or butternut squash (because let’s face it: pumpkins are fickle, unpredictable bastards and a crap item to use in baking), or is a soup. I *always* make pumpkin soup.

That’s because pumpkin soup is delicious.

I settled on the flavors from one soup married to the flavors from another, with the cooking method of a third – and lo and behold, this soup was born. It’s hands-off lazy girl cooking at its finest, utilizing the crock pot and nothing else. And it smells divine while burbling away on the countertop all afternoon.

Note: As written, this soup is on the liquidy side. If you like super thick soups, you could probably get away with halving the stock or maybe omitting altogether.

Gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian and vegan if you use vegetable stock, Whole 30


Chipotle Pumpkin Soup

1 2 – 3 lb. pumpkin
1 small onion
2 chipotles in adobo
13.5 ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1 c. broth (I used some leftover bone broth stashed in the freezer for just such an occasion)
2 – 3 cloves garlic
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
Kosher salt
White pepper
The juice of 1 – 2 limes

Peel and chop your pumpkin into chunks. Add to a crock pot. Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Add. Chop the chipotle and add. Add the coconut milk, broth (mine was still frozen), cumin and oregano. Hit with 2 big pinches salt.

Cook 4 hours on high.

When cooked and cooled a bit, blend (be careful – need I remind you that piping hot liquid + a blender is a recipe for disaster if one is not really really careful?). Taste. Add the juice of 1 lime and a couple pinches salt. Taste. Add more lime and/or salt as necessary. I used 2 limes + 6 big pinches salt and a smattering of white pepper.

Serves 2 – 4, depending upon how large your servings are.

Miso Pepita Broiled Squash

I know I have a winner on my hands when the first taste of something horrifies my mouth – but subsequent tweaks and tastes cause me to salivate, eat too much, and wind up having to pour water over the bowl to cease the smorgasboarding. (sidebar: you don’t even want to know how many times I typed Smorgasburg instead of smorgasboard – I may have been living in Brooklyn too long)

Back to topic. This side is pretty great. The topping is sweet and salty and rich and a little crunchy – while the squash is a little sweet, soft and a touch velvety. The two play well nicely together.

Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo-ish [miso is not strictly paleo (neither is rice wine vinegar for that matter), but as far as soy products go – fermented isn’t quite the devil that unfermented is. I will also love my rice wine vinegar forever, regardless of what the paleo police say]


Miso Pepita Broiled Squash
Adapted from Broiled Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Miso Glaze by Saveur

1 medium butternut squash
Coconut oil
1/2 c. pepitas
1/4 c. white miso
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
Pinch red chili flakes
Pinch kosher salt

First, prep a baking sheet with tinfoil and set your oven to heat to 400 F.

Peel your squash with a vegetable peeler, cut into two easier-to-manage hunks, and cut into potato wedge looking sizes (scooping the guts from the bell end as you go). Lay on the prepped cookie sheet and drizzle a little coconut oil over. Toss well to coat. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake 30 minutes or until soft and just starting to brown a bit on the edges.

While your squash is baking, make the crumbly goodness.

Combine the pepitas, miso, maple syrup, vinegar, chili flakes & salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined and gravelly looking. Taste. The mixture should be weird but strangely delicious and addicting after the second taste or so.

If you need to cut the weirdness, adding a little more maple syrup would work; adding some “warmer” spices (like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice) may also help. I kept it weird.

When your squash is done, move your rack up and kick the oven on to broil.

Top your squash with the miso pepita mixture – I used the whole batch when I made it (mostly because I was already obsessed with the taste, but in hindsight this was a wise choice).

Broil 3 minutes or so, until the top is nice and crunchy and browned.

Serves 4 as a side. 

Bread-Free Pork & Sweet Potato Stuffing

Mmmm… stuffing. Some people seem to go bugnutty over stuffing this time of year. I think Stove Top has addressed this issue properly in their holiday 2013 spots – hilarious. I remember just such “wars” breaking out at Thanksgiving when I was a kid. My family was divided – some preferred Stove Top, some Pepperidge Farms, and some my grandmother’s oyster dressing made with wild rice (which, to be fair, was always served alongside stuffing – and was gross).

Me? I’ve never been too crazy about stuffing. Or dressing, for that matter. I loved bread as much as the next kid – but dressing, not so much. And stuffing in the bird always freaked me right out. About the only part of the whole stuffing/dressing issue I dug were the two bites of almost burnt, butter-drenched bites on the top (or bottom – depends on who was doing the scooping) of the bowl (but only if it had a lot of celery) and that’s about it. Mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and that infernal canned cranberry jelly were really where it was always at for me. Don’t get me started on cranberry sauce vs. cranberry jelly. I realize the stuff in the can is possibly radioactive and only maybe once met a cranberry somewhere way back in its past – but yum. Gelatinous tart and sweet tastiness. “Fancy” cranberry sauce is just wrong.

Enter adulthood, and my own Turkey Day traditions – and nary a stuffing or dressing in sight. I still do a green bean, usually some sort of gravy (sadly, not my grandmother’s giblet gravy – that recipe I don’t have and can’t find), a bevy of potatoes, and generally some sort of decadent pork dish at the center.

This paleo-ified and gluten-free stuffing would make the perfect holiday get-together side – and makes a darn tasty dinner in and of itself. Plus, any leftovers can be transformed into a luxurious lunch with the addition of — wait for it — you’ll never guess — an egg.


Bread-Free Pork & Sweet Potato Stuffing 

1 pound ground pork
4 ribs celery
1/4 c. chopped pecan bits
1 Tbsp. fresh picked thyme
5 small cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. granulated garlic
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted grass-fed butter (Kerrygold)
2 small sweet potatoes (about 2 cups when diced)
Kosher salt & cracked black pepper

Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium – medium-high heat. Add the pork and start breaking up with a spatula. Sautee until deeply browned, mashing and stirring frequently to break up into as tiny pieces as possible and avoid over-browning.

While that is working, peel and petite dice the sweet potatoes. Chop the celery and garlic. Pick the thyme and chop.

When the pork is done, remove to a paper towel lined bowl to hang out for awhile (keep the fat in the pan to use for the veggies).

Add the potatoes, celery & garlic to the pan. If there is less than a Tablespoon or so of fat in the pan, add a little coconut oil. Add the onion powder, thyme, a few pinches salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Sautee the veggies, stirring frequently and turning the heat down to medium if necessary until the celery is beginning to soften and the potatoes have gone soft and golden in spots. This should take 5-10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat a smallish pan over medium heat and add the butter. Add the pecans and cook until beginning to brown.

To serve, mix all components – the reserved browned pork niblets, potato mixture and pecans and chow down.

Makes enough to feed 2 for dinner as a main dish + 1 for lunch bolstered with a couple of eggs. If you want to serve a whole gathering, scale up – keeping the ratio of thyme-heaviness, celery and onion powder appropriate to your amount of sweet potatoes. 

Pork Chops with Bacon-studded Sweet Potato Puree and Apple Bourbon Gastrique (paleo)

This dish screams fall all over. Orange! Apple! Bourbon! Pork! Bacon! And yum, don’t forget yum. Although this dish might look long and complicated, once you get going it is quick to prepare – and only dirties up a single pan + a small pot. Win-win.

Blergh. Picture taking fail - no other pictures turned out.
Blergh. Picture taking fail – no other pictures turned out.

For the apple bourbon gastrique

1/4 c. apple juice or apple cider
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar (I used Dr. Bronner’s)
1/4 c. bourbon or whiskey (I used Honey Jack – yes, I’m aware bourbon – especially a bastardized bourbon – isn’t strict paleo. Suck it, paleo police. It’s delicious.)

Add to a small pot over high heat. Boil until reduced by a third.

For the bacon-studded sweet potato mash & apples

2 small sweet potatoes
4 c. vegetable stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme + 2 tsp. thyme leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. salt
4 slices thick cut bacon
1 granny smith apple

Peel and dice the potatoes (about 1/4 inch cubes – I ended up with about 2 cups). Add to a medium pot and cover with the stock. Add the thyme and set over high heat. Boil 5 minutes, or until tender. When the potatoes are fork tender, drain – reserving about half a cup of cooking liquid – and add to a food processor. Mash with 2 tsp. chopped thyme, the chili powder and salt until smooth, adding splashes of reserved cooking liquid as you go.

While your potatoes are boiling, fry the bacon until crispy and slice the apple thinly. When the bacon is browned, remove from the pan and set aside to drain. Crumble and mix in with the mashed potatoes.

To the hot pan, add the apple and fry in bacon fat until browned. Remove and set aside.

For the pork

2 boneless butterflied pork chops
1 Tbsp. chopped thyme
1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Heat the coconut oil in the vacated pan over medium-high heat. Pat the chops dry with paper towels and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper and thyme on both sides. When the pan is hot, add the chops and cook 3-4 minutes per side, or until done to your liking.

Let the meat rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 2