Whole Living Daily

Lunch Bunch: The Roots of Fall

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This week's Lunch Bunch was all about the root vegetables -- beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips -- plus some other autumn all-stars, like butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash. Clearly our fall dishes have been more labor-intensive to prepare than our simple summer recipes (seriously, can we talk about cutting up a butternut squash?), but that makes them arguably more satisfying. At least to those of us who weren't peeling and slicing awkwardly-shaped veggies.

Autumn Panzanella Salad
15-20 baby red beets, peeled and quartered
2 small butternut squash, peeled and sliced
1 acorn squash, peeled and sliced
3 apples (any sweet variety), sliced
6 slices gluten-free bread
3 tablespoons olive oil

Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets on baking tray and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for 45 minutes. Place squash on baking trays and toss with remaining tablespoons of olive oil. Roast for the remaining 20 minutes of the beets' baking cycle, on the bottom rack, until fork-tender.

Meanwhile, whisk together mustard and vinegar. Stream in olive oil as you continue whisking. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

When beets and squash are finished, place in large bowl while still warm. Turn oven down to 250 degrees. Place bread on baking sheet and roast till golden brown. Cut bread into bite-sized chunks and place into bowl with beets and squash. Add the sliced apples into the bowl as well. Toss with the vinaigrette while still warm. Let the dish sit for 20 minutes to absorb the vinaigrette.

Raw Root Vegetable Slaw
4 carrots
2 turnips
3 parsnips
1 medium sized celery root

Dressing
Olive oil
Apple cider vinegar
Dijon mustard

Peel all vegetables and grate in the food processor.  Store dry until ready to eat, then add a dressing of 3 parts olive oil, 2 parts apple cider vinegar, and 2 part Dijon mustard.  Salt and pepper generously to taste.  (Note: this will make a lot, so reduce the amount of vegetables if serving a small crowd.)

Spaghetti Squash Bake

1 3 and 3/4- to 4-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
1 eggplant, cut into 1" cubes
1 cup mushrooms, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place squash flesh side down on baking sheet. Toss eggplant and mushrooms in 9x14 pan with salt, pepper, olive oil to coat. Place squash and eggplant mix in oven preheated to 375F, bake ~40 minutes, or until squash is soft and easily separates with fork. Remove squash and eggplant and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, saute bell pepper, onion, and garlic over medium high heat, until onions are clear, then add marinara. Allow to cool.

Once squash is baked and has cooled, use fork to remove strands. Mix squash, eggplant, and sauce together until all coated with marinara, and spoon back into shells. Coat with Parmesan.

Refrigerate overnight, or heat immediately. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or 30 minutes if chilled. Cut shells in half to make four servings or serve in the shells with a serving spoon.

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