roasted butternut squash salad with cranberries + goat cheese

this salad reminds me a bit of christmas morning. the tiny little packages of roasted butternut squash are strewn all over a floor of baby greens, topped with cranberry bows + tied with goat cheese ribbons.

but just as any beautiful christmas package – it’s what’s inside that counts! and inside those beautiful ingredients is the real present. we’re talkin’ nutrients here people! and speaking of stuff that’s good for you, did you know that butternut squash is a leader in the veggie world for eye health!? who knew! butternut squash is rich in carotenoids, folate, vitamins a, b6, + c – all those fancy words mean nutrients. and the bottom line: nutrients are important for keeping your eyes on the prize.

roasted butternut squash

over here in my ambitious kitchen i try my best to balance some kitchen guilty pleasures with ingredients that nutritionally shine and let’s just say, this salad excuses that extra piece of bacon {or three} that i steal from the skillet every sunday!

eye health is something that is often overlooked. {PUNS!} bugs bunny taught us that a chomp on a carrot here or there will help us see + in turn escape elmer fudd. wearing this season’s ray-bans help protect us from those pesky UV rays. but, there’s gotta be more? right?

roasted butternut squash salad ingredients

right! turns out there’s tozens of ingredients that you can incorporate into your light lunches + delightful dinners that will make a difference!

with macular degeneration affecting more than 10 million americans, it is the leading cause of vision loss for those 55 + older. my grandmother + two great aunts suffered from macular degeneration + knowing first hand what they went through gives me that extra push to add in a bit of butternut here + a handful of blueberries there. another reason? fresh veggies are delicious! duh!

roasted butternut squash salad with cranberries and goat cheese

so today, i’m doing something awesome! i am showing my support for eye health by blogging about healthy vision! i encourage you to grab yourself a bowl of this satisfying salad, then take just a few seconds + read some fun {cooking is fun peeps!} ways to increase + incorporate these optic superfoods into your diet!

once you’re done, you’ll have a new salad to share with your loved ones, all while becoming a believer that it’s as easy as a blink of an eye {you know i had to. .} to amp up your eye health!

roasted butternut squash salad with cranberries pecans and goat cheese


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butternut squash salad with cranberries + goat cheese
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch chunks {about 2 cups}
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1¼ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • One 5-ounce bag baby greens
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pecan halves, lightly chopped
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon freshly snipped chives
Instructions
  1. preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. in a mixing bowl, toss the butternut squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the agave nectar, and 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.
  3. spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment + bake until tender and golden, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing after 10 minutes. set aside to cool.
  4. assemble the baby greens, cranberries, pecans + goat cheese in a salad bowl.
  5. top with the butternut squash.
  6. in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard, chives, ¼ teaspoon salt + extra pepper into a vinaigrette and toss with the salad.
  7. serve immediately + enjoy!
Notes
Recipe from Eat Right For Your Sight: Simple Tasty Recipes That Help Reduce the Risk of Vision Loss from Macular Degeneration, By Jennifer Trainer Thompson and Johanna M. Seddon, copyright © American Macular Degeneration Foundation, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 360 Fat: 30 Saturated fat: 5 Sodium: 260 Fiber: 4 Protein: 4


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  • eat three colors of veggies + fruit every day. the nutrients for your eye health come from the pigment in vegetables and fruit!
  • when it comes to eye health, the darker the better! go for a red pepper over a yellow one, kale over romaine + blueberries over honeydew!
  • did you know that farm fresh eggs from well-fed hens produce darker yolks than the pale yolks you’ll find in ‘factory’ eggs from grocery stores? we talked about darker being better so go for the gold! {the puns are out of control and i just love it.}
  • omega 3 fatty acids are important to healthy development of your brain, nerves and eyes. they are found in salmon, sardines, mackerel, flaxseeds, walnuts, squash + tofu.
  • deep-colored antioxidants charge directly to your retina. antioxident – now there’s a buzzword that puts kale to shame! learn more about antioxidents here + eat more blueberries, grapes, pomegranates + cranberries like the smoothie here.

 

zucchini pizza bites

i love pizza.

my hips hate pizza.

everyone loves zucchini pizza!

sliced zucchini for pizza bites

these little bites are the perfect balance of indulgence + thinking skinny. the best part is that they are totally customizable!

grilled zucchini for pizza bites

remember build-a-bear? well. i know it’s still around, so i guess what i’m saying is remember when you were the one building the bear? so many options! should the bear be a ballerina!? maybe a police officer! how about you pick the bunny instead of the bear + really blow peoples minds. options, my friends, that’s what makes the world go ‘round.

zucchini pizza bites right out of the oven

and options, that’s the best part of these little pizza bites. you can top ’em with whatever your heart desires + maybe even pull a ‘pick the bunny’ move + slather your favorite bbq sauce on the zucchini slices to make bbq chicken zucchini pizza bites! you crazy kid!

hand held zucchini pizza bites


 

zucchini pizza bites
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 28 bites
Ingredients
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 6 turkey pepperoni, quartered
  • 3 tbsp pizza sauce
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • ¼ cup peperoncini, diced
  • ½ c mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. turn your broiler on low.
  2. heat a grill pan, or skillet, over medium-high heat. spray with non-stick spray {such as trader joe's coconut oil spray- seriously the best}
  3. cook your zucchini just 2 minutes per side, or until cooked through + softened
  4. once cooked, transfer the zucchini to a foil-lined sheet pan
  5. top your zucchini with desired pizza toppings {sauce first, cheese then toppings} + broil until cheese is golden + melty!
Notes
nutritional facts based on ingredients listed spread over 28 slices.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 zucchini slice Calories: 9


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these are great for entertaining! make a few variations + add them to your appetizer rotation, basically anything bite size is appetizer worthy. another appetizer plus: they taste just as delish at room temperature! #coldpizza

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don’t be afraid of gadgets! using a mandolin to evenly slice the zucchini will yield even cooking for all. but a knife + some focus works just groovy.

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the most tedious part of this recipe is topping the bites because there are so many! for a short cut, try mixing together your cheese + desired toppings then place the mixture over each slice!