This post is sponsored by Now Foods. However, all content, opinions and enthusiasm are my own.
It’s easy to excited about September and the promise of all things autumn – the crisper weather, the golden cast the sun makes, the rah-rah of sports teams, and, of course, comforting food in all the fall flavors . . . especially apple!
My Apple Freekah Salad with Ancho Honey Vinaigrette makes a hearty yet still healthy choice for lunch or dinner, packed with filling whole grains, pumpkin seeds, golden raisins and spinach. It’s also a great choice for football tailgating, as it can be served warm or cold. Read on to get the full recipe and learn more about the benefits of apples, freekeh and pumpkin seeds.
If someone says “granola” and do you instantly think sweet, crunchy and . . . spicy? Probably not, but I’m here to share my recipe for Ancho Chile Honey Granola — it might just be the most delicious and versatile granola recipe ever. The secret is a dash of ancho chile powder — don’t worry, ancho chiles (referred to as poblano peppers when fresh) aren’t super hot, they are the sweetest of the dried chiles and most commonly used in authentic Mexican cooking.
Packed with pumpkin seeds, almonds, chia seeds, this easy granola recipe is a fantastic way to get the benefits of the heart healthy fats that nuts and seeds offer.It’s lightly sweetened with honey to complement the mild ancho heat.Use the savory-sweet granola to top a tomato salad (as pictured), to add a crunch factor to green salads, atop soups, as a crispy topping on baked fish or chicken — or simply eaten straight out of the container!
Oh, and you’re going to LOVE that it’s super easy to make — just requiring 10 minutes in a skillet on the stove top rather than the lengthy baking of traditional granola recipes. I originally created this recipe for the Living Litehouse Blog at LitehouseFoods.com, check it out — I’m a big fan of their Instantly Fresh Herbs.
Add coconut oil to large skillet and bring to medium-high heat.
Add pepita seeds, slivered almonds and chili powder to skillet and stir for 1 – 2 minutes or until beginning to toast. Add honey and stir to combine.
Mix oats, chia seeds, dried cilantro and sea salt to skillet, stirring well to coat with honey mixture. Continue to stir over medium heat for approximately 5 – 6 minutes
longer, taking care that honey doesn’t start to burn.
Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes in skillet. Transfer to air-tight container using spatula to break up any pieces stuck to skillet.
Make salad by slicing tomatoes and sprinkling with yellow bell pepper and cilantro. Top with a dollop of ranch dip and ancho chile honey granola.
I picked a peck of “Sharon” persimmons from Frieda’s Produce – I’ve never had one of these curious fruits in my life! This particular “Sharon” type of persimmon is tomato-shaped with a smooth skin of pale orange to orange-red with a sweet, mild flavor and is nearly seedless. So, I put these pretty little thinks on the counter to ripen like a tomato, but no change . . . for weeks! So finally, I sliced into one and was very surprised to find out how sweet and ready to eat it as it was!
Health and Nutrition Benefits of Persimmons: This sweet and pulpy fruit is packed with a variety of health benefits. For example, the “divine fruit” provides nearly 80% of the daily value for vitamin C and is a good source of fiber. Persimmons are high in other vitamin and mineral content including vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin B6 along with manganese, copper, potassium and phosphorous. Benefits from the range of these nutrients have been linked to reduction in certain types of cancer, improved eye health, lowered blood pressure, relief from digestive issues and more. A serving of persimmon (100 grams) has 70 calories and almost no fat.
Back to my persimmon windfall . . . I wasn’t really sure how to eat persimmons, outside of slices. Though about grilling some (and still may), but then decided to pair up with the best avocados from California – because everything is awesome with avocado! Am I right?! BTW, California avocados are in season right now and so much better than the ones exported from across the border year-round.
Hope you enjoy my recipe for Persimmon Avocado Feta Salad with Chili-dusted Shrimp and Lime Vinaigrette –it tastes as yummy as it is colorful. Plus, it’s a light, healthy Paleo-friendly dish (omit the cheese if you must) providing lean protein from the shrimp, vitamin A and C from the persimmon, and heart-healthy fats thanks to creamy, dreamy avocado.
Pat peeled and deveined shrimp dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with chile powder and salt, slightly rub in.
Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring. Shrimp will be done when they have turned pink and are no longer translucent. Take care not to overcook. Transfer shrimp to plat to cool for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice persimmons and avocado and arrange on plate. Sprinkle with feta and cilantro and top with cooled shrimp.
To make lime vinaigrette, add all ingredients for dressing into small jar and shake until emulsified.