I think it's about time I gave a shout-out to one of my favorite food blogs on the net, Serious Eats. If you love food, cooking, and reading about food and cooking, this blog is likely right up your alley. I could wax poetic for a good two, three stanzas about SE, but I'll stick with the point of this post, which is thanking them for this Thanksgiving Salad recipe. If you scroll into the comments (it's safe - I assure you that SE is one of the few places in the web where there be no dragons in the comments section), you'll see me declaring my intent to make it for dinner, and a few hours later, declaring that it was awesome. And it was.
Even disregarding the fact of their clearly superior photography, it's clear that this dish is not quite the same. I made a few changes when I made it last week. I still had brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes around, so I decided to make it again today, with even more changes based on Keith's feedback. I replaced the turkey with black beans, because we almost never have meat in the house. I used orzo instead of Israeli couscous, toasted it in butter, and cooked it in no-chicken broth. I tossed everything in a punchy lemon vinaigrette (with a good dose of dijon mustard).
I gobbled it down for lunch, and before Keith had the chance to taste it and declare his clear approval for my changes, I gobbled down the rest for dinner. Gobble, gobble.
This dish lays in an interesting limbo from a dietitian's perspective. The sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts are obviously great choices, as are the black beans and toasted almonds (actually toasting your almonds is terrible for their nutritional quality, but whatevs). On the other hand, those are tossed in a bowl of white pasta, and let me tell you: I did not hold back on the fat with this dish. There's probably a good six tablespoons of fat in this recipe, between the olive oil and butter, plus the fat in the other ingredients.
But did I care about this as I wolfed it down for the 2/3 of my daily meals? Not really. Because, you know, maybe dishes like this aren't really in "limbo," but instead they strike the perfect balance. A variety of healthy choices, mixed with a few indulgences. I could try and look at this meal, chide myself about the six tablespoons of fat, and say, "This is a bad food, and you should feel bad about it." But I don't. And no one eating like this should!