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Seasonal Vegetarian Recipes From A Healthy Chef

Candice Kumai
Written by Candice Kumai
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Today, healthy living chef, author and TV host, Candice Kumai lends us four beautiful, nutritious recipes she will be making over the holidays.

Kale, Swiss Chard & Butternut Squash Salad

With raw butternut squash ribbons, crisp kale, delicate Swiss chard, and an orange vinaigrette, this salad is simple and one of my favorites to enjoy for the holidays!

Serves 6

For the Orange Vinaigrette

  • 1 medium shallot, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup pulp-free orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the salad

  • 2 medium bunches (4 cups) kale, chopped
  • 1 medium bunch Swiss or rainbow chard
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 6 ounces fresh chèvre (goat cheese), crumbled


1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients for vinaigrette to combine.

2. Clean and thoroughly dry kale and chard. With a sharp knife, remove woody stems from kale. Chop both greens into bite-size pieces.

3. Remove and discard seeds from butternut squash. Use a vegetable peeler to slice thin ribbons from inside squash.

4. In a large bowl, combine greens, squash ribbons, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. Toss with half the vinaigrette. Transfer salad to 6 plates. Top with crumbled chèvre and serve additional vinaigrette on the side.

Pan Seared Brussels With Apricots & Toasted Almonds

Being a little snot about eating your greens is so out. This recipe is quite frankly, my simplest holiday must-have for greens. Enjoy my sweet friends.

Serves 6


  • 1 ½ – 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and julienned (sliced thin)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup dried apricots, julienned
  • ½ cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • sea salt, to taste


1. Toast the sliced almonds over a stovetop or in the oven for approx. 5 minutes on low heat.

2. Trim and thinly slice the Brussels sprouts into a fine julienne.

3. Thinly slice the apricots into a fine julienne.

4. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

Maple-Glazed Butternut Squash

5. Add in the Brussels sprouts, the apricots and toss well to coat in olive oil. Season with the vinegar and honey. Sauté for approx. 8 minutes.

6. Add in the toasted slivered almonds.

7. Season with sea salt to taste.

Maple-Glazed Butternut Squash

Serves 4


  • 1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, cut lengthwise, seeded, and sliced into 1⁄2-inch half-moons
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh
  • sage
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the butternut squash, olive oil, maple syrup, herbs, and sea salt.

3. Spread the mixture evenly across the baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender and the edges are crispy.

Adapted from Cook Yourself Sexy by Candice Kumai

Bosc Pears In Mulled Vino

I love Shiraz for poaching pears—it's dry and not too sweet. The spices, citrus zest and sugar really make this a fantastic treat—it's like the pears are taking a hot, sexy vino bath! When I can find Meyer lemons in the wintertime, I like to grate some zest over the ice cream. Serve the pears whole, or halve them to serve more people (with fewer calories per serving).

Serves 8


  • 1 bottle Syrah wine (preferably Californian) 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 5 whole cloves
  • one 4-inch long and 1/4-inch wide strip lemon zest Four 4-inch long and 1/4-inch wide strips orange zest 4 Bosc pears, peeled, stem on
  • 1 pint lemon sorbet or light vanilla ice cream (optional)


1. Combine the wine with 2 cups of water in a large saucepan to a simmer. Add the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, star anise, cloves, and citrus zests and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the pears, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook gently until the pears are stained a deep, dark purple color, about 30 minutes, turning the pears once or twice while they poach. 3-Turn off the heat, uncover the pan, and let the pears cool.

4. Remove the pears from the saucepan and set aside. Strain the liquid through a sieve and discard the spices. Pour the liquid back into the pan and bring to a simmer over medium- high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until it the liquid is syrupy and reduced by half, 45 to 50 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Cool the syrup to room temperature.

5. Place the pears on your work surface. Halve them lengthwise and core them using a melon baller. Place a pear half in a bowl, top with a scoop of ice cream or sorbet, drizzle with the Shiraz syrup and serve with lemon sorbet or light ice cream.

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