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Integrative health recipe corner: fall harvest salad & spaghetti with broccolini pesto

Oct 28, 2016


This month’s first recipe focuses on fall and incorporates some easy-to-find fall ingredients—sweet potatoes or butternut squash, and pears—into the recipe. Both recipes focus on vegetables with bright colors, as colorful food is a sign of plenty of phytochemicals. Incorporating phytochemical- and anti-oxidant-rich foods into the diet offers protection against many health conditions, including cancer. Sweet potatoes or butternut squash contain beta-carotene and other carotenoids; broccolini (a hybrid of broccoli and kale) is a cruciferous vegetable bright green in color and high in fiber. Less colorful vegetables, including onions, garlic, shallots and cauliflower (you’ll find the first three in one or both of these two recipes—they are members of the Allium family) have plenty of anti-cancer effects in them, too, so don’t forget to include them in your diet along with brightly-colored vegetables.

Fall harvest salad

Though this recipe is a little more time-consuming to create, it is simple. And, another bonus: the recipe makes a large quantity. It can be served as a side salad, but with the addition of a good protein source—either cubes of baked tofu seasoned with dressing similar to that in the salad, goat or feta cheese, or more nuts and seeds—it can serve as a main meal for lunch or dinner.

Serves: 6


  • 3 cups of roasted sweet potatoes* (1.5 pounds uncooked)
  • ¾ cup of maple ginger vinaigrette
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 18 ounces (6 ¾ cups) of spring mix lettuce
  • 3 cups of wild rice, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons of green onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons of dried unsweetened cherries**
  • 2 tablespoons of walnuts***, toasted and chopped

Maple ginger vinaigrette ingredients:

  • 1 medium fresh pear (without core or stem), roasted
  • ¼ cup shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/ 2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup of pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup unsweetened apple juice
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Toss 2 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into ¾- inch cubes, with 2 teaspoons of real maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of olive oil; season with ¼ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper.

Roast sweet potatoes for 20-25 minutes until just cooked through; once removed, reduce oven heat to 350°F.

Prepare the maple dinger vinaigrette dressing:

Place the whole pear on a sheet pan and roast for 25-30 minutes at 350°F until softened and slightly caramelized.

Place the pear in a blender or food processor with the remaining dressing ingredients and puree until smooth.

Combine the lettuce, rice, sweet potatoes, onions, and dried cherries with the dressing and toss together.

Place the mixture in the bottom of a bowl.

Garnish with chopped walnuts.

* You can substitute the sweet potatoes with butternut squash.
** You can substitute the dried, unsweetened cherries with regular or reduced sugar dried cranberries.
***You can substitute either pecans or pumpkin seeds for the walnuts. 

Spaghetti with broccolini pesto

This recipe is a quick dish to prepare. Edamame, which are immature soybeans, is the main protein source. Besides being a good protein source, it is low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol, it is high in fiber, and it’s an excellent source of iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, copper and manganese.

 Serves: 4 (1 ¾ cups per serving)


  • 2 bunches broccolini
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti or capellini
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed


Place a large saucepan of water on the stovetop to boil.

Separate broccolini florets and stems.

Cook the stems in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes, to soften. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a food processor.

Cook pasta in the boiling water per package directions. Add the florets during the last minute of cooking. Drain the pasta and florets and return to the saucepan.

Meanwhile, add basil, parmesan, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt and pepper to the food processor. Pulse, scraping down the sides a few times, until mostly pureed. Drizzle in oil and puree until smooth.

Add the pesto and edamame to the pasta mixture and gently toss to combine. Place over medium heat and gently stir until hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with more Parmesan cheese, if desired. 

Written by: Massey Communications Office

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