I love the holidays, and one thing about the season I look forward to most is indulging in all the holiday meals I grew up eating; roast turkey, sweet potato soufflé—which is to die for but loaded with butter, flour and sugar and is still considered a “vegetable” dish—mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, orange rolls and lefse, my favorite Norwegian holiday staple. Then theres my Grandmothers famous cookies which my family and I have desperately tried to perfect. I cherish this time with my loved ones and look forward to it all year long, but all the indulging definitely takes a toll on my body. New years resolutions have never worked for me and I’ve realized that I feel overwhelmed by the pressure of attaining the goal, but then I shame spiral when I fail as a result—not a good way to start off the year. What I have found helpful is simply reflecting on the year, my accomplishments, behaviors and habits and think about the ways I’d like to improve and grow. I’ll jot down my thoughts and take a look at them every couple days or weeks to refresh my mind on my priorities for the new year. One of the recurrent themes from my reflections every year is to slow down! When it comes to food, I find that when I think less about making the “healthiest choice” and focus on slowing down and simply listening to my body, I inevitably make better choices.
I found inspiration for this recipe while reading through some of the notes I made from our summer trip to New York and Europe. I remembered a lovely appetizer I had at the Bowery Meat Company in New York with thinly sliced zucchini, feta and pistachios. My salad version of the dish is incredibly simple, light and very flavorful. You might want to make this as an appetizer for a dinner party, a light lunch for yourself, or accompanied by a protein for dinner with your family. Whatever the occasion I hope you enjoy and it makes your body feel good. Happy New Year!
Ingredients (serves 4 as appetizer, serves 2 as side dish)
2 medium zucchini squash, 2 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced into rounds
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp chopped basil
1 tsp chopped chives
1 tsp chopped mint
1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
3/4 cups cubed feta
1/2 cup pine nuts
Wash squash and thinly slice into rounds, using a mandolin if you have one.
Combine extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, basil, mint and salt in a small tupperware container and shake aggressively until combined. Alternatively, you can whisk ingredients together in a bowl to combine.
Assemble one layer of squash in a casserole dish and sprinkle with 1/3 of herb dressing, 1/3 of pine nuts and 1/3 of cubed feta. Continue by assembling two more layers of squash, topped with herb dressing, pine nuts and feta with the same proportions. Serve immediately.