Thank you to organicgirl for sponsoring this post!
You’ve probably heard the old adage that “you eat with your eyes first.” How a food looks visually is one of the first sensory impressions we get before we dive in. So it makes sense that if a dish looks visually appealing, it will be more appetizing to us. People often ask me how they can get their families to eat healthier foods. Ultimately, how a dish tastes is the most important thing so my tips usually revolve around how to maximize flavor without maximizing the calories and fat. But almost equally as important is how a dish looks.
Perhaps it comes from all of my years doing food styling for the blog and my cookbooks, but the truth is that I love to make my food look pretty. So here’s another tip- get creative and dress it up! It doesn’t have to be complicated- something as simple as a garnish of colorful herbs, chopped nuts or a sprinkle of freshly grated cheese can dress up a healthy dish and make your family more likely to want to eat it.
My Butternut Squash Flatbread with Sweet Pea Greens is a light, vegetarian dish that’s packed with beautiful colors and nutritious whole foods. Equally suitable as an appetizer for an elegant dinner party or a weeknight family dinner, this dish is easy to make, delicious and good for you too. Plus, it’s not too bad to look at.
I was inspired by the beautiful sweet pea greens that I received from organicgirl. I use organicgirl products quite often because they offer the highest quality, organic produce. They have many interesting and unique salad greens and all of their products are triple washed and sold in earth-friendly 100% recycled plastic packaging. Their sweet pea greens contain a mixture of delicate sweet pea shoots with tender baby greens. Packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate, and protein, the greens have subtle sweet flavor. They make an excellent addition to salads but I wanted to do something a little different, so I created this flatbread.
Naan is an Indian flatbread that can be found in specialty stores like Whole Foods and in some traditional grocery stores (I found it at my local Publix). If you can’t find it, you can use whole wheat pizza dough or make your own dough. I topped the flatbread with a mixture of creamy ricotta cheese and fresh thyme and then arranged the sliced butternut squash on top. After a sprinkling of freshly
grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and some more thyme, the flatbreads were ready to go in the oven on a baking sheet.
Colorful, vibrant and delicious, this nutritious, vegetarian flatbread is a feast for the senses.
- 1 small butternut squash
- 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided use
- Salt and pepper
- 2/3 cup part skim ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh thyme plus extra for garnish
- 2 whole wheat naan flatbreads (Stonefire Tandoor Baked Whole Grain Naan)
- ½ ounce freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 2 cups organicgirl sweet pea greens
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Cut the neck (long part) of the butternut squash off from the body (rounded part). Peel the neck with a vegetable peeler and cut it into thin slices (about ¼-inch thick) using a mandoline slicer. You should have about 8 ounces of squash. Reserve the remaining squash for another use.
- Toss the squash slices with 2 teaspoons olive oil and season them with a pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange them on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Mix the ricotta cheese, thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Spread the ricotta mixture on the flatbreads leaving a ½-inch border along the edges. Arrange the squash slices on top of the ricotta. Sprinkle the Parmigiana Reggiano cheese on top along with a few extra thyme leaves.
- Place the flatbreads on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until the bread is toasted and cheese is melted. Remove from oven.
- Toss the sweet pea greens with a teaspoon of olive oil and the lemon juice. Season them with a pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange the greens on top of the flatbreads. Cut into pieces and serve.
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