The Turkey’s in the oven, the sides are finishing on the stove, and your hungry guests are knocking at the door. Favorite Holiday Nosh Platter With Spiced Pecans to the rescue!
There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than hungry family and friends circling the kitchen for something to eat while the hosts scamper about trying to put finishing touches on the holiday meal. Inevitably, no matter how well we plan and how much we try to keep to a schedule, there’s the random set-back that has us racing around in a fury with our hair on fire. Can you relate?
A nosh platter this beautiful and nutritious does double duty – it’s a conversation piece AND a delicious distraction, giving the hosts time to breathe and finish the main meal.
Gorgeous Chioggia striped beets (talk about distracting!), sweet golden acorn squash, cinnamony pears, creamy, simply-seasoned ricotta, surprisingly spiced pecans (which can be prepared days and weeks ahead) and crunchy, ruby red pomegranate seeds all join in synchronous harmony to appease the eyes and palate.
The best part? It’s EASY! And easy never looked THIS GOOD! Let’s start with the fact that you use parchment paper to line a baking sheet, which means two things 1) you can save your pretty platters for the side dishes, and 2) instant clean-up. Let’s face it, there’s nothing fun about holiday dinner clean-up. Nothing.
I know what you’re thinking right about now A) “There’s no way I’m falling behind on my holiday dinner because I have a plan and I’m sticking to it!”, or B) “This platter is lovely enough to serve with the holiday meal.” You catch on fast, don’t you?
There’s no reason in the world this Favorite Holiday Nosh Platter shouldn’t be part of your holiday dinner plans – either as a crowd control measure or as a beautiful side to serve alongside the holiday meal. I hope you’ll add it to your holiday favorites list this year and for many more to come. Happy noshing!
Favorite Holiday Nosh Platter With Spiced Pecans
Feed guests as they arrive with this easy Favorite Holiday Nosh Platter. The perfect dinner host solution for busy holiday dinners. Cut up as much squash and pears as you need to feed your group.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 40
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Acorn squash, sliced into long 1 inch thick slices (qty. as needed)
- 2-3 small beets (Chioggia or whatever variety you have available), sliced into rounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for finishing
- Bosc pear(s), sliced from the top down in 1/4 inch slices (qty. as needed)
- (1) 15 oz. tub whole milk ricotta cheese, brought to room temperature
- handful of fresh sage leaves
- 2 tablespoons butter
- cinnamon to taste
- sugar to taste (optional)
- 1 pomegranate, seeds removed
For the Pecans
- 1 cup whole pecans*
- spray oil, such as coconut or avocado
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- pinch of cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Begin by tossing the squash slices and beets with the olive oil to coat and sprinkle with salt to taste (add a dash of cumin if you wish). Place squash slices and beets on baking sheet, leaving room for the pears (which you will add to the baking sheet after the squash and beets have cooked for 20 minutes). Set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the pears by spraying them lightly with cooking oil and sprinking them with cinnamon and sugar (if using) to taste. At the 20 minute baking mark, add the pears to the baking sheet and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
Give the ricotta cheese a few stirs to soften it and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Prepare the pecans by tossing them in a heated skillet (medium-high heat) sprayed with cooking oil. Toss the nuts for about 1 minute (constantly tossing to prevent from burning), and add the cumin and cayenne pepper. Give the nuts a quick toss to cover evenly and drizzle the honey to coat all the nuts. Turn the burner off and toss the nuts to cover evenly with the honey. Place the nuts in a small bowl and set aside.
Rinse and remove residue from the skillet and return it to the stove. Quickly fry the whole sage leaves over medium-high heat in one the two tablespoons of butter until they become crispy (about one minute), and remove them from the heat. Set aside. Reserve the butter in the pan for drizzling.
When the squash, beets, and pears have finished baking, clear a space in the middle of the baking sheet and add the ricotta cheese. Toss the pecans, pomegranate seeds and sage leaves all over the tray. Finish with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle the whole thing with olive oil. Drizzle the sage butter over the ricotta. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
*To save time, the pecans can be prepared up to several weeks ahead of time and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Make multiple batches of these delicious pecans and give them as holiday gifts to friends and neighbors.