This post was sponsored by the California Dried Plum Board. Although I was compensated to write this post, all opinions are my own.
Gluten free recipe: Roasted Fall Veggie Sheet Pan with Prunes + Proscuitto
Oh. My. Delicious. If you’re looking for the perfect fall dish, look no further. This roasted veggie sheet pan is the perfect way to showcase some of fall’s best. One thing I loved about making this superfood recipe was the versatility. It would be great as a side dish, but add some rice and / or quinoa, and it’s a dish all on its own. Perfect for Thanksgiving, but also easy enough for lunch or dinner any night of the week!
Not only is this amazing dish gluten free, but it’s PACKED with health benefits. We all know that vegetables are good for us. We know that Brussels are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. We know that butternut squash is a great source of fiber, potassium, vitamins and bone health. But let’s talk about prunes for a second.
Benefits of California prunes:
Did you know prunes are a superfood? Yep! New studies are showing that California prunes in particular are the highest fruit in antioxidants! Blueberries never stood a chance. And in fact, research is also showing that prunes may be one of the most valuable foods to include in your diet!
One serving of prunes, 4-5, has 3 grams of fiber, only 100 calories, but NO fat, sodium or cholesterol! Magnesium and potassium, two things severely missing from most American’s diets – prunes are great sources of both. Additionally, prunes improve absorption of calcium. As a woman with a lot of bone health issues in my family, I know that ingesting prunes are supporting my current and future bone health.
Are you into home cooking and baking? California prunes have an incredibly versatile flavor and ingredient profile. We use them in sweet and in savory meals, like the one I shared below! Need a great substitute for something lower in fat and sugars and calories? California prunes add nutrients and moisture, without comprising flavor.
Roasted Fall Sheet Pan Recipe:
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash
- 4 cups chopped Brussels sprouts
- 1 cup California prunes, roughly chopped
- 1 package prosciutto, roughly chopped
- 1 heaping tbs minced garlic
- 1 – 2 tbs chopped rosemary
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Add butternut squash and Brussels to a medium size bowl. Toss with olive oil, garlic, rosemary and salt.
- Pour squash and Brussels onto sheet pan. Add chopped prunes and prosciutto, and mix. Spread out evenly across pan.
- Cook for 40 minutes on 400, or until desired roast has been achieved.
BAM. How long did that prep take you? Less than 10 minutes. One bowl, one cutting board, and one sheet pan to clean up after. Could it get easier than that?
California Dried Plum Board
I recently had the chance to visit with the California Dried Plum Board in Napa, California. And it was incredible. We listened to several multi-generational dried plum farmers and hear their stories. The passion these people had for what they do was inspiring. No matter what the crop was like in any given year, they never gave up. “It’ll be better next year” is the saying of these ever-optimistic folks.
So what makes a California dried plum different than any other on the market?
Well first, California is the largest prune grower in the world. What we now know as Silicon Valley was once miles and miles and miles of prune farmland. Brought over from France, the Mediterranean climate of California creates the perfect growing environment. An interesting fact – because California gets so little rain, they are actually able to use less interventions and insecticides. This is a huge reason why California prunes are unique.
Additionally, California in particular has extremely high standards of food safety. While this is sometimes difficult for the farmers, because of all the changes they have to make year to year, at the end of the day, they’re just proud to make a really high quality product that they can put on the shelves and share with the rest of the world. One of the ways we see these high standards come into effect is through the drying process.
California’s drying process is incredibly consistent. Other regions, like South America, use the sun and the ground to create their prunes. Leaving them on the ground for 2-3 weeks at a time. What does this mean? This means for 2-3 weeks, the prunes are exposed to weather and animal elements that they are unable to consistently monitor. This also explains why California prunes are the softest and yummiest you can get.
California prunes are environmentally conscious.
One thing I learned that made my crunchy little heart so happy to hear was the efforts of the California dried plum board farmers to be as environmentally friendly as possible. This has led to the creation of incredible technology that assists the farmers in their growing. Things like water conservation! With the use of drones, a drip system, apps that help them monitor the tree and soil remotely, it’s become very technical. Which has led to the need for less water and less insecticides, etc.
The few days I was able to spend with the California Dried Plum Board, the wonderful farmers and their families, and the world renowned chefs at the Culinary Institute of America campuses were incredibly eye opening. “Grandma’s old prunes” are so much more than just that. It’s time to start thinking about prunes as they really are – a delicious superfood, and nature’s candy. (Seriously though – my boys LOVE them and call them “treats”.)
What are your thoughts on prunes? Did you realize they were a superfood?
What are some ways you integrate them into your everyday?