NYCB's Jenelle Manzi Shares Her Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes
Thanksgiving is almost here and that means that come tomorrow there will be lots and lots of food to eat (cue happy dance!!!). And because there's always room on the Thanksgiving table for more dishes and treats, we asked New York City ballet dancer and food blogger Jenelle Manzi (who is no stranger to creative culinary concoctions) for her favorite fall recipes of the moment. Whip up these tasty treats as apps before the big meal or serve them as additional side dishes—because there are never too many of those. Happy eating!
Pumpkin Power Shake
I created this smoothie as a way to provide my body with a nutrient dense boost to fuel my morning. With it's thick creamy consistency and balance of spices, it tastes like pumpkin pie, which is the ultimate win. Pumpkin and zucchini give a smoothie density and texture, while also providing a healthy dose of vitamin A and C and beta carotene (which all go hand in hand with healthy, glowing skin). I chose to spike this smoothie with a favorite medicinal mushroom of mine: Chaga (but you can easily omit). Chaga is called the "king of medicinal mushrooms" and is a potent immune system booster. It has a mild and earthy flavor that's extremely versatile when mixing it into your favorite smoothie or shake. Enjoy!
½ cup pumpkin (baked and pureed Red Kuri squash lends for the best consistency, but baked sweet potato or canned pumpkin also work)
¼ cup steamed then frozen zucchini slices
1 serving of vanilla plant based protein powder (my favorite is WelleCo's Vanilla)
½ cup of oat milk (or preferred full fat nut milk)
2 tbs cashew butter (coconut or almond butter also work)
¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp Chaga mushroom powder (Sun Potion and Moon Juice are amazing options)
Handful of ice cubes
Directions for the squash:
Simply wash and slice the squash in half, pit the seeds, and bake face down covered with foil at 375℉ for at least 40 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Allow the halves to cool and scoop out the flesh. (I typically keep mine in a tupperware in the refrigerator for easy smoothie prep).
Directions for the smoothie:
Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Pour into a glass and top with your favorite granola (I used homemade cinnamon pecan here)!
Butternut Squash Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
Butternut squash kale salad (courtesy Manzi)
Yes I know, another kale salad! But trust me on this one. Ever since I introduced this salad to my family's Thanksgiving table five years ago, it's been a staple every year. It's packed full of delicious ingredients like toasted walnuts, creamy goat cheese, caramelized butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, and an incredibly addictive lemon tahini dressing. Also, the key to a good kale salad is to massage the kale—this aids in breaking down the toughness of the plant fibers for easier digestion and releases a sweeter flavor in the kale. Let's get to it!
Serves 4-5 side salad portions
Ingredients for the squash:
1 1/2 pound butternut squash, cubed (about 4 cups cubed)
½-1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp coconut sugar
Ingredients for the salad:
1 large bunch of Tuscan or purple kale stemmed and finely chopped (about 6 cups chopped kale)
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
⅓ cup crumbled goat cheese
⅓ cup toasted walnuts (chopped)
Ingredients for the dressing:
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp honey
Pinch of salt
-Preheat oven to 400℉. Place cubed butternut squash in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with pinch of salt and coconut sugar. Toss to evenly coat the squash. Spread the cubes evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes until squash is tender and caramelized.
-De-stem and chop your kale and add it to a large bowl. Next prepare your dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt with a tablespoon of water until smooth. Pour the dressing over the chopped kale and use your (clean) hands to gently massage the dressing into the kale for about 3 minutes until tender.
-Once the butternut squash has cooled, add it to the kale along with the pomegranate seeds in a large bowl and toss to combine. Top with crumbled goat cheese and toasted walnuts and serve.
Note* This salad can be made a day ahead of time. Just top with almonds and goat cheese once ready to serve.
In our "Dear Katie" series, MCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
I'm 14 and have been studying ballet seriously for about three years. Even though I feel ready, my teachers haven't put me on pointe yet. Am I doing something wrong? Should I ask them about it, or is it pointe-less?
Samantha Figgins is currently in her fifth season with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (and was a Dance Spirit cover girl back in 2013!). But what many people don't know is that the gorgeous dancer suffers from single-sided deafness. As a baby, Figgins contracted spinal meningitis, which caused her to lose all hearing in her right ear. She never gave up on her dance dreams, though, and fought her way through uncomfortable situations, never missing an opportunity to learn and grow. Now, after getting her first pair of hearing aids, she opens up about her path to success. —(As told to Courtney Celeste Spears)
Sara Esty's ethereal grace and sophisticated charm have won over ballet and Broadway audiences alike. The bunhead-turned-Broadway-baby began training near her hometown in Gorham, ME, at the Maine State Ballet's School for the Performing Arts (with her equally fabulous twin sister, Leigh-Ann). She enrolled full-time at the Miami City Ballet School in 2004, and joined Miami City Ballet as an apprentice in 2005. In 2006, Esty won the Princess Grace Award, and she was promoted to soloist at MCB in 2011. After leaving MCB in 2014, she made her Broadway debut in An American in Paris as the understudy for Lise, and went on to share the role of Lise with her sister on the show's national tour. Most recently, she was seen in 5th Avenue Theatre's production of Marie, Dancing Still in Seattle, WA. —Courtney Bowers