The Great Tyler Florence Challenge

Not Tyler's Butternut Squash Slaw

Warning, this post is a bit edgier than usual :-)
Do you think if I give this post a famous name perhaps somebody will read my blog?? I sure hope so. You see my claim to fame is that I attended culinary school with one of the Food Networks' original beloved boys, Tyler Florence. Yes, in fact I was pretty close to Tyler. Despite our huge age difference, we would even hang out together, go fishing, etc. It was on one of these fishing excursions that Tyler finally asked my age. I knew he was curious as were many of the other youngsters I had as classmates, but it took a while for him to muster up the courage to inquire point blank. When I answered his question, Tyler seemed a bit gob-smacked (a real make my day moment for me!) and replied "boy, you sure are well preserved"! Well Tyler, maybe I can help you with a little self preservation at this point in your life. From my calculations, I figure Tyler to be in his late 30s now. I'm sure you can find out online but I'm going by the age he was when we were in school together and how many years have gone by since then. Tyler does not look the same, he has grown up and umm, out. Still handsome and as excited about food as he was in his youth, Tyler has been long feasting on fantastic fat-laden foods such as the Butternut Squash Coleslaw my brother Ken recently turned me onto. Ken and I often compare kitchen notes around a holiday feast to sniff out great recipes and he mentioned this dish to me. This still happens even though I prepare low-fat plant based meals and my brother, bless his  heart, still hangs on to recipes such as Tyler's. Well I thought the idea of using Butternut Squash raw as a salad was a fantastic idea for our July 4th cookout but Ken did also mention that I would not be able to have this particular salad as it includes cheese in the dressing. We were having 14 or so guests for a (mostly) vegan cookout. Four of our nieces and their friends visiting who were Maine from all over the Eastern Seaboard and looking forward to a country-fied day in Appleton as a must to complete their holiday weekend visit. I had to serve this salad so I challenged Tyler's original recipe by preparing my version without the goat cheese or honey thereby making it much lower in fat and completely vegan! The party goers loved my version, and voted it best without knowing which was which! This is not the first time a low-fat, vegan dish has challenged the original at Leafy Cafe and won and I suspect it will not be the last!

I must be fare and give credit where credit is due, my amazing sister was in the kitchen to assist and I could not have done this (or many other things in life) without her. Donna is an RN and has a Master's in Exercise Physiology. She runs the local ZING! clinic for kids who are on a weight loss journey. She is accomplishing great things with these children! Donna made the non-vegan version of Tyler's Slaw but she did not like it either. She has been a proponent of low-fat since I was in Culinary School cooking all things butter and cream. Thanks D you were way ahead of me! Oh and the nieces and friends all helped too and a good time was had by all, especially when Isabel was "iced" :-)

Here is the recipe for Low-Fat Plant Based RAW Butternut Squash Slaw! Tyler, maybe a Low-fat, Plant-based cookbook should be next in line??


·         1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar
·         3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
·         1 lemon, juiced
·         2 T low-fat nayonaisse*
·         Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
·         4 cups butternut squash (one medium)
·         1/2 cup dried cranberries
·         1/4 cup toasted walnuts or almonds to garnish
·         2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
·         Special equipment: Saladmaster Salad Machine


In a large mixing bowl, combine nayonaisse, agave, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir well with a whisk until fully combined and creamy.
Remove the top narrow portion of the butternut squash and peel. Discard or use the bulb portion for something else. Using a Saladmaster or sharp knife, cut the peeled cylinder into fine long matchsticks (julienne). This should yield about 4 cups. Fold into the dressing along with dried cranberries, and chopped fresh parsley, garnish with nuts.

* I made home-made mayo from low-fat silken tofu, lemon juice, mustard, vinegar and a bit of sugar blended together in the blender until smooth. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


Popular Posts