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Balance

Here's How To Whip Up Banana Walnut Cheesecake Minus The Guilt, Plus A Healthy Entree

Whether you’re planning an elaborate party or intimate family gathering this holiday season, chef Julien Gremaud of Avocado Grill offers recipes for delicious dishes that are healthy enough to indulge in without guilt.

Grilled Scallops on Quinoa Cakes

Ingredients

Scallops

4 large U-10 dry sea scallops 

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons canola oil

Caesar Salad Dressing

6 anchovy fillets

1 small garlic clove

Kosher salt

2 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan

Freshly ground black pepper

Quinoa Cakes

1/4 cup quinoa

2 egg yolks

Parmesan cheese

Prepared Caesar dressing

Basil Pesto

1 cup pine nuts

Coarse salt and ground black pepper

8 cups fresh basil leaves

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions 

Season sea scallops on both sides with salt and pepper and pan sear for approximately 3 minutes on each side in 2 tablespoons of canola oil.

Caesar Dressing 

Chop together anchovy fillets, garlic and a pinch of salt. Use the side of a knife blade to mash into a paste, then scrape into a medium bowl. Whisk in egg yolks, lemon juice and mustard. Adding drop by drop to start, gradually whisk in olive oil, then vegetable oil; whisk until dressing is thick and glossy. Whisk in Parmesan. Season with salt, pepper and more lemon juice if desired.

Quinoa

Cook quinoa according to package. Once cooled, mix quinoa with Caesar dressing until moist. Add egg yolks and Parmesan cheese. Form into mini cakes and pan sear until golden brown.

Pesto

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread nuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until golden brown and fragrant, tossing once, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil; add basil and submerge with a spoon. Immediately drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water until cool, then pat basil dry in paper towels. In a food processor, combine nuts, basil and garlic; season generously with salt and pepper. Process until nuts are finely chopped. With machine running, pour oil in a steady stream through the top; process until smooth. 

Layer basil pesto on plate and top with quinoa cake, then scallops. Drizzle Caesar dressing and garnish.


Banana Walnut Cheesecake 

Ingredients 

Crust

1 1/4 cup of graham crackers 

2 tablespoons sugar (or stevia)

2 tablespoons butter, melted 

4 teaspoons water

Cooking spray

 Cheesecake

32 ounces of Philadelphia cream cheese (can use reduced fat)

1 cup of sugar (or stevia)

2 egg whites

1 egg

4 ripe bananas, mashed

2 tablespoons of butter, softened

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup of walnuts

Cinnamon and nutmeg

Directions 

To prepare crust, place crackers in a food processor until crumbly. Add sugar, butter and water; pulse until moist. Place mixture in a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes or until browned. Cool completely. 

Set the oven to 325 F. Combine cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl and mix until blended. Add in the sour cream, egg and egg whites, and mix together. Add mashed bananas, 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Mix well, careful not to over-mix. Mixture should be creamy, not bubbly. Fold in walnuts. Pour batter carefully into the crust. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and nutmeg, and bake for one hour or until cake is firm to the touch. Let cool completely and then refrigerate for one hour.