By Karen Ulvestad

Cooking is Chef Barb Crispin’s passion, and she has been cooking her entire life.

salad Ask A Denver Chef: Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

(credit: Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Her favorite food to prepare is salads, because it gives her a chance to work with color, texture, and the flavor of each element. Her goal is to have the ingredients maintain their unique characteristics, yet compliment and harmonize with the other ingredients. Her philosophy about food is to cut through the ever-changing information about healthy / unhealthy foods, and give her clients healthy meals that fit their lifestyles.

Barb Crispin
A Gift of Thyme
Denver, CO 80206
303) 842-9991

Chef Barb Crispin has cooked her entire life. She became a personal Chef 13 years ago, completed her advanced certification 11 years ago, and continues to take specific courses to expand her knowledge. She opened her business A Gift of Thyme 13 and a half years ago, and enjoys the challenge of adapting recipes to meet each client’s needs. Her favorite part of the business is creating the menus for her clients, and showing them that food restrictions don’t mean limitations. She strives to create long term relationships with her clients, with her longest client being with her for 12 years. One highlight in her career happened in 2010 when she was part of the winning Chefs Knockout team at the US personal Chef Association convention. In addition to preparing and cooking meals for her clients, she conducts interactive dinner parties and cooking demonstrations.

Elegant Citrus Salad


  • 2 medium pommelo (or pink grapefruit)
  • 2 medium navel oranges
  • 1 Honeycrisp, Fuji, or Rosy Ann apple
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey (or agave nectar), or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt


For Fruit Preparation:

  1. Cut pommelo, or grapefruit, in half horizontally.
  2. Cut out segments, separating the flesh from the membrane with a grapefruit knife.
  3. Squeeze juice from the now empty shells into a bowl; discard seeds and the shells.
  4. Repeat with the oranges.
  5. Chop the oranges and pommelo segments and place in a separate bowl.
  6. Cut the apples into fourths; discard the cores, seeds, and stems.
  7. Cut each apple section crosswise into slices 1/4” thick.
  8. Add the apple to the orange and pommelo pieces. Toss and set aside.

For dressing:

  1. Combine the raspberry vinegar, avocado oil, honey, 2 tablespoons of the pommelo/orange juice mixture, and salt in a small bowl.
  2. Whisk to blend. Set aside.
  3. Pour the remaining pommelo/orange juice mixture over the fruit; toss gently.

To Assemble Salad:

  1. Place salad greens in large salad bowl; add the fruit mixture and toss to mix.
  2. Peel and slice the avocado, chop into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle over salad.
  3. Toss gently.
  4. Garnish with toasted almonds and serve with the vinaigrette.

Related: Best Places To Buy A Thanksgiving Turkey In Denver

Carrots With Shallots, Sage, And Thyme

“This recipe turns a taken-for-granted vegetable into something quite splendid – a very appropriate addition to the Thanksgiving feast. It can be made in advance and reheated in a skillet over low heat.”


  • 3 pounds rainbow carrots, peeled
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 pound shallot, thinly sliced vertically
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Julienne carrots into 3-by-1/2” strips.
  2. Bring chicken stock to a boil with salt and pepper in a 12-inch skillet.
  3. Add carrots and simmer, covered, until crisp tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, and boil until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer carrots to a bowl and wipe out skillet.
  6. Melt butter in the skillet over medium heat.
  7. Add the shallots, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, about 6 minutes.
  8. Add sage, thyme, and nutmeg and cook, stirring until very fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  9. Remove skillet from the heat; return carrots to the skillet, tossing to coat.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.

Raw Apple Cranberry Tarts

“This recipe looks complicated, but can be made in stages and in advance. Pumpkin pie is the traditional “must-have” dessert at Thanksgiving. These tarts are a perfect accompanying two-bite treat that goes well with pumpkin, is exceptionally festive and delicious!”


For tart shells:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature, not melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

For cashew cream:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

For fruit topping:

  • 1 medium sweet apple (Gala or Honeycrisp) cored, diced
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


IMPORTANT: cover the raw cashews (used in making the cashew cream) with water and soak at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours before continuing with the recipe

For the shells: 

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, process the oats, almonds, cocoa powder, and salt until finely ground, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the dates, coconut oil, and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Process to combine. The dough should hold together when pinched between your fingers. Gradually add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if mixture is too dry.
  4. On a work surface, press the dough into a cohesive mass.
  5. Divide it into quarters.
  6. Divide each portion into 3 pieces – you will have 12 pieces all together.
  7. Press each piece of dough with your hands into disks about 2 1/2 to 3-inches in diameter.
  8. Working with 1 disk at a time, carefully pull up the edges of each to make a rim, forming a small tart shell. Repeat with the remaining disks.
  9. Place tart shells on a prepared baking sheet and freeze for 15-20 minutes.  Shells can be made and frozen up to 1 week in advance. Store in an airtight container.

For the cashew cream:

  1. Drain the cashews.
  2. Using a food processor, process drained cashews, 2 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon water, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon until creamy and smooth, adding more water,1 tablespoon at a time if needed to form a thick cream, the consistence of softened butter. Cashew cream can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

For fruit topping: 

  1. Core and dice the apple (it is not necessary to peel the apple) and place in a medium bowl.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, cranberries, and lemon juice.
  3. Toss to combine.

To assemble:

  1. Spoon about 1 tablespoon cashew cream into each tart shell.
  2. Divide the fruit mixture evenly among the tarts.
  3. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Tarts can be assembled and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.

Related: Top Spots For Take-Out Thanksgiving Dinner In Denver


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