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holiday

Holiday Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Pecans

Holiday Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Pecans

I’m bringing you one of my favorite holiday recipes today, and also one of my most beloved brussels sprouts recipes as a whole.

The colors, textures and earthy-meets-sweet flavor balance going on here has made this dish now an annual tradition in my household each season.

I mean…just look how pretty and festive it is all thanks to its entirely natural and nourishing ingredients. Win.

Holiday Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Pecans

I like to shred brussels sprouts because it gives them an almost buttery-like feel upon sauteing. It also turns them into a conversation piece, perhaps even making them a novelty on the holiday table.

Paired with a crunch from the pomegranate seeds bursting with complimentary color and from the apples, you get a satisfying bite here with each forkful of sprouts.

The pecans add another layer of crunch, and butteriness, too, rounding out this healthful side with just a splash of richness.

Holiday Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Pecans

Whether it’s for a holiday feast or even just a post-feasting-week meal, it’s always good to have something green on the table this time of year. And also a veggie dish that won’t get outshined by all of the other good treats that surround it.

Always receiving rave reviews from my various family members, I can assure you this fulfills that promise.

Happy holidays, from my kitchen to yours!

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Winter Lentil Loaf

Winter Lentil Loaf

Hello winter.

I wasn’t quite ready for you. Even after you dragged your feet. And let 60-degree days creep into my December. I am still not prepared for your arrival.

I’m sorry. I wish I liked you. I really do. But for now, I cope with comforting foods. And warm blankets and faces and seven layers of sweaters.

Winter Lentil Loaf

As a vegetarian, sometimes you just need something comforting, and it’s not always as easy to identify those quintessential items as it is in the meat kingdom.

Sure, there is soup. Which I adore.

But sometimes I want mashed potatoes, and gravy, and something hearty. And wholesome, too, of course.

This meal satisfies all of the above.

Winter Lentil Loaf

You could consider lentil loaf akin to meatloaf…that is, if you don’t think meatloaf is yucky.

It looks a little dull, but if prepared right, it’s oozing with herbs and umami flavor and warmth that radiates up from your plate.

It also happens to be packed with some rather superb ingredients, like lentils and walnuts, and in this case, tomatoes and collards, too. Those latter two actually bring some color to this particular lentil loaf recipe.

Winter Lentil Loaf

I like to serve lentil loaf alongside some of my other favorite wintry dishes of comfort. However, the sides for this dish are endless.

It must also be mentioned, my absolute favorite is to sandwich the leftovers between two slices of whole grain bread with a healthy handful of sprouts and good smear of ketchup and/or mustard on top. No reheating needed.

Ketchup isn’t a bad condiment for it when hot, either. I’m always torn between that and a veggie gravy. Try them both out, and decide what appeals most to you.

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Harvest Stuffed Squash with Cilantro Tahini Sauce

Swiss Chard

I’m about to give a bit of a confession here – I have yet to buy one single Christmas gift.

That holiday, which I celebrate, is just a handful of days away. Yikes.

In my defense, I have constructively made five cutting boards in the past month. (Hello new, awesome, expensive-but-oh-so-worth-it hobby.) While I may shed a tear as I part with each of them, I’m fairly certain they’ll make for good gifts. For the whole family.

I mean, my five-year-old niece will love a nice, smooth piece of wood, right? Yeah, maybe not.

Harvest Stuffed Squash

While I’ve been neglecting a Christmas shopping trip, I have not been neglecting the season’s signature colors. Rather, I’ve been embracing those reds and greens quite frequently in my kitchen lately, this dish included.

If you squint, or dim the lights, swiss chard will shed a nice holiday crimson onto your counters. Keep that in mind if you were about to call me out. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Hey, swiss chard is pink. You should probably go get your eyes checked.”

Kabocha Squash

Bringing green to your plate is one of the best gifts you could give to yourself this winter. Add some nutty winter squash and creamy tahini, and your tastebuds will be more than pleased, too.

With food-filled gatherings, often left and right, now more than ever do I appreciate a meal like this. It’s hearty so it’ll leave you satisfied, but not feeling weighed down like a typical heavy holiday dish.

Swiss Chard

If you do want to richen it up a bit, double the tahini sauce. You can really rarely go wrong with an extra spoonful of tahini on top of cooked winter squash.

Also, feel free to ditch the whole “stuffed” idea, and simply serve this as a pilaf. You can use any squash variety that you like for this dish. So, if you’re using something like butternut, likely it’s not going to have a round enough bowl to really stuff, and that’s okay. Mash the extra and serve it underneath.

I will say though, there is something that feels magical about turning a squash into a bowl. I used a kabocha, which I’d highly recommend if it’s available to you.

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Holiday Recipe Recommendations

Roasted Squash and Onion

I’ve been eating a lot of other people’s recipes lately. And it’s been great for inspiration.

If you ever feel stuck in your own cooking rut, go explore! Now more than ever, there is a vast world of cookbooks, food blogs, and restaurants out there for you.

Roasted Squash and Onion

One of my longstanding favorites is this one from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem. And by longstanding, I mean, as of last year when I was first introduced to this creamy Roasted Butternut, Red Onion and Tahini dish. It’s so simple to make, yet when it comes out of the oven and gets dressed with that 3-ingredient tahini sauce, it’s mind-blowing. I’ve been making it quite frequently since that first time last year.

Toasted Sesame Seeds

The original recipe calls for pine nuts, which are nearing the price of gold these days. You needn’t need them to make this recipe still taste like pure gold. A variety of toasted, nutty crunches would do. I went with sesame seeds to play off the tahini vibes of the dish.

Roasted Butternut and Onion with Tahini

If I were you, I’d put it on your next holiday meal’s to-make list. It’s easy, and memorable. Surprising, yet crowd-pleasing. And even healthy, too. Oven-roasted gold.

If you’re looking for something a little more sinful, or brunch-worthy, perhaps consider checking out this Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

If you do, I’d consider adding some walnuts (black walnuts, if you’ve got ’em) into the mix. Also, I like my cream cheese icing a little tangy, so I reduced the sugar, upped the cream cheese, and threw in a squeeze of lemon, too.

Aside from these lovely blogger and cookbook authors’ recipes, I’ve been relishing in the recipes of my two new fav. restaurants in Philly: High Street on Market, and also Good King Tavern. Both are adorably cute, and offer a solid menu from start to finish. The bread at High Street is some of the best I’ve ever had, and only helps enhance their well-crafted sandwiches. They make some rather memorable salads, too, if you’re looking for a light meal in between all of the holiday madness. Good King Tavern often has socca on the menu, which of course holds a sweet spot in my heart. Their Eggplant 3-Ways is also excellent, as is there bread pudding, when on the menu.

If you’re all over the place this holiday season like I’ve been, take a breather with someone else’s recipe. I can vouch that these won’t disappoint, and if you’re in Philly, would recommend a night out at one of the two spots mentioned above. Cheers!

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Ain’t no party like a sweet potato party. Or a crostini party. Or a tahini party. Or a Friendsgiving party. Or a Thanksgiving soiree with all your family members you see but once or twice per year and still don’t really know what to talk about besides sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and stuffing.

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

I can’t say I’m a fan of the word ain’t. (In fact, I had to look up its spelling just for this blog post.) But, I’m a huge fan of parties, even those semi-strange family ones, and I’m  equally a fan of all the ingredients listed above.

Tahini. Sweet potatoes. Honey. Toasted walnuts and baguette. Now that’s a party in a single, not-entirely-too-awkward bite to eat.

I.e., you’re going to want to put this guy on your Thanksgiving party plate list.

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Aside from crostini packages that offer a ton of flavor in one fork-and-spoon-free bite, I’m a huge fan of healthy appetizers. Let’s face it, parties aren’t always the most health-friendly activities, Thanksgiving included. In fact, recent research for my day job informed me that the average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, or the equivalent of the calories you’d use to jog 10 hours straight. Yowza. That’s a party in which I’m not too interested.

Luckily, this recipe packs in the nutrition, sneaking in a little protein while it’s at it. That bean-powered protein and creamy sweet potato fiber will keep you satisfied till the main meal arrives, and keep you feeling good, too.

If that sounds great to you, I invite you to kick off your next party FFFreshAir style, and let this crostini start your taste bud tango. I promise, it’s got way better dance moves than I do.

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