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brussel sprouts

Holiday Brussel Sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries

brusselsprouts_holiday (1 of 2)

When it comes to a traditional holiday feast, the one food group shunned to the bottom is always the vegetable group. Green bean casserole just doesn’t count, and marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes only barely slide their way in there.

If it were up to me, I’d stray from the conventional and add a whole lot more whole veggies back onto the table. Lightly dressed, garlicky green beans or simple, oven-baked root vegetables sound like the kind of dishes that I want to be celebrating with. Though, half my family would disagree—casseroles all the way, or the holidays just aren’t the same.

Whatever—I can agree that traditions do have their place, and I certainly enjoy the herby stuffing each time these family feasts come around. Between my mom and I, however, we  generally always make sure there’s also a green on the table to compliment that stuffing. And sweet potato casserole. And pie destined for my stomach.

This year, it’s Brussel Sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries, a beautiful dish whose colors just scream of holiday spirit. This is a simple dish that’s easy enough to add to the menu even if you’re already juggling another recipe or two. The sweetened cranberries pair perfectly with the earthiness of the sprouts, and the toasty pecans seal the whole dish. Perhaps after you introduce this to your family, this will end up becoming a tradition, too.

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Quinoa with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Raisins

I say the words brussels sprouts and my roommates still give me the compulsory gag noise. The miniature-like cabbages tend to have this stigma rooted from childhood that carries over for many people even as their tastes mature into adulthood. However, I find the minute I roast brussels sprouts up in the oven, I can generally reverse people’s preconceived notions.

I’ve never been repulsed by brussels sprouts. I ate a lot more objectionable veggies growing up, like overly bitter dandelion greens and slimy, stewed okra. My mom taught me to expand my palate for all veggies very early on.

I can’t say brussels sprouts were ever a favorite though until I learned to ditch the classic steam in favor of the oven. With a little salt and olive oil, a good crisp on a baking sheet can turn brussels sprouts into an almost sinful, french-fry like delight. Okay, maybe their not quite the greasy indulgence I’m painting, but they’re addicting nonetheless.

Here, I threw them in with some quinoa sweetened with curry and raisins. The amplified cabbagey flavor goes perfectly with this sweetness. If you’re like me, you’ll want to finish it all off with a few drops of hot sauce for the perfect sweet, salty and spicy combo

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