Welcome the season of “How Many Parties, Booze, Snacks, Sweets, Treats, and Good Times Can I Shove Into My Face and Schedule”.
But there is one big problem with this season.
My stomach. She’s such a fun killer.
Given my cranky belly and gluten intolerance, I often go to holiday parties and find that there is hardly anything that I can eat without severe consequences. Lately, my trick for getting through party after party is to bring a delicious, healthy, and festive dish that I can eat and enjoy. By doing this I hopefully won’t be the one over in the corner munching on a pound of carrots and staring like a voracious dog at others eating seven layer bars, molasses cookies, sausage balls, and chocolate covered pretzels…. “No no no, I’m good. I LOOOOVE carrots. I hate other delicious things. No go on. Please keep eating. Please, I’m fine. I’m FIIIINE.”
This Broccoli, Apple, and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing has been my go to Christmas salad this season. It’s incredibly delicious with great crunch from the broccoli and brussels sprouts and crisp apple. Plus the savory tahini-maple dressing will have you wanting to lick the spoon! I have taken this salad to four different parties and have had great responses. It also holds up very well as leftovers for lunch the next day.
Oh and look how festive this salad looks! Greed, Red, and White! Sometimes I even add dried cranberries for more red pop!
So Happy Holidays to you and yours! Make a plan during this holiday season and don’t get overwhelmed! You can do it!
Broccoli, Apple, and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing
- 2 broccoli crowns, florets only, chopped
- 1/2 lb brussels sprouts (about 2 big handfuls), stems removed and discolored leaves discarded
- 1 large honey crisp apple, cored and chopped
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta (do not include for dairy free option)
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- Chop the broccoli into small bite size pieces and place in a large bowl. Use a sharp chef’s knife or mandolin slicer to slice the brussels sprouts as thin as possible. Alternately, a food processor’s slicing disk could be used. Add the brussels sprouts to the large bowl with the broccoli.
- In a separate small jar or bowl, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, and maple syrup together to form a paste. Add water one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is creamy and pourable like vinaigrette (not too watery). Pour the dressing over the broccoli and brussels sprouts and toss to combine. (The salad can be made a few hour ahead of time to this point and refrigerated).
- Add the chopped apple, feta, and sliced almonds to the salad and toss lightly. Serve immediately.
- For paleo friendly, vegan friendly, and dairy free, do not include the feta cheese.
- If you don’t have tahini, almond butter could be used.
- For added protein and a complete meal, add some cooked quinoa or shredded chicken.
We are all getting antsy around here. Am I right? I hate getting taunted with a few days of warm weather, then blasted with too many days of cold. It’s a terrible tease. Tulips are peaking out of the ground. Trees are beginning to bud. Patio weather one day and then fire-place/wool socks/snuggy weather the next. Ugh.
Does anyone else feel a little bipolar weather insanity coming on? My body and cravings are in a constant state of flux… Sun!!!!! Give me fresh veggies! Give me fresh fruit! More spring greens!!!!
OOOOoooooh wait…clouds? Snow? Blaaaah. Carb me up it’s cold! Where’s the chili? Where’s the chowder? Salad, really???? Why is it not covered in cheese? Helloooo! I like my cupcake handles, thank you very much! Gotta keep some padding on this bod against the polar vortex!
Wait. But NO! Let’s think positive. Let’s all send out SPRING THOUGHTS. (Don’t roll your eyes! I’m trying to quit being so crabby….I said trying, people).
Wish for camping. Wish for tulips. Wish for gardening. Wish for the smell of grills. Wish for the sound of neighbors chatting with each other. Wish that your lawn will mow itself (get a goat). Wish that those cupcake handles will magically disappear once bathing suite season rears its ugly head (or maybe swimming t-shirts will come back in style).
As you send out your good vibes into the world, here is my positive food vibe. I used one of my fave winter veggies, brussels sprouts, to make a springy slaw! Lime and cilantro pump this puppy up another notch. Red cabbage makes this a total beauty to serve. Oh ya, give me a badge! Healthy and Hawt!
Personally, I love this slaw on my fish tacos. Mmmmmm….recipe to come later. So put down the carbs and chili for just a few minutes and try to get a positive spring mind.
Maybe if we all think positive, spring will finally move in for good. But summer will stay asleep for a loooong time.
Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw
- 1/2 lb medium-sized brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
- 1/2 head small red cabbage
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 green onion, white and green parts sliced
- juice of 1 large lime (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Remove any brown or spotted out leaves of the sprouts. The sprouts can be shredded several different methods: shredded in a food processor (using the slicing blade), sliced as thin as possible using a good knife, or using a mandolin slicer. Place in a large bowl.
- Shred half of a head of small red cabbage or slice as thin as possible. Add the shredded cabbage, cilantro, and green onions to the large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, salt, and olive oil together. Pour dressing over shredded veggies. Toss and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to distribute the dressing. Eat up!
So let me tell you a story about a notorious vegetable called Mr Brussel.
Mr Brussel was bulky and brawny. A bad boy in the vegetable kingdom. Not many people liked him. He kind of had multiple personalities or at least was pretty moody. Some days he was bitter. Other days he was bland. But generally, most of the time he was smothered and tired and wilted and just overcooked. Bleh.
Then one day Mr Brussel went to the Roasting Pan, a new pub. He had heard stories of this place changing other veggies, but he thought that it was a myth. Rumors stirred about Madame Cauli Flower and her infamous roasted makeover.
So Mr Brussel decided to give it a shot.
He went in. He stayed awhile. He lingered. He rested. He was massaged in some olive oil. He got braised and roasted.
Then when he got out of the Roasting Pan, something amazing happened. He was sweet and delicious and caramelized. He was a changed veggie. He was the Ryan Gosling of vegetables…well, maybe not THAT far…but close.
The moral of the story, people? Turn Mr Brussels from bleh to BAM by:
- cutting those tiny cabbage-like veggies into quarter segments,
- drizzling with olive oil,
- sprinkling with salt and pepper, and
- roasting in an oven!
That’s it. Oh the magic of the great Roasting Pan.
For this recipe, I tossed my roasted brussels sprouts with cranberries, pecans, and a balsamic drizzle. But don’t stop there. There are plenty of other ways to prepare these….maybe bacon? roasted garlic? parmesan? Harissa? Yes! Branch out. Give Mr Brussels another try. He won’t disappoint you.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans (adapted from Whole Foods Market recipes)
Serves 6 as a side
- 1 lb of fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper each
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil.
- In a medium bowl, toss the brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spoon the brussels sprouts in a single layer onto the roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes. Stir the brussels sprouts. Add the pecans and cranberries onto the roasting pan. Add the pan back into the oven and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Stir well until brussels sprouts are well cooked.
- Remove from oven and toss with balsamic vinegar.