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.
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.
Cauliflower….oh you bland vegetable. I so often discount you. I generally choose more colorful vegetables over you…but you have shown me the err in my ways. By simply roasting you in an oven, you transform into delicious, addictive, and caramelized veggie poppers.
I drizzled a good olive oil over the florets and sprinkled them with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Threw them in a preheated oven that was set at 425 F and roasted them for 35 to 45 minutes. Holy Moses, I PROMISE you will NOT be disappointed. One head should serve 4 as a side, but I have to admit that two of us destroyed an ENTIRE head of cauliflower in one sitting. Next time I will experiment with other seasonings such as smoked paprika, chili powder, or even curry. Mmmm.
So, quite ignoring cauliflower…go out there and give that veggie a new purpose in life! You are welcome.
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Oil or spray a roasting pan with nonstick spray.
- Put cauliflower in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper over the florets. Mix until well coated. Lay the florets in a single layer on the roasting pan. Place in oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time. Pull out of the oven, and try to let them cook before burning your mouth off by eating them directly from the roasting pan (I speak from experience, people).