Your Holiday Table Is Missing Brussels Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts

“Brussels sprouts?!” I hear you ask. Yes, I can sense your surprise through my computer screen, and I completely understand your distrust of Brussels sprouts. You’ve been burned before – I get that. You have a bad history with these mini-cabbages because someone in your life cooked them the worst way possible: steamed. Yes, steaming your vegetables is healthy (much better than boiling), but this method of cooking does no favors for the cabbage family – at least taste-wise. Prepare to be amazed, because I will show you TWO ways to love Brussels sprouts so much, you won’t want to have Thanksgiving without them.

1. Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios, Cranberries & Parmesan

  1. Chop a brown onion finely and saute with olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize.*
  2. While the onions are browning, chop 10 Brussels sprouts in half, through the root, then slice into thin shreds.
  3. Add the sprout shreds to the pan with the caramelized onions and stir, cooking until they’re tender but still bright green.
  4. Add shelled pistachios, dried cranberries and Parmesan cheese – and serve hot!

*Carnivores might like to add one slice of bacon to flavor the onions, and to crumble over the top of the finished dish.

Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

2. Brussels Sprouts Hot Harvest Salad*

  1. Dice 1 apple, 1 butternut squash, 1/2 brown onion, and 5 Brussels sprouts.
  2. Toss the apple, squash, onion and sprouts with 1 Tb olive oil, and add torn sage leaves, a sprinkling of salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, stir, then roast for another 20-30 minutes until the sprouts, onions and squash are nicely browned.

*Add croutons or wild rice and thyme and this recipe makes a delicious turkey dressing!

Roasted vegetable salad recipe

An Intelligent Gourmet Thanksgiving: Smart Sides Part 1

Green Beans
A golden-brown turkey is a sight to see, but I confess – my favorite part of Thanksgiving is the side dishes: casseroles and stuffing, sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes with gravy. This week, I’ll take two of my favorite unhealthy sides and teach you how to turn them into feel-good food.

Rich, creamy, and delicious, green bean casserole topped with fried onions is one of my guilty pleasures. Here’s our healthier version from the Intelligent Gourmet kitchen.

Feel-Good Green Bean Casserole
Makes 6-8 servings

1 ¼ lbs green beans
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 Tbs unsalted butter
10 oz Portobello mushrooms, sliced
3 large shallots, plus 3 Tb minced
1/3 cup plus 3 Tbs all-purpose flour (or favorite gluten-free flour)
1 cup fat free half-and-half
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp soy sauce, preferably mushroom soy sauce
Canola oil for deep-frying
1 Tb garlic
5 sprigs fresh thyme

green bean casserole

Prep:

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly butter a deep 2 ½ quart baking dish. Trim the green beans and halve crosswise. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until tender, but crisp, about 4 minutes.

Drain and rinse under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they give off their juices and are browned, 6-7 minutes. Stir in the 3 Tbs minced shallots and garlic, and cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the fresh thyme. Sprinkle with the 3 Tbs flour and stir well. Slowly stir in the half-and-half, stock and soy sauce, and then bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring, until thickened (4-5 minutes). Pull out the sprigs of thyme, and stir in the green beans. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.*

*The casserole can be prepared to this point up to 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated.)

Bake until the liquid is bubbling, about 20 minutes (or 30 minutes if it has been refrigerated).

Cut the remaining 3 shallots crosswise into slices 1/8th of an inch thick, and separate into rings. Place the remaining 1/3 cup flour in a small bowl. Toss the shallot rings in the flour to coat evenly, shaking off the excess. Roast in the oven until golden brown. Remove the casserole from the oven, scatter the roasted shallots on top, and serve.

Why it’s crazy-good for you:
Green beans are some of the healthiest veggies you can eat, packed with Vitamin K (helps with healing and calcium absorption), Vitamin C (boosts immune system), Manganese (relieves symptoms of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and PMS), and Vitamin A (guards against wrinkles and age spots).