recipes and tips for better living

Monday, December 21, 2009

Keeping Holiday Sides Healthy: Cranberried Brussel Sprouts

As a kid i would cringe at the thought of a bitter brussel sprout that wasn't slathered in vivid orange colored sweet and salty melted cheese, but as an adult brussel sprouts have made their way to the top of my veggie preference list. Considered a cruciferous vegetable, brussel sprouts are basically a small cabbage. Soaring in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, high in Vitamin A, folate, calcium, and potassium, brussel sprouts have about 3-5 grams of fiber per cup and are packed with phytonutrients that work to combat cancer cells. These precious sprouts are best eaten from autumn to early spring, so get your fill of antioxidant rich sprouts while their flavor is at its peak! My favorite (and easy) way to eat them is to steam them and finish with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic, and sea salt, however here's a beautiful healthy holiday alternative adding the brightness of dried cranberries.

Cranberried Brussel Sprouts:

This recipe makes about two servings...double or triple the recipe if you have more guests.

1 lb brussel sprouts, rinsed, bottoms trimmed, and sliced in half top to bottom (if they are extra large you may want to cut into 1/3rds or quarter them)
1 small shallot finely chopped (1 tbsp)
1 small clove garlic chopped (1/2 tsp)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup plus about 3 tbsp veggie stock (low sodium)
1/4 cup crushed walnut pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional, will darken the end result but makes a nice flavor)
coarse sea salt and pepper

Start by rinsing the brussel sprouts, trimming the bottom nub, then slicing them from top to bottom. Set aside. Chop your shallot and garlic. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over low to medium heat. Place the shallot and garlic in the olive oil and add 1 tbsp veggie stock. Cook for a couple minutes making sure the garlic does not burn (it will become bitter if it does). Add to this the brussel sprouts and the crushed walnuts, stirring well. Toast these for a couple minutes stirring often (the brussel sprouts will become a vibrant green). Add to this 1 cup of veggie stock and 1/2 cup of dried cranberries. Cover and cook over medium to high heat. Check after a couple of minutes (3-5min), most of the stock should be evaporated. Check for doneness. If not done and liquid has evaporated, add a tbsp more of veggie stock, stir and cover. Check again in another minute, if still not done, again add a little veggie stock cover and cook. Finish with a drizzle of balsamic (or omit if you'd like to keep the color vibrant), and a few good cranks of a coarse sea salt and black pepper. Plate and serve.

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