Warm Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Honey-Lemon Dressing and Walnuts

Until this year, I had never heard of such a thing as shaved brussels sprouts.  As far as I knew, they were good for roasting in the oven.  Period.  Now, suddenly, it seems like every foodie restaurant I walk into has a variation of the dish on the menu.  I don’t know if this is a new trend or if I’m just becoming more observant.  Either way, you won’t hear any complaints from me!  Served this way, they add a more delicate flair to your dinner and they just require a quick visit to the frying pan.

I tried shaving them in a few different ways.  A mandoline give you a bit more control over the angle and width of slicing, resulting in a more uniform product.  But I’m never using a mandoline again because it usually ends in tragedy (this time, I lost a substantial chunk of my thumb…is this just me?  Aren’t those things supposed to be safer???).  The slicing disk of my food processor went quite a bit faster and kept my fingers safely away from sharp objects.  The downside was that the result was slightly less visually appealing.  Personally, I’m fine with that.  Or you could always use a good old fashioned knife.  But no matter how you cut it, this is a wonderful addition to a winter (yes, still very much winter here) meal.

Warm Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Honey-Lemon Dressing and Walnuts
serves 2

– 1 cup brussels sprouts (about 8), washed and stems trimmed
– 1 Tbs olive oil
– juice from half a lemon
– 2 tsp honey
– a handful of walnuts, toasted and chopped

1. Using a food processor fitted with a slicing disk, mandoline, or sharp knife, thinly slice brussels sprouts.  Separate leaves with fingers.

2.  Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add lemon and honey, stirring to combine.

3.  Quickly add brussels sprouts and cook just until the start to soften and sizzle, about 5 minutes.  Place in serving bowls and garnish with walnuts.

* I added this post to this week’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Traditional Tuesday.

Beet, Squash, and White Bean Salad

It’s been one of those weeks.  You know, the kind where you look at the stack of work you have to do and the amount of time you have to do it.  You panic.  You can’t relax.  All the sudden, little setbacks feel like the end of the world.  You become moody and overly-sensitive.  One of those weeks.

So, I decided to start the weekend a little early.  Instead of studying before class this morning, I decided to give myself some kitchen therapy time.  By 9am, I had a pot of white beans with shallots and bay leaves simmering on the stove, a pan of beets and a butternut squash roasting in the oven, and squash seeds getting nice and toasty in a frying pan.  A few hours later, I sat down to lunch.

The template for this salad could be used to create dozens satisfying variations.  Start with greens and vinaigrette, add some kind of legume for protein, and top with still-warm roasted vegetables and toasted nuts or seeds.  Enjoy!

Beet, Squash, and White Bean Salad
serves 1

– 2-3 cups mixed salad greens
– 1/2 cup white beans, canned is fine
– 1/2 cup chopped roasted beets
– 1/2 cup butternut squash, cubed
– 1 Tbs raw or toasted pumpkin seeds
– 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
– 1/2 Tbs olive oil
– 1/2 Tbs honey
– salt and pepper, to taste

1.  Mix vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper until well combined.  Drizzle over plated salad greens.

2.  Top with remaining ingredients.


Unrelated to salad, I feel compelled to share an amazing and hilarious post over at Hyperbole and a Half.  If you are feeling out of sorts, it might do wonders for you.

Aloo Gobi (One-Pot Dinner)

I’m a big fan of one-pot meals.  When my dinner starts having too many separate components, I usually fail miserably at getting the timing of one (or all) of them right.  It feels so much easier to throw everything in a pot and call it dinner.  I was originally planning on making a batch of aloo gobi and some quinoa or rice to serve it with but once I had my aloo gobi ingredients simmering away, I couldn’t stop myself from throwing in the quinoa along with everything else.  The end result was a big pot of veggies, grains, and chickpeas that will definitely be just as satisfying as leftovers as it was for lunch today.

The quinoa is definitely not traditional Indian fare, but I included it to add extra substance and nutrition.  Rice would be another good option but you may need to play with the amount of water to get the right consistency.  Enjoy!

One-Pot Aloo Gobi
serves 8

– 1 Tbs coconut oil or butter
– 3 small red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
– 1 small yellow onion, chopped
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 1/2 Tbs curry powder
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1/8 tsp ground clove
– 3 cups water
– 1 small head cauliflower, chopped
– 1 cup green beans, chopped
– 1 Tbs tomato paste
– 1 cup dry quinoa

1.  Melt butter or coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and add onion and potatoes.  Sautee until onions are soft, 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.

2.  Add salt, curry powder, cumin, cloves, and water.  Bring to a boil.

3.  Add remaining ingredients and cook until vegetables are soft and quinoa has soaked up most of the extra water, about 20-30 minutes.

Baked Delicata Squash (or, the weirdest lunch I ever made)

Well, it didn’t take long for school to get back into full swing.  I try not to look too far ahead at my calendar since doing so is likely to throw me into a panic.  I haven’t had a chance to cook a real meal in almost a week, but I’m trying to at least keep the kitchen stocked with quick, healthy food options…and sometimes even that doesn’t quite happen.  Like the other day when I realized that the only thing I really had to pack for lunch was a baked delicata squash.  An entire delicata squash.

It was actually delicious.  It’s just that I don’t think I would recommend making it the main and only course of your meal 🙂  If you haven’t had one of these before, I recommend that you make it your next side dish.  Delicata squash are ridiculously easy to make and have a lovely sweet flavor.  Best of all, their skin is so thin (you might say delicate) that you can eat it along with the flesh.  It’s a lazy person’s dream come true.  This, as well as most types of winter squash, pairs well with other sweet flavors.  Brown sugar is a favorite but you could definitely experiment with another sweetener of your choice.  For this recipe, I actually decided not to add any extra sugar and relied on the sweetness of the squash instead.  I found that this was plenty for me.

Baked Delicata Squash
serves 2

– 1 squash
– a little olive oil
– 1 Tbs coconut oil (or butter)
– a few dashes of cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 400F and lightly oil a baking sheet.  Using a sharp knife, cut off the ends of the squash and cut in half, lengthwise.  Scoop out seeds.

2. Place squash face-down on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until squash is tender and easily pierced with a fork.

3. Remove from oven and spread coconut oil or butter evenly between the two halves.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Serve warm.

I love the coconut oil in this, which is good because I have a LOT of coconut oil in my pantry at the moment.  I mean, I have a ridiculous amount for someone who does not have a restaurant of a family of, like, 12 to feed.  Why do I have so much coconut oil?  Because I love deals and when I ran out of my last jar of coconut oil I decided to find the most cost-effective (per ounce) replacement.  I ended up finding it on amazon.com.  The catch being, of course, that it was in bulk.  So here is what showed up on my doorstep a few days later.

[Headsmack]  I love deals too much for my own good.

Fall Minestrone

A few days ago when it was chilly and rainy outside and I could smell Fall in the air, I decided that I should welcome the new season with a warming soup.  I settled on minestrone and gathered the ingredients at the grocery store.  Today, I finally had time to chop and simmer…and it was was 83 degrees outside and sunny.  I waited for the apartment to cool off from the afternoon sun and then reheated it with my stove.  Yeah, the timing could have been a little better but I’m not about to complain about the wonderful bowl of soup in front of me.

Since I am going for a “waste not, want not” kind of policy in my kitchen (living on student loans is a great motivator for frugality!) I’m saving the peelings from my butternut squash along with what remains of the leeks to make veggie stock.  I’m also saving the squash seeds to toast once my kitchen cools off.

Fall Minestrone
Makes a big pot of soup

– 2 Tbs butter or oil
– 3 leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced then roughly chopped
– 4 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
– 1 can (15 oz) italian style tomatoes
– 1 can (15 oz) white beans, drained and rinsed
– 3 large kale leaves, chopped into small pieces
– 4 cups vegetable broth
– 1 rosemary sprig
– salt and pepper, to taste

1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add leeks and garlic and cook until tender, 5 minutes.
2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Season with salt and pepper.

Note: After I took the photos, I remembered that I had some aged manchego in the refrigerator and shaved some onto the top of my pile of soup.  I strongly believe that fancy cheese should not go to waste.  Parmesan would also be a good choice!