Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts

I love the way the leaves fall off Brussels sprouts when you quarter them, resembling flower petals and creating a beautiful centerpiece for your plate. This cooking method caramelizes the vegetable, bringing out its natural sweetness. If your family members don’t love Brussels sprouts, this recipe may just change their mind.

This dish is so simple and mostly hands off, which is why I love roasting vegetables. You can step outside and grill your favorite lean protein while your Brussels sprouts roast. Pair this side dish with grilled salmon, a simple salad, fresh whole grain bread and your favorite white wine for an elegant and easy stay-at-home, date-night meal.

Ingredients:
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1½ tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
⅓ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts and cut into quarters, keeping the leaves (or as I like to call them, petals) that fall off.
  2. Place Brussels sprouts on a large baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle minced garlic, salt and pepper on top and toss with a spatula to evenly coat.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through the cooking cycle. Brussels sprouts will be tender with dark brown outer leaves. Sprinkle with hazelnuts, toss and serve.

Sweet Potato and Kohlrabi “Fries” with Creamy Garlic Sauce

Oh, how American’s love French fries, myself included included. The crispy, greasy, fried potato is the perfect burger companion. For a healthy alternative that is just as satisfying, I’ve created an oven-baked version with sweet potato and kohlrabi and a creamy garlic sauce for dipping. The sweetness of the potato is a perfect balance for kohlrabi, which has a slight bitter taste. Enjoy as an appetizer or pair with a hamburger or your favorite sandwich for healthy pub grub at home.

Ingredients:
1 large sweet potato
1 large kohlrabi bulb
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
2 cloves minced garlic

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel sweet potato and kohlrabi and cut into fry shaped strips.
  2. Place sweet potato and kohlrabi strips in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat.
  3. Arrange vegetables in a single layer on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip with a spatula. Continue baking for 15 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.
  4. Meanwhile, add yogurt, mustard and garlic in a small bowl and stir to combine, creating a creamy garlic sauce for serving.

Servings: 4

Sweet and Spicy Fruit Salad

The inspiration for this recipe came from a strawberry jalapeño jam, which is my new food obsession. The combination of sweet strawberries with a slight peppery heat is a perfect pairing that will delight your taste buds. I added a little citrus to my new favorite duo for a unique take on fruit salad that’s tangy, sweet and spicy all in one bite.

This is a wonderful use for spring strawberries and makes a simple but unique side dish or dessert. Pair it with grilled fish or chicken and fresh asparagus for a fast and delicious homemade meal, or liven up your next potluck with this sweet and spicy treat.

Ingredients:
1 pound strawberries
1 grapefruit
1 navel orange
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons hot and sweet jalapeño pepper slices, diced

Directions:

  1. Remove stems from strawberries and cut into quarters.
  2. Peel and roughly chop grapefruit and orange, removing any seeds.
  3. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, grapefruit and orange and drizzle with honey. Add jalapeños and gently toss to combine.

Spicy Sweet Potato Puree

Chipotle chile pepper adds smokey heat, while the maple syrup amps up the sweetness in my Spicy Sweet Potato Puree. Add a pork chop and sautéed kale to turn this side into a meal.

I like to make a double or triple batch of this Spicy Sweet Potato Puree to freeze and have on hand for fast weeknight dinners. To avoid taking up too much storage space in your freezer, store the potatoes in zip-top bags and lay them flat. When you’re ready to serve them again, just defrost the bag in your refrigerator before heating.

Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons skim milk

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, add sweet potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender.
  2. Drain potatoes in a colander and return to saucepan. Reduce heat to low and mash sweet potatoes with a potato masher (for a more rustic version) or use a mixer (for a smooth, no-lump version). Add maple syrup, chipotle chile pepper, salt and milk. Stir to combine and cook for a minute or two, allowing flavors to meld.

Servings: 4

Rosemary Roasted Radishes with Bacon

Radishes are a root vegetable you may not think of roasting, but be prepared to kick the potato, carrot, turnip and your other favorite root vegetables aside. I think radishes are meant to be roasted, which brings out a sweetness that mellows their peppery heat. Serve this earthy dish as an appetizer or side.

Ingredients
1 bunch watermelon radishes or red radishes, cut into thin slices
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon course sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place radishes in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary. Toss to evenly coat.
  2. Place radishes on a medium baking sheet and cook for about 20 minute, stirring occasionally.
  3. Top radishes with crumbled bacon and serve.


SORGHUM ROASTED ACORN SQUASH

Roasted acorn squash, drizzled with sorghum enhances the flavor of this sweet vegetable. Top it off with a quick sorghum yogurt that turns tangy plain yogurt into a candy-like cream. This versatile dish goes well as a side, desert, snack or breakfast.

While sorghum is widely available in the southern United States, other readers may not have access. Honey or molasses are good substitutes, but sorghum has a luscious sweetness that is crave worthy. When enjoying this dish, go ahead and eat the skin of the squash. Roasting the squash will leave you with a tender green exterior that is edible and nutritious.

Roasted Acorn Squash Ingredients:
2 small acorn squash, quartered and seeded
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sorghum

Sorghum Yogurt Ingredients:
1 (17.6 ounce) container plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons sorghum

Toppings:
Toasted Pecans
Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place squash wedges, skin side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle with salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  2. Cut butter into 8 small pieces and place one in the center of each squash wedge. Drizzle equally with sorghum. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine yogurt and sorghum in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Chill until ready to serve.
  4. Remove squash from oven and serve with a dollop of sorghum yogurt, toasted pecans and a dash of cinnamon.

Servings: 8

Grilled Cabbage Wedge Salads

There’s something so beautiful about a wedge salad where you can see layers of green produce decorated with your favorite toppings. Instead of lettuce, I used cabbage grilled in foil packs with an orange-sage marinade that doubles as a warmed dressing. Crunchy bacon and melt-in-your-mouth blue cheese round out my Grilled Cabbage Wedge Salads. These are elegant enough for entertaining and simple enough to make on a busy night.

Ingredients:
1 medium head green cabbage, cored and cut into 4 wedges
1 orange
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Place cabbage wedges in a shallow dish and zest orange on top of cabbage.
  2. In a small bowl, juice the orange. Whisk in olive oil, sage, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over cabbage wedges and marinade for 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Place each cabbage wedge over a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle any marinade from the bottom of the dish over the cabbage. Seal foil tightly around wedges and grill for 8 to 10 minutes per side.
  4. Remove from grill, unwrap and serve with bacon and blue cheese crumbles.

Servings: 4