It's just not Christmas without brussel sprouts! They really are a love them or hate them vegetable. I'm actually not that fussed either way, I can take them or leave them!
I think most of us, well certainly of a certain age, can remember soggy, bitter brussel sprouts at Christmas! Overcooked veggies are one of my pet hates!
Now I'm all for seasonal food and brussel sprouts are certainly seasonal. Since we don't eat turkey, or any other animal for that matter!! I like to include some sprouts with our Festive Feast!
I came across this recipe on the Food Matters blog and was intrigued to give it a go. I've certainly never considered sprouts as a salad ingredient but then I never considered kale as a salad leaf before until I tried it in Awesome Wild Rice Salad and now I'm hooked!
The key to using tougher greens in salad is to use enough dressing and pour it over your salad ingredients an hour or so before you serve it to soften them a bit, making them easier to digest.
This particular salad is packed with nutritious ingredients with a festive twist from the cranberries and nuts. It is bursting with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins from the radishes, carrot, beetroot and flat leaf parsley.
The dressing packs a real punch with good fats from the rapeseed oil, immune boosting and digestive benefits from the garlic and apple cider vinegar and a delicious sweetness from the maple syrup!
All in all this definitely ticks all the boxes on flavour and nutrition!
I hope you give it a go, it could just transform your opinion of brussel sprouts!
Here is the recipe.
INGREDIENTS for SALAD
1/2 bag (approx 200g) of brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
4 radishes, cut into strips
1 small raw beetroot, thinly sliced or grated
1 small to medium carrot, grated
seeds of half a pomegrante (optional)
handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
handful of pumpkin seeds to garnish (optional)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons rapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider or white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt, black pepper and a large pinch of cinnamon.
1. Give all your veg a good wash and cut the bottom off the sprouts.
2. I used my food processor to thinly slice the sprouts and grate the carrot and beetroot which is really easy but if you don't have one then just slice the sprouts as finely as you can and grate the carrot and beetroot.
2. Thinly slice the radishes then cut them into strips.
3. Pile your veggies into a large salad bowl, just use your hands to mix it all together.
4. Add the walnuts and cranberries.
4. Measure all the salad ingredients into a glass jar and give it a good shake.
5. Pour over the salad and mix well.
6. Garnish with pomegrante and pumpkin seeds.
BRUSSEL SPROUT CRISPS
This was another OMG moment this festive season when I realised that sprouts make damned good crisps!
I'm a huge fan of kale crisps, which are just delicious and so light and crispy and I've perfected the recipe here.
Brussel sprout leaves are a lot thicker than curly kale so need a bit longer in the oven at a higher temperature.
I've found that if you trim off the outer leaves from your sprouts, you can crisp them up, then oven roast the middle bits with other veggies like red onions, cubed butternut squash and parsnips or thinly slice them and use them in the Sprout Salad.
.It becomes increasingly difficult to remove whole leaves since they are so tightly packed the nearer the middle. Initially I just sliced the middle bits thinly but they didn't crisp up like the outer leaves did so if you want crispy leaves just use the bigger outside leaves.
Right so all you need to do is wash your leaves well and dry in a salad spinner. I also dried mine on kitchen roll. Put the sprouts in a bowl and drizzle over about a tablespoon of rapeseed oil and massage the leaves to make sure they are all coated in oil. Then tumble them all onto an oven tray, arrange in a single layer, season with seaweed flakes and/or Himalyan sea salt.You may need more than one tray since they need to be in a single layer to crisp up!
I love Mara Seaweed, they do a great range of Scottish seaweeds with great flavour and health benefits!
Right then put them in the oven at around 160C for 15 minutes, shake the tray and put them back it for another 10 minutes or so until nicely browned and crisp. Ovens vary a bit so just use these timings as a guide and keep an eye on your crisps to make sure they don't burn.
Although some of mine did look a bit brown, they still tasted delicious!
This really is a great way of using up extra sprouts over the Festive Season.
Even my husband Alastair, who hates sprouts, actually ate these and said they weren't disgusting! He went back for seconds so I know he liked them, he just didn't want to admit it!!
Anyway sprouts like all veggies are extremely nutritious so I hope you eat loads of them this Christmas! It's certainly easy with these delicious recipes!
. .....your health in your hands......
Today as Christmas is only a few days away I thought I'd share a really simple but rather delicious vegan carrot loaf. This really is good enough to serve to veggie guests on Christmas Day. The Mushroom Gravy just elevates the whole dish and it can all be prepared in advance and reheated which is perfect. The original recipe is from the lovely Trinity Bournes Conscious Kitchen Cookbook and I've adapted it a bit. I originally tried using raw grated carrot to save on cooking time but although the loaf tasted great, it didn't hold together very well so you really need to cook the carrots first.
The seeds are a mixture of sunflower, pumpkin and ground flaxseeds, all nutritional powerhouses and packed with good fats, protein, fibre and antioxidants.
I also added some walnuts for a bit of crunch and omega 3, rather crucial at this time of year when there is so much to remember and do, and walnuts as their shape suggests (they look like brains!) support brain function and memory!
If you have a wee pepper needing used up or a stray courgette, you can add them, just chop finely or grate the courgette and add to the mixture.
Another point to remember is to pack the mixture very firmly into the tin to aid the binding process, otherwise it may break up!
This loaf is also delicious served cold, as part of a buffet or sliced in wraps or pitta breads for a healthy lunch or snack.
So here is my loaf recipe
CARROT & SEED LOAF
INGREDIENTS Makes 10 to 12 slices
4 to 5 medium carrots (approx 400g), scrubbed and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 small red pepper, diced fine (optional)
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 heaped tablespoon ground flaxseeds or spelt flour
100g sunflower seeds, ground
100g pumpkin seeds, ground
50 g walnuts, finely chopped or ground
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped (optional)
big handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1. Steam or boil the carrots until soft. Around 15 minutes.
2. Blitz seeds and nuts in a food processor or use a pestle and mortar. Some large pieces is ok but you want the rest fairly finely ground. You can also use pre ground seeds.
3. Heat the oil in a large pan and gently cook the onion, garlic and pepper for 5 to 10 minutes.
4.Drain and mash the carrots and add to the onion mix.
5. Add the ground seeds, nuts and herbs and mix together.
6. Season with sea salt
7. Prepare a 1kg loaf tin (approx 20x10x6cm) by cutting a long strip of greaseproof paper and lining the tin with it so it overlaps either end.
8. Firmly press the mixture into the tin to make it stick together.
9. Bake in a preheated oven at gas mark 6 (200C / 400F) for approximately 45 minutes.
10. Cool, for 10 minutes, then gently lift from the tin by pulling the loaf out along with the greaseproof paper.
11. Cut into slices and serve.
This is a really delicious gravy packed with healthy ingredients. It can be made in advance and simply reheated.
Serves 6 generously or 8 small portions
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, add the garlic and stir being careful not to burn it. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 mins. Add the flour and stir constantly, you want the flour to brown as it adds a nuttiness to the gravy. Add in the dried herbs, paprika, oat milk, miso paste and water; whisk frequently for a few minutes then add in the vinegar. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened. Grate in the nutmeg if using then season to taste and serve.
.....your health in your hands.....
I've had a lovely week, it was my birthday and I was spoilt rotten with flowers, chocolate and Prosecco, three of my favourite things!
I have to admit the after effects of too much chocolate and wine are not great but sometimes worth it!
So I thought I'd share one of my favourite healthy chocolate truffle recipes. These truffles are delicious, pretty much free of everything bad for you, incredibly quick and easy to make. In fact they are so delicious it's hard to believe they are packed full of healthy ingredients.
They are a perfect wee sweet treat to end a meal, and make a fabulous last minute Christmas gift for a health conscious friend.!
These truffles are vegan so dairy free, contain no saturated fat or added sugar. All the sweetness comes from the dates and coconut, both natural ingredients with health benefits.
I love dates, they are deliciously sweet and although they are fairly high in sugar, they more than make up for it with the dazzling array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, supporting health on so many levels.
The walnuts and sunflower seeds add protein, fibre, minerals and omega 3 fats so these truffles can definitely be enjoyed guilt free!
Medjool dates are the king of dates and are sweet, caramelly and moist and are always my first choice. Deglet Nour Dates are also delicious. Lidl are selling them for £1 a bag just now and they are also pitted which saves you precious time! It's well worth having a few bags on standby. Some of the dates are really quite dry and need to be soaked before you can use them and they are never sweet or sticky enough, don't buy them!
You really need a food processor to make these. The dates need to be blitzed to a paste, although I guess at a push you could use a hand blender. Dates are so sticky though you would have to do it in batches and blitz the nuts and seeds first. Always make sure there are no stones in your dates, that could wreck your processor. Another point to note, for those of you lucky enough to own a Vitamix, don't use it for dates! They are just too sticky and there was a horrible burning smell from mine when I tried it
You have been warned!
If you have any sweet superfood powders like lacuma or maca, you can add a spoonful to up the health benefits even more. Chia seeds are also a good addition!
These truffles are best kept in the fridge to firm them up. I'm not too sure how long they will keep, ours are always scoffed within a few days, but I guess they would be fine for a week or so!
Preparation: 30 minutes
Makes: 20 bite size truffles
. ......your health in your hands......
🍃 Health educator🍃