Freekeh Salad with Roasted Grapes and Brussels Sprouts

This easy freekeh salad with roasted grapes and Brussels sprouts is your new favorite make ahead lunch for winter!

Freekeh Salad with Roasted Grapes and Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup freekeh

  • 12 ounces Brussels sprouts, quartered

  • 1 1/2 cups grapes

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1 cup edamame

  • 4 cups baby kale

  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted

  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

  • Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic

  • 1 teaspoon honey

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Bring freekeh and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small pot. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25-30 minutes until water is absorbed. Let sit covered 5 minutes to steam, then remove cover and fluff with a fork. Let cool to room temperature.

  3. Toss Brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Toss grapes with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and spread evenly alongside Brussels sprouts or on a seperate small baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast the Brussels sprouts 25 minutes until golden and tender and grapes 20 minutes until just starting to burst, flipping halfway.

  4. Mix dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. Toss freekeh, roasted grapes and Brussels sprouts, pecans, edamame, and kale in a large bowl. Toss with dressing. Top with crumbled goat cheese and serve.

Maple Miso Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Maple miso glazed brussels sprouts were made for Thanksgiving...or every day of the week! 

If you couldn’t already tell from my Instagram feed, I’m having a bit of a fall moment. I’ve always enjoyed the season - the changing colors, college football, finally being able to straighten my hair. While I’m not quite to the level of posting selfies in Uggs with a pumpkin spice latte in hand, I totally get the enthusiasm.

This year fall seems to be a little bit more magical than normal. When we left Columbia for Vietnam, it had been hot and rainy and dreary for the past couple weeks. When we got back, we were smack dab in the middle of fall. I missed the transition entirely, and I’m not sad about it in the least.

Obviously, we’re celebrating fall in the kitchen. Maybe in a few months I’ll start missing eggplant and heirloom tomatoes, but for now, I’m playing a game called ‘let’s see how many ways I can prepare Brussels sprouts.’ Come join me!

Brussels sprouts are a must have on Thanksgiving, right up there with mac and cheese and stuffing. Wow, I never thought those words would come out of my mouth. Brussels were far from my favorite vegetable growing up. Now they crack the top three.

These maple-miso brussies (my nickname, because we’re best pals and all) would make a lovely little addition to your Thanksgiving meal. Be sure to use pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup, which is simply sugar syrup with maple flavor. Bonus points for grade B pure maple syrup, which has a much deeper flavor.

Maple Miso Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • Large pinch red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add brussels sprouts and cook until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water, cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. While sprouts are cooking, whisk together maple syrup, red pepper flakes and miso paste in a small bowl.
  3. Taste the sprouts to make sure they're tender. Add glaze, stir to combine. Cook 1 minute then remove from pan to serving dish.

Vegan Roasted Fall Vegetable Pesto Pasta

Roasted fall vegetable pesto pasta is an easy and comforting weeknight dinner. Use any seasonal vegetable you like, but this combination of carrots, delicata squash and brussels sprouts is especially tasty! 

Happy Monday! About the time this gets posted, my flight is set to land in the US after an incredible trip to Vietnam. I hope you've been keeping up with our adventures on instagram. If so, you know we've been doing our fair share of eating, especially street food. Planning to do a couple recaps of our trip so I can self-indulgently share pictures and all the delicious food we ate, but until then, I'm trying to focus on spitting out this post before we hop on our plane. Unfortunately, my brain feels somewhat like the rice noodles we've been living off the last week and a half!

Trying so hard to muster up some enthusiasm for this post, because truly, this is one of my favorite go to dishes for fall. Almost every other week when I don't feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, I roast up a big batch of seasonal vegetables and toss it with cooked whole grain pasta and pesto sauce. It's so tasty and I never get bored of it! But right now, after 2 weeks of indulgence (and so, so many rice noodles), all my body wants is a big green smoothie and a massaged kale salad. Basically anything fresh!

So, let's skip the gushing and go straight to the recipe. Use any type of seasonal vegetable you like - mushrooms, cauliflower, turnips and broccoli all work well, but I love the sweet and bitter combination of winter squash and carrots with slightly bitter Brussels sprouts. Plus, there's that whole carb on carb thing. Any type of winter squash will work, but if you see delicata squash, snatch it up! It's thin skin is edible, saving you time and fingers.

I whipped up this quick vegan pesto since we had a ton of basil in our garden (the only thing still living), but feel free to use any store bought pesto. To add more protein, toss in a can of white beans.


Roasted Fall Vegetable Pesto Pasta

Serves: About 4ish but depends on how hungry you are

Ingredients

  • 1 delicata squash, halved, seeds scooped out and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 carrots, in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 12 ounce brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounce 100% whole grain penne or fusilli
  • [b]Vegan Pesto:[/b]
  • 2 cups basil, packed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons nutrition yeast
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss squash and carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and spread evenly on a large baking dish. Place in the oven and roast for 35 minutes until browned and tender.
  3. Toss brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet, place in the oven and roast 25 minutes.
  4. While vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.
  5. While pasta and vegetables are cooking, place basil, lemon juice, walnuts, nutritional yeast, and garlic in a food processor. Blend until finely chopped, then stream in olive oil and continue to blend until pureed. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add roasted vegetables and pesto. Toss to combine and serve.

More easy pasta dishes: 

Spaghetti with Tempeh Sausage Marinara and Artichokes
Spaghetti with Tempeh Sausage Marinara and Artichokes
Pasta with Tempeh Sausage,Broccolini and Creminis
Pasta with Tempeh Sausage,Broccolini and Creminis
Gazpacho Pasta Salad
Gazpacho Pasta Salad

Crunchy Asian Edamame Slaw With Baked Tofu

Crunchy Asian Edamame Slaw With Baked Tofu

A recipe for crunchy Asian edamame slaw that's perfect for batch cooking! It's packed with tons of vegetables like radish, cilantro, cabbage, edamame and carrots. Top with baked tofu steaks, seared salmon or marinated tempeh for protein. Perfect with a soy-lime dressing tossed in! Vegan! 

Read More

Mashed Bean Bowls with Roasted Vegetables

Mashed Bean Bowls with Roasted Vegetables

This mashed bean bowl with roasted fall vegetables is one of my favorite cold weather weeknight meals! It's perfect for batch cooking - just whip up a batch of mashed beans and roasted vegetables and you've got lunch all week. It's easy to change with the seasons by swapping different vegetables. Add a fried egg for extra protein! 

Read More

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Ambrosia Apples and Tempeh Bacon

Disclosure: I was asked to participate in the #iloveambrosia campaign as a member of Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I was compensated for my time and gifted a dozen Ambrosia apples. Thanks for supporting Avocado A Day! 

If there was anyone more excited than me when I was asked to participate in the #iloveambrosia apple campaign, it was my pup, Savannah. Adorbs, isn't she?

Being the good dietitian's dog that she is, her favorite treat isn't rubbery pupperoni or even her all natural, smoked salmon treats. It's apples. Y'all, that dog will do anything for apples. She'll pull out tricks we've never even taught her just to get the core leftover from our snack. She can even hear the sound of us biting into an apple from the other side of the house! Because we're suckers for that precious little face, she generally gets a decent portion of every apple we eat, plus the ones that get mealy or brown.

When a package of twelve GORGEOUS Ambrosia apples arrived at our doorstep, I thought her eyes would pop out of her head with excitement. I actually tried to get her picture with the apples, but it basically turned into that scene from There's Something About Mary when Matt Dillon's character gives Fluffy the dog speed. True story.

I totally get her excitement. These were some pretty darn gorgeous apples. No hint of blemish, even after a week in the heavily trafficked fruit crisper. A deep pink blush over a creamy yellow background. Shiny skin. Huge.

I was even more excited when I took a bite.

I know I overuse superlatives, but this was the best apple I've ever tasted.

Aptly named after the food of the gods, Ambrosia apples mysteriously appeared as a seedling in a orchard full of Jonagolds. After the pickers stripped the tree clean of it's perfect fruit, the farmer decided to produce more. Ambrosias are one of the sweetest apple varieties with a flavor reminiscent of honey. I generally prefer tart apples, but the complex flavor, crisp flavor and juiciness won me over!

After tasting the apple, I knew I wanted to keep it in it's raw form and preserve it's perfection. I also wanted to do a savory recipe rather than sweet. Dare to be different, I say.

The sweet Ambrosia apple perfectly pairs with bitter Brussels sprouts leaves. The smoky tempeh bacon, nutty pecans and acidic lemon dressing balance out the flavors. I should note, this salad was made for batch cooking. The apples, which oxidize slower than other varieties, didn't brown and the sprouts stayed crisp for the three days I kept it in the fridge. All it needs is a dash more lemon before serving and you're good to go!

Like all apples, Ambrosia's are a good source of fiber with 4 grams in each medium apple. It's especially rich in soluble fiber, known for it's cholesterol lowering benefits. It's also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C. Much of the research on apples has focused on their polyphenol content, a type of phytonutrient which makes apples especially good for blood sugar regulation. The polyphenols found in apples slow down carbohydrate digestion, stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin, and reduce glucose absorption. Make sure to eat the skin where many of the nutrients concentrate!

Now, I know you all are on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what Savannah thought of these apples. I'm sorry to report that she's just not a fan. Not because they aren't delicious, but because her mommy and daddy ate all of them, leaving her with just a few, almost completely stripped down cores. Her puppy dog eyes are cute, but no match for the allure of these apples.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Ambrosia Apples and Tempeh Bacon

Serves 4

Although this salad, full of healthy carbs, fat and protein, is perfectly satisfying, if you want to bulk it up a bit more, add chickpeas. And although it would not longer be vegan, blue cheese would be a welcome addition as well.

Ingredients

Bacon:

  • 8 ounce organic tempeh
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Salad:

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 2 large Ambrosia apples
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
  • Dressing:
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. First, make the tempeh bacon. Cut the tempeh in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 12 thin slices, for a total of 24. Place in a zip top bag or plastic container with lid. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, molasses, and spices. Pour over tempeh and let marinade at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 300 degrees and brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Line the tempeh up on the baking sheet and brush the tops with more olive oil. Bake for 12-14 minutes, flip, then bake an additional 8 minutes until browned and slightly crisp.
  3. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise through the core. Using a paring knife, cut away the core so the leaves fall apart and separate. Add to a large salad bowl. Dice the apple and add to the sprouts along with the pecans. Toss in the pecans.
  4. Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the salad and serve.

Baked Eggs with Sweet Potatoes, Brussels and Roquefort

Eggs are baked over a bed of diced roasted sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and gorgonzola cheese for a dish that's perfect for breakfast, brunch or dinner. 

Remember when the only decision you made when buying eggs was small, large or jumbo?  Even then, it wasn't really a choice, because who buys anything other than large?  Now you're presented with such choices as natural, organic, vegetarian fed, free range and what seems like a dozen different stamps (supposedly) guaranteeing humane treatment.  When the price ranges from $2-7, it's important to know what's worth the extra dollars.

Local, organic eggs are your best choice.  I usually get mine from Wil-Moore farms at our local farmers market.  Eggs purchased locally are the most sustainable option - if pastured and organic, they are your most nutritious option too.  Not only is there a difference in nutrition, but there is a huge difference in taste. The yolk is deep orange has an incredibly rich flavor.  The white, or albumin is thicker and won't spread as much.  Aesthetically, this makes a more appealing poached egg...and it keeps me from cursing like a pirate when peeling boiled eggs.

Farm fresh eggs are definitely worth the price tag, but sometimes it's not convenient to get a hold of them.  We're often out of town for the weekend farmers market, so until a market selling local produce opened near our house, I was frequently left in the grocery store, pondering my 3,478 choices.

To save you the hassle and confusion, I've created a simplified guide to most of the egg labels you'll see.  Save this reference guide for your next grocery trip.

Organic: Organic not only refers to the feed, which is organic, free of animal by prodcuts and GMOs, but also ensures some degree of humane treatment.  In industrial egg production, hens are commonly kept in tiny cages, smaller than the size of a piece of paper.  Cages are not allowed in organic egg production and hens must have access to the outdoors, although it may be limited.  Usually, large scale organic egg producers build a porch attached to the henhouse, which counts as outdoor access.  Use of antibiotics is limited.  They are not allowed to be used as a preventative measure, a practice linked to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, antibiotics are only used during an outbreak of infection or disease.

Free Range: Free range is a difficult term to interpret, mostly because it's not regulated.  The FDA has provided the loose definition as "hens are allowed access to the outside."  So while this term might bring to mind visions of hens roaming through open fields, pecking at bugs and generally living a pleasant little life on the farm, it might not be the case.  Some farmers may allow their hens to live free in large fields, while others, generally larger producers, may only provide a concrete porch attached to a crowded hen house.  Also, free range eggs may not necessarily be organic or antibiotic free.  If humane treatment of animals is important to you (and it should be!), do your research!

Cage Free: This means hens were not raised in tiny cages, but it does not mean the bird has outdoor access.  Generally, hens are kept in a henhouse, but they might not have much more room than if they were kept in a cage.  Cage free does not mean organic.  Hens may be given antibiotics, as the crowded environment increases the risk of disease.  This term is not regulated.

Vegetarian Fed:  This means hens are fed a diet free of any animal by products.  Since the discovery of "mad cow" disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, there has been concern about the presence of animal by products in animal feed.  The disease developed because cows are legally allowed to be fed rendered cow carcass, which besides basically being cannibalism, is incredibly unsafe.  Eggs labeled vegetarian fed ensures the hens were not fed animal by products.  If purchasing organic eggs, this is also ensured.

Omega 3 Enriched: Nutritionally, this is a good thing.  Hens are fed flaxseed or fish oil to increase the omega 3 content of their eggs.  This label does not ensure the hens are treated humanely, antibiotic free or fed organic, animal by product free food.  Eggs from pastured eggs naturally contain higher amounts of omega 3 fats.

Animal Welfare Approved: This is the most highly regulated of animal welfare labels for eggs.  It is reserved for family farms.  Hens are allowed constant access to outdoors and shelter.  Beak cutting is not allowed.  Hens are fed a vegetarian diet and no antibiotics are administered.

Certified Humane: Certified human is a regulated term which basically means hens have enough room to engage in natural activities, like perching and nesting.  Cages are not allowed, but hens may be kept indoors or outdoors. No antibiotics are administered.

American Humane Certified:  Hens are allowed access to adequate food and water and room to perform natural activities.  Cages, hormones, and non-therapeutic antibiotics are not allowed, but beak cutting is.  Hens may or may not have access to the outdoors.  This certification is very similar to certified humane, but is considered slightly less stringent.

Antibiotic Free/Hormone Free:  Since the use of hormones is banned in poultry production, hormone free is somewhat misleading.  The prevalence of antibiotics in the egg industry is a bit of an unknown with the egg industry claiming minimal use.  Either way, the label antibiotic free isn't regulated, so it's impossible to vouch for accuracy.  If you purchase organic eggs, that will ensure it is antibiotic free.

Natural:  This means nothing.  Zilch.  And not just for eggs.

Baked Eggs with Sweet Potatoes, Brussels and Roquefort

Serves 4-6

I served this with a simple arugula salad for a light dinner. This would also make for a fantastic brunch, served with fruit salad and whole grain toast. You could also swap the blue cheese for goat. Adapted from Naturally Ella.

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced

  • 4 cups Brussels, halved

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4-6 eggs

  • 3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

  2. Place the sweet potato, onion, and Brussels sprouts in a large baking dish. Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes until tender, and very lightly golden. It will continue cooking once you add the eggs.

  3. Create 4-6 wells in the roasted vegetables and carefully crack an egg in each well. Sprinkle the blue cheese over the top. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes until the whites are set and the yolk is still slightly runny. Serve immediately.