We all know it’s hard not to gain a few pounds during the holidays, with all the cookies, pies, and fattening foods that are pretty hard to resist. While Creamed spinach, green bean casserole, and candied yams all contain vegetables, they are far from good for you. These dishes can be loaded with so much fat and/or high sugar content. Here are a few simple and healthier sides to make. I’ve made them on the stove top since there is never enough room in the oven at the holidays.
French Green Bean Almondine:
What you will need:
1 1/2 pounds French green beans (haricots verts)
1/4 cup ground almonds (use food processor or chopper)
2-3 T olive oil
1/3 cup chicken stock (can use bouillon)
2 tsp. cornstarch mixed with about 1/4 cup water
1 medium shallot minced
1/2 lemon zested and juiced
salt and cracked pepper
Rinse and cut ends off beans. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the beans in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes or until tender.
Immediately drain and run cold water over the beans. Set aside to dry. Zest lemon and chop shallot.
Toast almonds over medium high heat until light browned and fragrant. Approx 3-5 minutes.
Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large saute pan and add the shallot and almonds. Saute a few minutes until the shallots have browned a bit. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a few minutes. Turn up the heat, mix the cornstarch with the water and whisk into the chicken stock until it has thickened a bit. (you may not have to use all of the cornstarch liquid). This will thicken and make a nice glaze that will allow the almonds and shallots to stick to the beans. If the sauce is too thick just add more water.
Add the green beans and mix until coated. Season with salt and cracked pepper. Add lemon juice and zest. Makes 4 servings.
Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts
This recipe is so simple with only a few ingredients. All you need are:
1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1 or 2 cloves garlic pressed or finely chopped.
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or coconut aminos
*you can also sweeten with a few tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
Trim off the stems and remove any damaged leaves from sprouts. Leave any loose leaves that fall off since they will brown nicely. Cut sprouts in half lengthwise.
Steam sprouts until until tender but not mushy. This can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on the size of your sprouts. Check frequently with a fork. (I used a large 12 inch saute pan with lid). Remove sprouts from pan, pour water out of pan and dry.
Add olive oil to pan. Set the heat to medium, add the Brussels sprouts, garlic, and cracked pepper. Saute until they are nicely browned. Turn frequently while sprouts are browning to make sure they don’t burn.
Add the balsamic vinegar or coconut aminos and stir until evaporated. Season with salt and more cracked pepper to taste.
Remove from heat, squeeze on lemon juice, and mix. Makes 6 servings
ENJOY and Happy Holidays everyone!!