When the holidays roll around, we’re enticed with rich dishes, and sometimes we tend to push vegetables to the back burner (so to speak).
Or, we might just be bored with the “same old, same old.”
Surprise your family and friends with creative preparations of the usual suspects, or try something completely new. Here are three recipes sure to bring added flavor to your holiday table. Ingredients are readily available at one of our fine supermarkets: , and .
I used to hate Brussels sprouts—smelly, slimy and altogether unappealing. Then I was lucky enough to have them at a restaurant whose chef knew how to properly cook the little darlings. I’ve since gone on to duplicate the method at home and serve (and eat) them quite often. If you have an aversion to Brussels sprouts, try this recipe!
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
1-1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts
4 slices lean bacon
½ teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed in mortar/pestle or grinder
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook bacon until crispy and break into small pieces. Set aside.
3. Cut stems from Brussels sprouts, peel bruised leaves off, and cut Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise (through stem portion).
4. Heat sauté pan with approximately one tablespoon olive oil, place Brussels sprouts in pan cut side down. Over medium to low heat, add a small layer of water to pan (just enough to create steam), cover, and simmer until Brussels sprouts are slightly tender—do not overcook at this stage.
5. Remove lid, let water evaporate and then add another tablespoon of oil. With cut sides still down, swirl Brussels sprouts around pan to spread the oil. Cook, gently swirling occasionally, until veggies are browned on the cut side. Do not overcook! Sprouts should still be slightly firm to the touch.
6. Toss sprouts with bacon, caraway, salt and pepper. Serve
Raw fennel (or anise) makes a crisp and refreshing addition to your vegetable platter or salad. And this baked fennel is a delicious, creamy, comforting side dish.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
1 small yellow onion, halved and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 large fennel bulbs (about 3 pounds) trimmed, cored and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
1 cup béchamel sauce
½ cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1. Sauté onion and garlic in approximately one tablespoon olive oil until soft but not browned. Add fennel and sauté until softened and slightly browned, gently stirring frequently.
2. Spoon fennel mixture into casserole and spread evenly.
3. Spoon béchamel sauce over fennel mixture.
4. Mix bread crumbs, cheese, parsley and lemon zest together and sprinkle over fennel mixture. Dot with butter.
5. Bake until topping is golden brown, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Green beans can usually be counted on to please most anyone at your table. If you’re looking for a new way to prepare them, this green bean salad with toasted walnuts and dried-cherry vinaigrette makes a colorful holiday side dish!
Green Bean Salad
½ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup dried cherries (or dried cranberries)
1-1/2 lbs trimmed green beans (haricots verts—slender green beans—are great for this recipe if you can find them)
½ cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1. Whisk together oil, garlic, vinegar, juice and mint. Add cherries. Set aside.
2. Blanch green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and submerge in cold water to stop cooking. Drain again.
3. Toss green beans, walnuts and vinaigrette together in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. Serve at room temperature. (Can be made two hours before serving.)