Fall Flavors Series: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts

Brussels sprouts get an upgrade with toasted hazelnuts and orange juice and zest. This side dish is perfect for the holidays or a random weeknight.

Happy Friday! This has definitely been one of those weeks that feels like it’s never going to end and then, all of the sudden, Friday sneak-attacks and all is good. Isn’t that the best feeling?

A couple of weeks ago, I got to cook dinner for a group of ten awesome women as part of a fantastic event, Your Mat, Our Table. The event brought together women interested in healthy food and fitness by combining a one-hour rooftop yoga class overlooking Chicago and then a multi-course vegan, gluten-free meal made by moi, featuring dishes like my Kale, Roasted Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Salad and this yummy Brussels sprouts dish.

The menu utilized almost 100% local foods procured from the Evanston Farmers Market, mostly from Green Acres Indiana and Geneva Lakes Produce.

I was like a kid in a candy store that day at the market — was awesome getting to see, smell, touch and ultimately taste all that great produce whilst chatting with the farmers and other market patrons.

Did I mention the farmers market is my happy place? #nerdalert

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts and Orange Zest

These Brussels are gluten-free, vegan and most importantly, delicious. Either buy a bag of them or, if you’re a glutton for punishment like me, get a stalk or two and saw those puppies right off (try not to cut yourself).

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, washed with outer few leaves removed
  • Zest and juice of one orange
  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Cut ends off of sprouts and then quarter them. Toss with olive oil and orange juice, then spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until slightly charred.
  3. Meanwhile, chop hazelnuts and lay on baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the hazelnuts become fragrant.
  4. Sprinkle roasted Brussels sprouts with orange zest and toasted hazelnuts and serve.

Stay tuned for more recipes from the event, including vegan caramel apples. This Sunday, I’ll be posting the recipe for {crock pot} Butternut Squash and Lentil Curry with Coconut-Lime Cauliflower Rice. Get pumped!

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Miso Mustard Green Beans {Recipe ReDux}

If you follow me on Instagram (@danaartinyanRD), you know that I’m kind of obsessed with my CSA from Green Acres. It’s organic, locally grown and always exciting to see what treasures I’ll get in the week’s haul. I especially love all the weird exotic stuff, e.g. nettles (have to wear gloves when you handle them/cook them so that you don’t get a rash), Scarlet turnips, all colors of carrots and Swiss chard — though I guess that’s not so exotic, depending on who you ask.

I have a special place in my heart for vegetables that are “abnormal” in color: yellow cauliflower, purple asparagus, red carrots and so on. Growing up, my mom always made a point to make sure our meals were colorful, which I’ve carried into my own cooking. So the crazy-colored veggies fit in perfectly. Last week, I got these rainbow green beans and was thrilled to use them in this month’s “Fresh From the Garden” Recipe ReDux:

The season of bountiful produce has arrived. Whether your produce comes from the Farmers Market, a CSA share, or a plot of dirt out back, show how you are using fresh July fruits or veggies. And if you have gardening successes – or failures – please share!

rainbow_green_beans

I can thank a former Recipe ReDux for my love for miso paste. It lends a savory flavor complexity that I get really geeked about. A couple months ago, I was cooking with friends and made some roasted green beans with a miso-mustard sauce, so this recipe is a play on that. It might sound simple or maybe even strange, but trust me, you will be DREAMING about these miso mustard green beans for days. You’re welcome.

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Miso Mustard Green Beans

Try these with chicken, steak or grilled tofu. If you don’t have green beans, I’m pretty sure this sauce would be amazing on whatever you put it on, so not to worry. I especially recommend cruciferous vegetables and sweet potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. green beans (multi-color if available), preferably locally-grown and organic
  • 3-4 large carrots
  • 1 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. miso paste (I used a chickpea-based, soy-free version from Miso Master)
  • 1 Tbsp. grainy mustard
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. local honey

Directions:

  1. Wash green beans and carrots well. Cut ends off of green beans and carrots. Julienne carrots (into small matchsticks).
  2. Heat oil in a medium skillet for 2-3 minutes. Add green beans and carrots and saute for 10-12 minutes, or until desired level of char is reached.
  3. While the vegetables are sauteeing, add remaining ingredients to a bowl and whisk until well-combined.
  4. Toss vegetables in miso mixture and serve warm.

miso_mustard_green_beans

Who else is obsessed with their CSA? What’s your favorite CSA treasure thus far?

For more great locally-grown recipes, click the link below!

Farmers Market WTF: Part 4 – Eggplant

Turkish Eggplant

Bored of eggplant? Though eggplant is pretty well known (not really a “wtf” farmers market find), with its blandish taste, you may be getting tired of this vegetable.

Besides the old stand-by, Eggplant Parmesan, what else can you do with eggplant?

I set out to explore this question after picking up some eggplant from the Green City Market. I prefer a smaller eggplant, so I went with some Turkish eggplant (pictured above), along with Chinese eggplant, which is thinner than standard eggplant. The Turkish eggplants look like mini pumpkins, right?

Eggplants are often used as a meat replacement, though they are not high in protein. They are, however, high in fiber. For about a cup of eggplant, you’ll get 2 grams of fiber for only 20 calories. So, for 2 cups (enough to keep you satisfyingly full), it’ll only cost you 40 calories (plus the added bonus of 4 grams of fiber). Eggplants also contain potassium, which helps counteract salt consumption and aids in muscle function.

Keep in mind that fiber generally means filling, making eggplant an excellent addition to meals. I wanted to try using mine in a couple different ways. Let me say first that eggplant is delicious when roasted in the oven, but with the extremely hot weather in Chicago, I’ve been trying not to turn the oven on. So, the following two recipes were done on a stove top – sans oven.
Eggplant Recipe No. 1: Tempeh & Eggplant “Ratatouille:”

Tempeh & Eggplant Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces tempeh (a fermented soy + grain product similar to tofu)
  • 1 Chinese eggplant, cubed
  • 1 ounce mozzarella cheese (I used a Trader Joe’s fresh mozzarella stick), shredded/chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3-4 basil leaves, washed and diced
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  • Sprinkle eggplant with salt (this will draw out some of the water from the eggplant, making it easier/better for sauteeing).
  • Heat garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes, then add eggplant and saute for about 5 minutes. Add tempeh and saute another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and basil.

Easy, no? The above recipe is for a single serving. You can double, triple, etc. depending on how many people you’re feeding.

Eggplant Recipe No. 2: Eggplant Chips

Okay, so this one is not so much a recipe as much as a method for cooking the eggplant.

Eggplant chips, served with carrot top pesto smeared whitefish (over purple kale).

Directions:Cut eggplant into 1/4″ slices and sprinkle with salt to draw out moisture. Cook in a lightly oiled (or use cooking spray) pan for about 3-4 minutes per side (depending on how crispy you like the slices).

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Farmers Market WTF: Week 3 – Carrot Tops

For most people, hearing “carrot top” conjures up images of a skinny comedian with bright red hair who totes around a trunk full of props.

For me, I imagine the leafy greens atop my carrots and think, ‘What can I do with these?’

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Purple carrots from the Green City Market

After asking the farmers at the market without much help, I took matters into my own hands to research what, if any, uses there were for my carrot tops. Check out the Carrot Museum website for some great recipes. I really loved their idea for a carrot top pesto, though I didn’t actually follow their recipe since I didn’t have the ingredients on hand.

Normally I would let you know about the fantastic nutrition of carrot tops before I delve into recipes and the like. However, there were no reputable sources to be found on the topic. That doesn’t mean that carrot tops aren’t nutritious, however. If I had to use my nutritional knowledge and background to estimate the nutrients found in carrot tops, I would say that there is potassium (promotes heart health among other things), vitamin K (involved in bone health and maintenance as well as blood clotting) and iron. Again, this is my estimation of the nutrients found in carrot tops and should by no means be taken as fact.

So, on to the recipe:

Carrot Top Pesto:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup carrot tops, rinsed, with any large stems removed
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, rinsed
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (or more if you want a thinner pesto)
  • 3 Tbsp nuts or seeds (I used pepitas because that was all I had. Pine nuts or walnuts would be best)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until creamy.

Carrot top pesto made an excellent topping to my turkey meatballs at lunch…

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Turkey meatballs (lean ground turkey with red onions basil and herbs) over sauteed veggies and purple kale, topped with carrot top pesto. Yum!

Carrot top pesto is great on toast, too!

Farmers Market WTF: Week 2 – Purslane

Okay, so technically this is the third week, but last week I took off since it was the 4th of July. Therefore, I am calling this week two.

This week’s item: an edible weed known as purslane.

You are probably thinking that I’m nuts trying to tell you to eat weeds. Just hear me out, though. I promise I’m not [really] some crazy hippie dietitian.

It’s pretty, right? I am tempted to put some sprigs in vases around my apartment.

Also, a little background on purslane: a “weed,” it grows very easily and its seeds are quite resilient. So it is pretty much inevitable that it will find its way into a garden. And if it’s going to grow anyway, you might as well eat it.

Purslane is popular in certain Indian states and Latin American countries. It is even used by the French as a salad green, and is occasionally referred to as “Mexican parsley.” The entire plant – leaves and stems – are edible.

Purslane has a mild taste, similar to spinach or watercress with just a hint of tang and bitterness (not nearly as bitter as kale, Swiss chard or many other greens).

As far as nutrition goes, 1.5 cups of fresh purslane (you would use at least that much in a salad) contain:

  • Only 10 calories!
  • 25% daily value for vitamin C
  • 15% daily value for vitamin A
  • Vitamin K, calcium, iron and magnesium, among other nutrients

Though purslane can be cooked, I chose to eat it raw as the base of my salad. I had some canned crab meat from Trader Joe’s (real crab for a great price!) and decided to make some crab cakes to put on top of the salad. I figured that purslane’s fresh, crisp flavor would go well with a savory & rich (rich tasting, not rich in calories) crab cake. In about 20 minutes, my crab cakes were mixed, pan-fried and served as a delicious topper for the purslane!

Crab Cakes on a Bed of Purslane & Spinach

Crab cakes:

Crab cake ingredients. And yes, I used the store-bought lime juice. Sometimes you just have to improvise…

  • 2, 6 oz. cans crab meat, drained (about 8-10 oz. total, drained)
  • 1 egg (not pictured)
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs (regular bread crumbs would also work), plus 1/3 cup
  • 1 Tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (I didn’t have any, hence the lime juice, also works)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (for pan-frying)

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients, except for 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs and olive oil, in a bowl and form into 6 patties.
  • Sprinkle tops with half of the remaining bread crumbs.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large pan. You’ll know the oil is ready when you splash a [very small] drop of water into the pan and it sizzles (I just run my fingers under the tap and flick some water into the pan to check).
  • Place patties, bread crumb side down, into pan, then sprinkle remaining bread crumbs on top.
  • Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side.

Purslane & Spinach Salad:

Mix 1 tsp grainy mustard with 1 Tbsp olive oil in small bowl. Place about 2 cups purslane and 1 cup spinach on a plate and drizzle with mustard/oil mixture.

Finished Product:

Top the salad with crab cakes and a little smoked paprika “aioli”  (1/4 cup nonfat Green yogurt, 1/4 tsp smoked paprika), and voila!

Crab Cakes on a Bed of Purslane & Spinach

Farmers Market WTF: Week 1 – Kohlrabi

As a volunteer at the Green City Market in Chicago, I am surrounded by amazingly fresh, delicious, colorful produce every week. It’s heaven for me.

However, even with my love of fruits, veggies and cooking/eating delicious foods, the farmer’s market can sometimes evoke a “WTF” moment. What is that?? How do I make it?? Is it even edible?

What is that??? (Fabulous picture, I know)

Thus, I have decided to start a series of “Farmer’s Market: WTF?” posts. I will discuss what the food is, the nutritional benefit and my experience trying to eat and cook it.

First up: Kohlrabi

No, that’s not an alien-baby. It’s Kohlrabi!

Kohlrabi, which got it’s name from a German term for “cabbage-turnip,” is actually packed with nutrition. For just 50 calories, a whole [medium-sized] bulb provides 6 grams fiber, no fat/cholesterol, little carbs/sugar and a whopping 180% daily value for Vitamin C.

Fabulous! But how do you get all of that nutrition into your body? How to eat it?

First off, when in doubt at the farmer’s market, ask the farmers. They can always provide tips for how to use a fruit or vegetable. However, it’s good to do a little experimenting as well.

In my case, the farmer told me that I could either peel it and eat it raw (think jicama), or roast it. Now, I’m all about eating raw veggies, but I wanted to have a backup plan just in case.

FRITTERS! You can pretty much grate any veggie and turn it into a delicious fritter.

Kohlrabi & Yellow Squash Fritters

Side note:

  • You can sort of tell in the picture above (top left corner), but I was able to cook the kohlrabi leaves (tastes and looks like Swiss chard). I just rinsed them, cut them up and sauteed in olive oil and garlic. Yum! And I love being able to use the whole plant.
  • Raw kohlrabi: not as yum as I had hoped. It tastes sort of like a radish or the stem of broccoli (which is absolutely edible!). Would have been better with a little hummus or even with the Greek yogurt dip I used to top the fritters.

Kohlrabi & Yellow Squash Fritters:

Step one:

  • Wash & peel kohlrabi
  • Wash one yellow squash (you could also use zucchini) and cut off both ends (no need to peel)

Sadly, the kohlrabi is white underneath it’s skin

Step two:

  • Grate kohlrabi & yellow squash
  • Blot between paper towels to get rid of excess liquid (note: you’ll need a lot of paper towels)
  • Sprinkle with salt to help draw more moisture out

Grated kohlrabi & yellow squash. Would’ve been much easier with a food processor/grater attachment.

Step three:

Add:

  • 2 Tbsp almond meal (used this to lend a little sweetness, but you can certainly use bread crumbs or even flour)1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (+/- depending on your spice tolerance)
  • 1/2 tsp smoke paprika.

Step four:

  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet pan and also spray with cooking spray
  • Form patties (I made five out of my mixture)
  • Cook for ~3-4 minutes on each side. Be careful when flipping (use two spatulas) because they are very fragile.

Topping:

  • Nonfat Greek yogurt (1/2 cup)
  • Juice from jar of kalamata olives (2 tsp)
  • Mix them together. This was a super-simple way to make a tzatziki-like sauce!
  • Top with a kalamata olive and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

FARMER’S MARKET WTF: CONQUERED!

Get Sprouted

I have long been a fan of sprouted grains – specifically, sprouted grain bread. My absolute favorites are Trader Joe’s Sprouted 7-Grain and Whole Wheat breads (bags with purple and yellow design, respectively): 60 calories, 5 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber, all for one slice. That’s half the calories and carbs and double the protein and fiber of most slices of bread. Plus a delicious, almost cheesy taste. Sold!

Seriously this bread is great for everyone, but especially beneficial for diabetics (lower in carbs), those high blood pressure, cholesterol or heart disease (whole grains/fiber), those trying to lose weight (lower in calories) or athletes (protein). So, like I said, this bread is great for everyone.

Check out the nutrition facts/ingredient list (see caption for easier-to-read ingredient list):

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Ingredients: sprouted wheat grains, oats, rye, barley, corn, rice, millet, wheat flour, water, honey, vital wheat gluten, yeast, molasses, salt.

While I am clearly a big fan of sprouted grain bread, a recent discovery of “Sprouted Chick Pea Spread” from Tiny Greens at the Green City Market got me thinking about sprouted foods in general. The spread is similar to hummus but much thicker and with an almost whole-grainy taste (very technical term):

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Sprouted hummus from Tiny Greens Organic (Urbana, IL)

So what are the benefits of sprouted foods over regular, non-sprouted foods??

Well, sprouting is essentially allowing a seed (such as wheat) to germinate (i.e. sprout) rather than processing it before it reaches that point. Technology has made it easier for companies to sprout foods in large batches under controlled conditions (the proper amount of light, moisture and time), rather than letting it sprout in a haphazard manner out in the fields. Hence, we are starting to see many more sprouted foods at our grocery stores and farmers’ markets.

Sprouting breaks down some of the grain’s starch, making it easier to digest (great for those who may not do so well with high-fiber foods). Sprouting may also make certain nutrients, like protein, B vitamins, vitamin C, folate and fiber, more readily available. That means that your body can better absorb the vitamins and minerals and that sprouted foods have a higher nutrient content than non-sprouted varieties.

All of these are pluses in my book. Like I said earlier, I love, love, love Trader Joe’s sprouted grain breads, but Food for Life has an entire line of sprouted grain products (English muffins, buns, tortillas and a variety of breads including cinnamon raisin and low sodium). You can generally find a good variety of sprouted grain products at Whole Foods as well. And check out your local farmer’s market, which is where I found the sprouted hummus (Tiny Greens Organic). Tiny Greens also had a great sprouted grain tortilla. If you don’t find sprouted grains at the farmer’s market, you will surely find loads of other great, local, in-season foods.

For more information about sprouting, check out the Whole Grains Council website.