Monday, November 23, 2009

Veggie Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

Roasting vegetables is a very healthy and delicious way to cook vegetables. It enhances the flavors of the vegetables without losing any of the nutrients. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, season with a little Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. You could also use some fresh or dried herbs, a squeeze of lemon, etc.

Roast Asparagus
Start by trimming the ends of a bunch of asparagus. The easiest way to do this is hold one at each of the ends and bend until it snaps, this will give you a good guide and then you can use a knife to cut the rest of the bunch at the same place.Lay the asparagus out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. You could squeeze a little fresh lemon on top. Bake the asparagus in a pre-heated oven at around 400 degrees. Cook for about 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks. At about halfway turn the asparagus.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts
I know most people don't like brussel sprouts, but that is probably because your mom used to boil the hell out of them until they were mushy and lacked all flavor. This is a much tastier wa of preparing them. Lay out the brussel sprouts on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil; season with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Bake for 30 minutes in a 400-degree oven.

Here is a more modern and healthier take on the traditional green bean casserole.
Green Beans with Carmelized Onions and Sliced Almonds
2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed and rinsed
1 yellow or sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large clove of garlic, chopped
1 small package of sliced almonds (can be found in the baking aisle of your grocer)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until caramelized, about 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile in another shallow pan with tight-fitting lid, add a couple of inches of water. Bring to a boil. Season well with a few good pinches of the salt. Add the green beans and put on the lid. Let steam for about 3-5 minutes. They should be bright green and still have some crunch. This maintains flavor and nutrients. Drain the green beans and shock them in a bowl of ice water. This allows the beans to maintain that great bright color. Once the onions are caramelized, add the garlic and almonds to the pan and let brown for just a minute. Then add the green beans and sauté to coat them in the oil and allow for the onions and almonds to distribute. Season well with pepper and a little more salt.

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