sprouts salad

February 7, 2011 § 12 Comments

Look, I made green things! Now, don’t be alarmed. Although this seems wildly out of character, this salad is in fact a perfect match for me because of two important characteristics: firstly, it is delicious; and secondly, it is highly fattening.

I went to a potluck recently where I was specifically requested to bring a salad-y thing, in an effort to avoid those standard potluck situations where everyone brings cookies and no one brings vegetables and then everyone feels sick after. I had trouble at first though, trying to think of a salad that seemed winter-appropriate. The ground is still covered in snow, I’m wearing three sweaters as I type this, and salad greens are not high on anyone’s list of things to eat.

Once I expanded my definition of the word salad, though, the options were endless. I roasted brussels sprouts at high heat, toasted spiced pecans, and threw in a handful of gruyère, making a hearty winter dish that is both filling and contains vegetables! It was at room temperature, so I declare it to be a salad. It also vanished pretty quickly at the potluck, so salad or not, it’s definitely worth making.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Spiced Pecans

The quantities are a bit approximate: aim for the sprouts/nuts/cheese ratio that will make you happiest. Also, this dish would be great served warm; just leave out the dressing.


    2 pounds brussels sprouts
    olive oil for drizzling
    pinch salt
    3 oz gruyère, diced
    1 1/2 cups pecans
    1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    1/4 teaspoon salt


    1/4 cup olive oil
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    pinch sugar

Preheat oven to 450°F and position rack in upper third of oven. Trim ends of brussel sprouts and cut in half. Toss with olive oil to coat, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, then arrange on baking sheet with cut sides down. Roast until browned and tender, 20-25 minutes.

Lower heat to 325°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Toss pecans with vegetable oil. In a small bowl, mix sugar, cayenne, and salt, then add to pecan mixture and toss to coat. Scatter on baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp, 10-15 minutes. Let cool completely.

For dressing: mix oil and vinegar with sugar to taste. In a large bowl, combine cooled sprouts, pecans, and gruyère. Add as much dressing as you like; there’s already oil on the nuts and sprouts so you may only need a little.


rainbow chard

April 18, 2010 § 5 Comments

I think the only reason I haven’t died of scurvy yet is the weekly produce market across the street from my office. It’s tempting to just eat cookies all day long, and the produce at the grocery store doesn’t make a compelling case for itself, but this market is a different story. There’s just a couple rows and the variety is limited, but everything is fresh and good and I always end up buying more than I can eat.

This recipe is from a few weeks ago, when I saw an irresistible bunch of rainbow chard. I’ve never seen such a gorgeous vegetable! I talked it up to everyone, although for some reason no one quite shared my enthusiasm for brightly coloured food. The vivid colours didn’t disappoint, though, as this also turned into an incredibly easy and very tasty vegetable dish. I braised the stems and leaves, along with sautéed onions and golden raisins, then sprinkled with toasted pine nuts. It’s a fantastic side dish that’s both delicious and healthy, which is rare for me, and the contrast of textures and sweetness of the raisins makes it a little more interesting than most preparations of chard, which I find can be a bit too virtuous. Sadly the startling colours didn’t persist in the final dish, but I ate it anyhow. And it was good.

Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts – adapted from Epicurious

  • 1 1/2 pounds Swiss chard (preferably rainbow or red; from 2 bunches)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

Tear chard leaves from stems, then coarsely chop stems and leaves separately.

Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium heat, and then sauté onion, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Add raisins and 1/2 cup water and simmer, covered, until stems are softened, about 3 minutes. Add chard leaves and remaining 1/2 cup water and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until leaves are tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve sprinkled with nuts.

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