If you're thinking of healthy last-minute side dishes to make for holiday dinner, it's always a great idea to turn toward local and seasonal ingredients. In many parts of the U.S., hearty, leafy greens like kale, sweet potatoes and winter squashes are all in season around the holidays. Another holiday favorite is the Brussels sprout. While many of us hated these green balls of bitter with a passion during our childhoods, you've likely grown to love the slightly sweet and complex flavors of oven-roasted Brussels sprouts, which are very good for you as they're an excellent source of vitamin C. Also, these veggies are part of the brassica family, which includes cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, which are good sources of folate, vitamin K and fiber.
Here's a healthy, slaw-like Brussels sprouts salad that contains other wintry ingredients, making it a worthy side for just about any main dish:
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Pomegranate, Hazelnuts and Fennel
2 pounds Brussels sprouts (about 40 sprouts)
1 cup toasted, coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 small, thinly sliced fennel bulb
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
juice of one lemon
juice of one small orange
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallots
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Peel off the outer layers of the Brussels sprouts and rinse. Using a mandolin, shave them over a large mixing bowl into rounds and ribbons, occasionally going through and pulling out pieces that seem too thick.
Wash the fennel bulb and use the mandolin to cut it into small slices.
Set aside the fennel bulb and Brussels sprouts slaw.
Spread the hazelnuts in a parchment lined baking dish and bake them for about 15 minutes or until the skin blisters. Let the hazelnuts cool and rub them with a clean cloth to remove the skin. Coarsely chop them and add to the slaw along with the Pecorino Romano cheese.
In a separate bowl, juice the lemon and orange. Use a wire whisk to mix the juice continuously as you pour in a steady stream of olive oil.
Add the lemon zest, minced shallots and a healthy shake of salt and pepper to the dressing before mixing again.
Top the slaw with pomegranate seeds.
Pour dressing over and mix just before serving!
This recipe serves 12 to 15 people with generous portions.