Here are a few tasty side dishes with ingredients that normally take some persuasion on my part to get Gary to enjoy them….luckily, both of these were hits the minute they hit the table without much urging to enjoy on my part. As they say, anything is better with bacon, add a touch of brown sugar and a heap of roasted garlic to these brussels sprouts and you have a winner (trust, me…the sweet and savory aspect is incredible.)
I added just two small white potatoes to a huge head of cauliflower cooked in low-fat buttermilk to add a bit of starchy richness to the relatively low-carb veggie, and kept it low fat by using fat-free half and half, low at buttermilk, minced garlic, tons of freshly cracked pepper and just one teaspoon of butter to the whole dish. Both a delicious way to get your veggies in.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Brown Sugar
2 pounds brussels sprouts, cut in half and washed thoroughly
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 slices applewood smoked bacon
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar, to taste
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Fill a large soup pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the sprouts and cook for about 5 minutes, just to soften a touch. Drain and cool slightly. Meanwhile chop the bacon and cook over high heat in a saute pan until cooked through and crispy. Remove from the pan onto a paper towel lined plate to pat away excess oil. Add the sprouts to a large roasting pan with the garlic, bacon, red pepper flakes, about 2 tablespoons olive oil (just to coat), the lemon juice and vinegar and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir to coat. Then gently sprinkle the brown sugar over the whole pan. If the idea of eating brussels sprouts makes you want to run for the hills, go ahead and add both tablespoons – it will surprise you how much the sugar with the vinegar help the sprouts caramelize. If you area a fan of the sprouts and just looking for a new twist on them, just one tablespoon will do the trick to add just a touch of something new, sweet and savory all in one. Roast the sprouts, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes until cooked through and caramelized. Serve hot or cooled slightly to room temperature.
Cauliflower-Potato Puree with Rosemary
1 large head cauliflower, chopped
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large or 2 small white potatoes, peeled
2 stems rosemary + 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup fat-free half and half or cream
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
Add the cauliflower, potato, 2 cups buttermilk and 2 cups water to a large soup pot with the two stalks of rosemary and a good dash of pepper and salt. Simmer until the veggies are very soft, about 30-45 minutes. Drain the liquid, remove the rosemary stalks and add the veggies back to the pot with the half and half, clove of garlic, additional rosemary and butter over low heat. Using your immersion blender, or a regular food processor, pulse the vegetables until the form a silky puree. Add more half and half if necessary to create the consistency you like. Add any additional salt and pepper to your taste and serve warm with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction or as a bed for lamb roast covered with rich lamb jus.