Tag Archives: side dish

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts – Less Than 5

 

Brussels sprouts tend to be a polarizing vegetable. Love it or hate it.

I love it. Bet you didn’t see that coming. =)

That hasn’t always been the case. Tastes change over time, as most children don’t enjoy the taste of many vegetables, but as we grow and our palates expand, things we once found revolting become favorites.

Brussels sprouts are in the Brassicacea family, along with broccoli, cabbage, kale, and collard greens. They may have originated in Brussels, Belgium, where they may have earned their name. They contain high levels of vitamin C and K, B vitamins, trace minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber. They, along with other brassicas, contain a chemical called indole-3-carbinol, under study for its effects on DNA repair and apparent ability to block growth of cancer cells.

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Boiling used to be the only way brussels sprouts were prepared, and gave these beauties a bad name by boiling all the taste and life out of them . Better options for cooking to maximize texture and taste include steaming, frying, and my personal favorite, oven roasting.

Brussels sprouts are healthy and plentiful in the fall, making them an affordable option for side and main dishes. They tend to feature in Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Umami and salty flavors tend to go well with the slightly bitter taste of these sprouts.

This side dish is simple and quick, as well as healthy for you. It is hearty enough to be a main dish as well if you please.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil

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Step 1: Cut the ends off the Brussels sprouts and slice large ones in half. Thinly slice the red onion. Heat the oil in a frying pan.

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Step 2: Add the sprouts to the pan, and cook 4-5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and red onion, and cover. Let cook 5-7 minutes, until the onion and sprouts are tender.

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That’s all there is to it! Serve warm, on its own or as a side dish.

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The sprouts are tender yet still with a bit of crunch. The onions add a perfect sweet complement, and the balsamic coats everything in a sweet, slightly salty, and tart flavor.

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Balsamic Brussels Sprouts – Less Than 5

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts – Less Than 5

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Cut the ends off the sprouts and cut large ones in half. Slice the red onion thinly.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the sprouts. Cook 4-5 minutes, then add the onion and balsamic vinegar. Cover and cook another 5-7 minutes, until onion and sprouts are softened.
  3. Serve hot on its own or as a side dish.
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Ramen Broccoli Slaw

 

A quick search of the web brings up literally thousands of possibilities for using Ramen noodles. That classic salty cardboard noodle we all know and love can be elevated so far beyond fake chicken broth.

This Ramen Broccoli slaw is a delightful side dish for any reason. Take it to a picnic, a house party, the big game next Sunday, a birthday, a holiday celebration. It is tart yet sweet, borderline healthy (but I won’t tell if you won’t) and sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Best of all, it takes just a few minutes to whip together, so you can make it the day or a few hours ahead, stick it in the fridge, and forget about it until it’s time to run out the door or set the table.

Ingredients:

  •  1/2 bag or box broccoli slaw mix
    • You could make your own by shredding 1 head broccoli minus the crowns, and 1 large carrot
  • 1 pack Ramen noodles (save the seasoning for something else)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins or craisins
  • 1/4 cup diced strips red bell pepper
  • 1/2 bunch green onions

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Step 1: In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, oil, and vinegar together. Crush the Ramen noodles up a bit and put them in the bowl. Stir well to coat.

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Step 2: Add the broccoli slaw, pepper, green onion, and raisins. Mix well and refrigerate at least one hour and up to overnight. The longer you let it sit, the softer the noddles are.

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Step 3: Just before serving, toss in the chopped nuts. Obviously you can omit this if there are any nut allergies or you just don’t like them.

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Versatile and simple, this humble side is extremely cheap (depending on what you add into it) and not too bad health-wise. Of course you can use homemade cabbage slaw, or whatever other diced/shredded veggies you have on hand.

 

Mexican street corn

 

A trend that swept food magazines and websites for a while, I finally gave in and had to try Mexican street corn. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, this is a handheld side dish and/or snack comprised of cooked corn on the cob, mayonnaise, chili powder, and usually cotija (crumbly white cheese).

Very simple to make, it sounds unusual but I was pleasantly surprised. The sweet crispy corn mixes with the mayo and sharp chili powder spices in a cohesive taste. Try it and see how you like it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ears corn
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp crumbly cheese if you have it

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Step 1: Cook the corn with the husk still on it. There are a few options here. Boil for 15 minutes, soak in water for 1 hour then grill 15 minutes, or microwave 8-10 minutes. Yes, you can microwave the whole ear, and the husk will steam the kernels.

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Step 2: Carefully peel back the husk, leaving it attached. Corn will be hot. Smother it in the mayo, then sprinkle on the chili powder.

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You can then use the end of the corn and the husk to hold while you enjoy your ethnic portable snack!

 

Less than 5: Spanish Rice

This Less Than Five post will be the all-around qualifier: it takes less than 5 ingredients, less than $5, and less than 5 minutes (if you don’t count inactive cook time). 

When I have an idea for the main dish but need a quick side, rice is always my first thought. Rice is so versatile, you can put almost anything in it and it will taste great. And since I got my new rice cooker, I eat rice at least 3 days a week because it is so easy!

Even if you don’t have a rice cooker, rice is super simple to make. 

Stove top: Put 1/2 cup rice and 1 1/2 cup liquid in a pan, heat to boiling. You could use water, broth, tomato sauce, juice, whatever you want. Add any fresh or frozen vegetables too. Lower to simmer, and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and enjoy!
Microwave: Put 1/2 cup rice and 1 1/2 cup liquid in a microwave-safe bowl with plenty of room for the rice to boil. You could use water, broth, tomato sauce, juice, whatever you want. Add any fresh or frozen vegetables too. Microwave for 15-20 minutes on high, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Fluff and enjoy!

Now, for this spanish rice I cheated a little and used a boxed mix because it was on sale for $0.73. You could also use a tbsp chili powder and a small can of tomato sauce for about the same price and taste.

Rice: Bought on sale with spices included. = $0.73
Can of corn: On sale 2 for $1, one for $0.50. = $0.50
Can of diced tomatoes: Usual price is $0.69. = $0.69
Total: $1.92 for about 5 servings = $0.38 per serving!

Ingredients:
1 box Spanish Rice mix
(Or 1 cup rice, 1 small can tomato sauce, 1 tbsp chili powder)
1 can of corn
1 can of diced tomato
1 cup water

Step 1: Spray the rice pot lining, combine all ingredients. Don’t drain the corn or tomatoes, the juice adds extra flavor.

Step 2: Turn the rice cooker on and let cook for ~20 minutes. Or use one of the above cooking methods.

Step 3: Serve and enjoy. I made chicken legs to go with my rice. But this would be delightful in a taco or burrito, as a side to enchiladas, baked into a frittata, or on its own as a vegetarian meal.


What’s your favorite easy side dish?

 

Simple sauteed power greens

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One of the things I like best about growing up is changing tastes. When I was little, I had an on-off relationships with most vegetables, notably mushrooms. I loved them one week, and hated them the next. With growing up comes changing ideas of what tastes good, and I love it. I can be more creative, try different ingredients and recipes, and cook things that are good for me at which I would have turned up my nose years ago.
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One of those things is kale. Since I worked on a CSA farm and tried Kale Chips for the first time, I have been looking for more ways to use this power green more often. One excellent option is in soup, like the Olive Garden copycat of Zuppa Toscana I made. Delicious and packed with healthy ingredients.
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So as I had recently purchased more kale at Sprouts Farmers Market, along with some golden beets and fresh garlic heads, I decided to try another kale classic: Italian Sauteed Greens. I’m sure this is yet another popular side dish with a long and debated over past. But basically it’s garlic and olive oil with various greens sauteed lightly, and usually a tangy dressing like vinegar or lemon juice added. Also it is sometimes spicy, but since I’m a wuss I did not add hot peppers or hot pepper flakes. Feel free to if you love heartburn.
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Ingredients:
1 bunch kale, cut into small strips
1 bunch beet leaves, in small strips
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
2 tbsp good quality olive oil
1/4 cup sour liquid (I used banana pepper liquid and 3 tbsp lemon juice, you can also use any type of vinegar)
Sprinkle of sea salt
3-4 banana pepper or hot pepper rings

Step 1: Dice up your garlic into bits. You can use a garlic press or chopper if you want.

Step 2: Saute the garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil 4-5 minutes, you should be able to smell it.

Step 3: Cut the greens into thin strips. Add to the pan, and cover tightly. Let it steam in the garlic oil for 10-15 minutes, or until fully wilted.

These greens were so vibrant and lovely even before cooking! All that heart-healthy nutrient-packed deliciousness…

Step 4: Add your sour notes, lemon juice and banana peppers. Stir, cover, and saute another 5-10 minutes.

Banana pepper rings are a new love of mine. I put them on tuna sandwiches, on pizza, into my greens… they’re awesome. And lemon juice is a necessity for life.

Step 5: Once wilted and everything is combined, move to plate and garnish as you like.

I added a little sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese and some sea salt. It was the most perfect balance, and the tart juices took away a lot of the harsh bitterness most people don’t like about greens.

These greens were tangy and delicious, and if you enjoy spicy food would go great with some hot peppers.  I also had some cottage cheese on the side, to complete a whole, light lunch. It’s filling without feeling stuffed, and ridiculously good for you.

Mmmmmm…

What’s your favorite way to cook greens?

Easy side dish: Oven-Roasted Vegetables

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This is seriously one of the best side dishes ever! You can use literally any vegetable you have on hand, it takes only a few minutes, and it is super healthy AND tasty. I could eat oven-roasted veggies with every meal and not get tired of it.
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Ingredients:
1 baking potato, diced
1/2 onion, cut into strips
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 zucchini, diced
1/2 yellow squash, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
Nature’s Seasoning
Garlic salt
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Step 1: Dice up your veggies. This is the only work you have to do.
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Step 2: Coat your veggies in olive oil, put into an oven-safe pan.
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Step 3: Sprinkle with seasonings. Bake at 350 for ~20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.
You could use any kind of potato here, add broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, parsnips, bok choi, kale, mushrooms, eggplant, the list goes on and on. Enjoy!

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Mashed potato & cauliflower

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I have read about mashed cauliflower several times and never had tried it. Since my grocery store had cauliflower on sale this week, I decided to give it a go. Cauliflower has far less calories than potatoes, and aren’t starchy. So you can eat more of this when you mix half and half, and not feel guilty!
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Ingredients:
3 small potatoes
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tbsp butter or margarine
1/4 cup milk
Optional: 2-3 green onions
Garlic salt
Large pot of water
Salt
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Step 1: Put several cups of water on the stove to boil, adding salt to make it boil faster. Rinse and dice the potatoes (you can peel them if you don’t like the taste, but the peel is where most of the nutrients are so I left mine on.)  Cut up the cauliflower.
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Step 2: Boil the potatoes and cauliflower together for 10-15 minutes, until both are easily smashed with a fork.
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Step 3: Using a spoon or a mixer, mash the potatoes and cauliflower together. Level of smoothness vs. chunkiness is personal preference, I made mine pretty smooth. Mix in butter or margerine and milk. Add garlic salt to taste.
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Step 4: Optional – slice green onions thinly and add for crunch and flavor.

These taste almost exactly like simple potatoes, so if you don’t tell I won’t! 😉

 

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Slow Cooker Cheddar Broccoli Rice

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This is a super easy side dish, requiring only a few hours in a crock pot. It goes well with most anything. The end result is creamy, cheesy, and delicious.
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Ingredients:
1 cup rice
2 cups broccoli
1 full bag shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cup water

Step 1: Pour 1 cup rice into crock pot. Add 1 1/2 cups water.
Step 2: Add as much broccoli as you want, I put in about 2 cups pieces.
Step 3: Cover with shredded cheese.
Step 4: Cook on high 2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until rice is fully cooked and cheese is melted.

Makes about 5 cups, enough for 3-6 sides depending on what else is in the meal. You can cut down the amount of cheese here for less fat, or add in a can of cream of chicken soup for extra creaminess.

Kohl-slaw!

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I work on a CSA farm (http://www.facebook.com/schoonerfarms) and this week we harvested a TON of radishes, red, pink, and French breakfast, plus I got a spare kohlrabi. I’ve never had kohlrabi before, so I googled recipes, and found this gem on the goodbowl.com which makes a coleslaw from kohlrabi, turnips, and radishes. I still had some turnips left from 2 weeks ago too. I decided while making it to make it a little more colorful, so I threw in some carrot and cucumber too!
Slaw:
1 cup shredded kohlrabi
1/2 cup shredded radish
1/2 cup shredded turnip
1/3 cucumber, shredded
1/2 large carrot, shredded
Dressing:
1/4 cup miracle whip
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp mustard
pinch black pepper

Shredding the kohlrabi was a bit difficult, I did not know how stringy the interior was. Maybe mine was too young or too old, or I should have cooked it first?

Step 1: Put all shredded vegetables in a large bowl.

Step 2: Mix all ingredients of the dressing, and pour over veggies. Mix well. That’s it!

This makes about 4 small servings. Refrigerate before serving. The dressing is deliciously tangy, and it’s a good mix of textures. It only gets better as you let it sit. It would be a great side dish to take to a picnic or party, with fresh spring flavors. Very healthy, and vegetarian.

Bonus: My tomato plants that I’ve been growing in pots outside for months have produced their first tiny ripe tomatoes! They were amazing, and tasted like my childhood. =)

Picnic potato salad

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I have a picnic coming up this weekend, and I also am in the middle of a 2-week spending fast (meaning I can’t spend anything) so I had to come up with something that I already had all the ingredients to in my house. After asking friends for ideas and some searching on Allrecipes.com, I decided on potato salad.
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I personally don’t even like it much, but I’ve never made it and it seemed easy. Plus I had all the ingredients already. Once made, I tried it, and it was actually pretty darn good. Maybe it will change my mind about potato salads.

Ingredients:
about 5 cups peeled, diced potatoes
3 hard boiled eggs
1/3 c lemon juice
1/4 c oil
1 1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp ground mustard
1/2 c Miracle Whip
1/4 c Ranch
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 med onion, diced
1/2 c shredded carrot
1 tbsp salad seasoning

Step 2: Peel and dice the potatoes. Then boil them in a large pot while you dice up the rest of the vegetables. Once the potatoes are soft, drain. Mix all the liquids and spices in a large pot.

Step 2: Put the potatoes in with the Miracle Whip, Ranch, spices, etc and mix well to coat. Add the other diced vegetables and the diced hard boiled eggs. Mix well.

Step 3: Put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Hopefully everyone at the picnic will like it!

Finished product.