Greening Your Holiday Table

As I looked out over the bounteous spread at Thanksgiving this year, I saw all the colors of fall and winter: red, orange, yellow, brown, and white. But there was a distinct lack of green.

Oh, OK, there was a green bean dish on the table, but it was the baked one topped with fried onions, and we can all agree that it doesn't count as a green vegetable, right?

The turkey and all the starches were delicious, but they weighed heavily in my stomach. For December's holiday gatherings, I wanted to put some green on the table, to add color, vitamins, and fiber.

When I tested the first recipe, for roasted Brussels sprouts, my sprouts ended up a little more brown than green in color. I had small sprouts, and left them in a little long. If you're a more attentive roaster than I was, you'll end up with a greener dish than I did.

The second recipe, for a Red and Green Salad, is gloriously green with beautiful red and white accents. I used baby spinach from Wisconsin and red-leaf lettuce from Labore Farms in Faribault, Minnesota. Their pesticide- and chemical-free greens are a staple in our house year round.

If you serve these dishes in addition to, or better yet, instead of, the staple holiday starches, you'll have a more balanced table with dishes that look good, taste good, and are good for you. Happy holidays!


Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts
(serves 8)


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved through core if large
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and syrup together in microwave. Toss Brussels sprouts, butter mixture, vinegar, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Roast in rimmed baking sheet until golden brown, shaking pan every 10 minutes, for a total of about 30 minutes, depending on the size of your sprouts. Serve.


Red and Green Salad
(serves 8)

For the dressing:

1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 small minced garlic clove

For the salad:

Optional: 2 small red onions
1 head red leaf lettuce
1 head green leaf lettuce, or 6 cups spinach leaves
1 ripe pear, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/3 cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries


1. To roast onion, preheat oven to 400 degreens. Cut onions into quarters. On rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 20 to 25 minutes or until soft and beginning to brown, turning wedges halfway through. Cool.

2. Measure dressing ingredients into jar. Shake to blend.

3. Clean and tear lettuce into bite-size pieces. Toss with 1/4 cup dressing. Divide among plates.

4. Top with goat cheese, almonds, cranberries and onion, if using. Pass remaining dressing.



Kristin Boldon is a frequent contributor for Simple Good and Tasty, who also writes for the Eastside Food Cooperative's newsletter on health and wellness, Minnesota Monthly's food blog Dara & Co., and for her own blog Girl Detective. Her last post for us was "Turkey Leftovers? A One-Dish Wonder."