Time seemed to fly away really quick this month. When everything and everybody is moving fast-forward around you, it’s almost impossible to keep your own rhythm. I like Christmas holidays, I love preparing goods and buying presents, but I don’t enjoy it much when it is all rushed. Planning ahead seems to be the only way to enjoy everything about holidays, especially the company of friends and family. After all, this is mostly what Christmas is all about – spending time with your closest friends and family, cooking a comforting dinner, and making quality memories.
In our house, Christmas dinners aren’t very much different from any other dinner. Whole, seasonal, and nourishing ingredients aren’t going to be replaced with refined ones just to obtain a beautiful-looking dish. You can celebrate in a simpler and more authentic way by using the natural splendor of fresh ingredients. Winter holidays are a celebration of a new beginning, and I can’t think of anything more beautiful than welcoming them with simple, fresh recipes that nourish our bodies and offer our cells their very own new beginning.
The steamed brussels sprouts with tangerine juice, pomegranate, and apple is my idea of a healthy side dish. If you choose to serve brussels sprouts at the Christmas table, be sure you only slightly cook them, because with overcooking, most of their nutritional value is lost. When their beautiful dark green color fades, it’s a sign that they have lost a considerable amount of nutrients. The best way of cooking them for preserving the nutritional load is steaming them for five to seven minutes or adding them raw to salads.
Like all their cruciferous relatives, brussels sprouts have detoxifying, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. They’re loaded with vitamins A, B6, C, K, folate, manganese, fiber, and potassium. This lovely miniature cabbage has a magic action for lowering cholesterol – their fiber binds with some bile acids, so these are flushed out; the liver replaces the lost bile acids from the cholesterol supplies so the cholesterol levels in the body drops down. Also, given their cancer-fighting properties and their reducing actions against chronic oxidative stress, brussels sprouts deserve to find a place on our plate more often.
Cooking them lightly maintains their crunchy texture, while pairing them with sweet citrus dressings enhance their delicate taste, making them delicious in a salad or side dish. I decided to go all-seasonal, so I made a tangerine dressing which had a discreet acidity. And when it comes to the colors, who said red and green on a Christmas table is cheesy?
- 2 lbs fresh brussels sprouts
- 4 tangerines, juice only (about 1 cup)
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, cut in thin slices
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 red apple, cut in thin slices
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the coconut oil In a cast-iron skillet; add the onions and garlic and fry over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tangerine juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir to combine, cover with a lid and let simmer for a five minutes, until the liquid starts to evaporates.
- Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Pull off the outer leaves of the brussels sprouts as these might have blemishes, cut off the brown ends, wash the sprouts with plenty of water, drain well and cut in half.
- Place them in a bamboo steamer (or a any other steamer available) over a large pot with boiling water and steam them for 6-8 minutes.
- Transfer into a large bowl, add the tangerine dressing, the pomegranate seeds and apple slices, and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately.