(Becky, the Mama.)
So what do you call someone who makes vegetables the “Star of the Show,” and doesn’t eat meat — but also doesn’t get nervous if a ham hock touches her pinto beans,or shrink back when a spoonful of beef gravy is ladled over her mashed potatoes, and sometimes considers “bacon” to be in a food group all its own?
I thought I might be alone in the sea of food-preference categories until, that is, I stumbled on the term “flexitarian.”
If this is a new term to you, as it was to me, here’s the basic scoop: A flexitarian diet is one that is plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat products.[In 2003, the American Dialect Society voted flexitarian as the year’s most useful word and defined it as “a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat” in 2012, the term was listed for the first time in the mainstream Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
I still enjoy cooking for the meat-eaters in my family, so I will continue to post recipes now and again that include beef, chicken or seafood and fish. However, my Daughter The Beautiful Healthy Vegan, has apparently influenced my food preferences over the year we’ve been writing this blog and our book together. It all began when I noticed that after experimenting with eating “Rachel’s way” when I visited her or she came to our home, my stomach would feel so nice and flat, even after eating a good-sized plate full of delicious food.
I made the decision to go 95% vegetarian for a month, after having been served two really horrible, dry, meat-based meals while on vacation. The thought of meat, at that time, began to nauseate me and it was freeing to just do away with it altogether. Turns out this was the easiest dietary change I’ve ever made. I found I was actually relieved to have an excuse to double up on the veggies and by-pass meat (or have just a bite or two if it really looks and sounds good).
One benefit of being a vegetarian is that you start to look at veggies in a whole new way. Since they will make up the bulk of your meal, you really want them to taste incredible, to come out of their former dull side-kick status and tap-dance into their own spotlight.
This dish, made of roasted Brussels Sprouts, sweet potatoes and almonds, then drizzled with a butter, maple, mustard and balsamic glaze, will steal the show away from just about any hunk of cow or chicken.. You could serve it as is, or over some pasta, gnocchi, brown rice or quinoa. The almonds can be left whole for extra crunch or chopped or slivered.. your preference. Toasted walnuts are be delicious. It is also yummy and a bit more filling with some sliced and browned Field Roast apple sage sausage (my favorite vegan meat substitute). To easily extend it to the meat eaters in your home, add a little crumbled brown Italian turkey sausage.
Most people are convinced by the growing research about cancer and heart-disease prevention, that they should eat more plant-based foods. What Rachel and I will try to do is make this “good-for-your-health edict” sound less like a punishment and more like a privilege by continuing to offer easy, mouth-watering recipes that you will be excited about making, serving, and eating! Just look at these veggies showing off as they take center stage:
Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes in Maple Mustard Balsamic Glaze
1 – 2 T. olive oil
1 lb fresh Brussels Sprouts, stems trimmed and cut in half
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cute in bite-size cubes
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
1/2 t. sea salt and 1/2 t. pepper
5 T. maple syrup
1 T. brown or Dijon mustard
1 T. butter
2 t. balsamic or red wine vinegar
1/3 cup almonds, toasted (May use whole almonds, chopped or sliced. May also substitute walnuts.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Squiggle olive oil over large baking pan or cookie sheet. Lay Brussels sprouts and sweet potato on the pain, along with garlic cloves. Toss all of this gently in the oil with your two clean hands, coating all sides of veggies. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let roast for 20-30 minutes, turning once during the middle of cooking, until the veggies are starting to turn brown in places, and caramelize.
Mash the roasted garlic with a fork and then gently toss it with the roasted veggies in a heat-proof serving bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat syrup, mustard and butter together and let boil and simmer until thickened a bit, like a glaze. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar. Pour over veggies and gently stir. Add more salt and pepper if needed, to taste. Garnish with toasted almonds.
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The Title: Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes in Maple Mustard Balsamic Glaze
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