Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes in Maple-Mustard-Balsamic Glaze

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(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:

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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.

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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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This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes in Maple Mustard Balsamic Glaze
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-Vl

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Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

When it comes to delicious crave-worthy foods, I’m a hoover and Jared is a hoarder.

Jared saves his favorite foods for when he really really wants them. I admire this in some ways, except that he tends to save them for so long they’re no longer edible by the time he decides to indulge. I’ve tossed out countless cupcakes or cookies that have gone bad while Jared was waiting for the perfect moment to eat them. If he’s not going to eat it before it sprouts eyes and a mohawk, he should at least release his dibs, right? His hoarding tortures me!

Though I will admit his patience comes in awfully handy as the husband to, well, me.

I grew up in a home with three hungry boys and when our mom went grocery shopping, we all immediately raided the refrigerator, battling it out for our favorite snacks. If you wanted that breakfast strudel, you grabbed it before it was gone; there were no guarantees it would still be waiting for you in the morning. Apparently, this is still engrained in my brain.

If something is delicious, I eat it all as soon as possible. Monday night I made these Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas for dinner. They were so good, I woke up the next morning thinking of them. So of course, instead of waiting for lunch or dinner, I ate the rest first thing in the morning (saving two for Mr. Patient’s dinner).

I couldn’t help it! Though the picture isn’t the greatest, these enchiladas are out of this world. The sweet and spicy homemade enchilada sauce with just a hint of cinnamon is like a warm hug wrapped around the always delicious combination of black beans and sweet potatoes. These are definitely going to become a go-to meal around here.

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Rachel’s Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

Serves 4

Ingredients

8 Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

Filling

1/2 large onion
1 bell pepper (any color but orange or yellow are nice in this dish)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped into chunks
olive oil
1 t. Salt
1 16oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed

Sauce

1 16oz can of whole peeled tomatoes (I’m sure crushed tomatoes would work too, but this is what I had on hand)
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1 t. oregano
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 t. brown sugar
1 t. red chili flakes
1 T. jarred salsa (or one chipotle in adobo sauce)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.

Bring water in a medium sauce pan to a boil and boil chopped sweet potatoes for five minutes, or until the potatoes are just barely fork tender. Drain.

While the potatoes are boiling, heat about 1 T. of olive oil on medium heat in a large saute pan. Add onions, bell pepper, and salt and cook until onions are translucent. Turn off heat and gently toss in the sweet potatoes and black beans.

In a blender or food processor, mix all of the sauce ingredients until the tomatoes are pureed and the spices are all blended.

Coat an 8×10 baking dish with 1 T. of olive oil, then ladle in a little enchilada sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the dish. Dip each tortilla into the enchilada sauce coating both sides. Add sweet potato filling and roll tightly into a tube. Place in the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat until all the tortillas and filling are used, packing the enchiladas into the dish side by side. Pour the rest of the sauce over the top.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve with Spanish rice (add a sprinkle of taco seasoning in with your rice while it’s cooking for a really quick & easy version) and avocado slices or guacamole.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/05/10/sweet-potato-black-bean-enchiladas/