3 Healthy Sides for Less Stuffed Stockings

| Friday, 19 December 2014 02:11

As the token vegetarian at just about every holiday party I’ve ever attended, it’s become an expectation that I’ll make a meal out of the bean salads and coleslaws that everyone else passes over. Thing is, a plate full of many small dishes can be an awesome meal – when none of those small dishes are mashed potatoes that your aunt-by-marriage has not so skillfully picked bacon out of. Whether you’re in the same boat as me, or are just looking for healthy sides to marry with your festive goose, find my three favourites below. No need to break banks, belt-buckles, or the faces of people who ask why you’re unsatisfied eating plain bread all night. Onward!


Brussels Sprout Salad with Coconut Bacon


  • 2 pounds of brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2.5 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1/3 dried cranberries

For the coconut bacon:

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp grape-seed oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar


To make the coconut bacon: Using nice big coconut flakes (to mimic crumbled, cooked bacon), cook in a small saucepan with grape-seed oil at medium heat. Stir frequently to find a nice brown toast, then add soy sauce and liquid smoke.Careful to avoid burn – the sugars will do this easily to the coconut. Cook, stirring, for about five minutes until crispy, remove from the heat, and sprinkle with brown sugar. If you want to crisp them up faster (or like bacon a bit black), throw them in the oven on low heat (250 or so) and toast carefully for a minute or two. Set bacon aside and top salad with it when ready to serve, to preserve crunchiness. 

To make the salad: Thinly shave the sprouts with a knife or mandolin, in to a large bowl for serving. Whisk together the lemon juice, dijon, maple syrup and olive oil, and top the shaved sprouts with it. Toss until well combined, sprinkling seeds and cranberries as you go. 

Thanks for the inspiration Food Fitness Fresh Air


2) Rosemary Sweet Potato Puffs


2 Large sweet potatoes

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Freshly grated nutmeg

2 Sheets Puff Pastry, thawed

2-3 Tablespoons Coconut Milk

Course salt

Rosemary sprigs (optional)



Begin by pre-heating your oven to 425 degrees. Peel and cube sweet potatoes in to one inch pieces. Toss with olive oil, and bake on a lined cookie sheet for 25 minutes, stirring and rotating the sheet halfway through baking. Once soft enough to pierce, but not mush, remove from oven, toss with brown sugar, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Let cool.

On a lightly floured surface, roll our puff pastry in to smooth sheets. It’s best to use them when they’re not frozen, but still cool. Place the potatoes on top of the dough, mapping out a grid in which you cut each puff out (think rows about 3/4 inch apart). Cover the potatoes with your second sheet of pastry, gently stretching it out to make they’re all blanketed in goodness. Then, use a pizza cutter to cut each puff out, like you might with a ravioli. Close the edges of each puff with a crimper, or fork. Put squares on a clean, covered baking sheet and brush with coconut milk (egg wash would work here, too).  Sprinkle with course salt and rosemary sprigs, and bake at 425 again for 20 minutes. Golden brown is what we’re looking for! Best served warm. 

Thanks for the inspiration The Miniature Moose


3) Crispy Quinoa Cakes 

1.5 cups cooked quinoa
2 tbsp ground flax + 6 tablespoons water (egg replacer)
1 cup kale, stems removed & finely chopped
1/2 cup rolled oats, ground into flour
1/2 cup finely grated sweet potato
1/4 cup finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp tahini
1.5 tsp dried oregano
1.5 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour


Start by preheating your oven to 400F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you’re using the egg replacer, mix ground flax with water and set aside for 5 minutes, until thickened. Then, simply combine all ingredients together in a huge bowl, adding flax mixture last. Stir until it comes together, adding a bit more flour if the mixture feels wet. Shape 1/4 cup of mix in to patties, being sure to pack tightly. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and bake another 10 minutes. Allow to cool before inhaling!


Sriracha Tahini Sauce

¼ cup tahini sauce

¼ cup hot water

2 tablespoon Sriracha

Juice from 1 lemon

1 tsp garlic powder 

Mix sauce ingredients together, adding water to thin or tahini to thicken. Spread on split mini pitas or slider buns.

Thanks for the inspiration Oh She Glows! 

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Cocktail weinies beware…we’ve hit the holiday mark in three easy dishes and there’s no turning back. From golden pastry, to red and green salad, we’ve covered all the comforts of Christmas and then some. All can eat, all can enjoy, and absolutely no one is going to say they’re too full for the dessert table. Right?

By: Eva Severed

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