Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Artichoke Brussel Sprout Salad


Are you ready for cookout season? You can be the star of the table with this simple, fast, and deliciously healthy one-dish meal that is good hot or cold for any potluck. This recipe was the centerpiece of our recent block party table. A block party I forgot I had to bring food to until about forty minutes before it started! I had time to dash this together, get dressed, help the band run extension cords to our garage, and put on enough make up so that everyone thought I'd showered that day...

I'm just a huge fan of fresh meals. But when work and life are teetering more than balancing sometimes your cache of frozen fix-its in the deep freezer are your best friend. This is my favorite fake-it-fresh meal I've invented in months. Now, like every recipe I come up with, this is more of a friendly guide to a coterie of dishes that might arise from your experimentation with this basic concept. However, if you like to follow guides precisely, go right ahead! We got tons of compliments on this dish and I know you will, too!

Artichoke Brussel Sprout Salad


The Gist List: (if you have these things you can fake-it-fresh creating something very similar to our big hit)
Frozen Artichoke Hearts
Frozen Whole Brussel Sprouts
Cherry/Grape Tomatoes
Trader Joe's Goddess Dressing (or your own favorite dressing - discuss!*)

Pantry Staples: (the every day stuff I have on hand - substitute out for your version of these basics like olive oil, onion, salt & pepper, and basic spices)
EVOO (Spanish, Trader Joe's)
Fresh Garlic
Fresh Shallot
Fresh Lemon
French Thyme (Penzy's)
Himalayan Pink Salts (Trader Joe's)
White Pepper in Grinder (Trader Joe's)

Get Fancy List: (if you have these things you can go for that gourmet edge)
White Beans
OR
Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas)

and/or

Almonds OR
Sunflower Seeds (shelled)

Equipment List:
stoneware, terracotta or other large style casserole dish
OR
Foil for the Grill
AND
Scissors or Teeth (for opening the bags!)
Chef's Knife
Cutting Board
Microplane for zesting
Large serving spoon (with your name on it!)

Instructions or "What I Remember Doing":
Preheat the oven to 425 (or fire up the grill). In the large dish dump out bags of frozen artichokes and brussel sprouts. Add beans if you decide to go that route (it can be a meal center and not a side for vegan/vegetarians) Sprinkle finely diced fresh garlic and shallot thoroughly over the veggies. Drizzle with EVOO. Salt and Pepper and French thyme to taste. Zest half a lemon per two bags of veggies. Use a quarter to half a lemon to sprinkle lemon juice over frozen veg (making sure lemon seeds aren't a part of the meal!). Roast for 25-30 minutes until the sprouts are soft enough to eat and the artichokes are a little brown and curly on the edges. Its ok to stick your hand in there and pop one in your mouth after it cools a bit to see if its done. (If you are doing this on the grill transfer everything from the plate to a covered foil packet and grill for about 15-20 min.) Take a minute or two to halve the tomatoes. Set them aside. You can either throw them on top after the roasting is complete or you can toss them in for the last 5 min of the roast to get them all bursty and sweet. Don't overcook the tomatoes! The rawness of the tomatoes gives the dish a summery lightness that belies the heaviness of the sprouts. After removing the veggies from the heat add plenty of Goddess Dressing* and turn the veggies lightly to coat. I loved the light sprinkle of sunflower seed. It added just a bit of fancy nutty crunch without the nuts to keep the whole thing nut and dairy free for the block party.
Why, yes, it is vegan (Don't tell my husband...) and delicious!


I had enough time to toss together this lovely meal but, obviously, not to find shoes.

* Dressing Discussion:
Goddess dressing from Trader Joe's makes anything taste like you slaved over it and most people don't have it on stock in their house because it looks all touchy feely vegan. (Our Upstate NY upbringing came with an irrational fear of hippies and their commune ways. On Adult reflection I'd have made an amazing hippie.) This recipe would also work with an egregiously dairy laden dressing like Manelli's Blue Cheese. The secret is to balance the earthiness of the artichokes and sprouts with the bright acids in the lemon and tomatoes. Goddess dressing has an inherent balance of these two things, earthiness and bright acid. The Manelli's Blue Cheese would bring more of a deepness to the earthy flavor and you'd have to be a little careful with the lemon juice so it doesn't curdle it too much. I also think in theory this whole thing would be absolutely lovely with a regular ranch dressing. Though we will never try it in this house since I kinda hate ranch dressing.

What do you want to try it with?

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