Mar 022011
Sorry for my lack of posting this week–it has been a crazy one for me.  One of those weeks where it’s kind of like you’re watching your life from the outside, not sure it’s really happening.  But I’m here now, ready to share a vegan recipe with you.  I know a few wise vegans, one amazing girl in particular, who have opened my eyes to how healthy a vegan diet is.  While I’m not a vegan, and likely never will be (ML+ cheese = <3 forever), I do think we should all try to limit intake of animal products.  

This recipe could be a tasty side dish (sans tofu) or a complete meal (with tofu).  The ingredients and flavors are simple, but the combination is really delicious.  A little sweet from the maple syrup, apples, and lemon juice, a little savory from the garlic, toasted nuts, and brussel sprouts.  My new favorite method for cooking tofu is pressing out the water and roasting it in the oven on 450 so it dries out and gets crispy on the edges.  Plus it’s low maintenance because you can just put it in the oven and leave it alone (with the exception of one flip).  After it’s cooked, you can toss this tofu in any sauce or marinade and it will soak up the flavors.  

For this recipe from Heidi of 101cookbooks (awesome blog), I used apples soaked in lemon juice and water, shredded brussel sprouts, garlic, maple syrup, and olive oil.  Love a simple recipe. 

Nutritional Highlights:  This recipe is a vegan one, meaning there are no animal products used.  A vegan diet has been associated with lower risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.  When there’s so many factors of our lives and our health we cannot control, we should optimize the one we can–our diets.  With the tofu, this meal is high in protein and even without the tofu, as a side, this has the incredible benefits of cruciferous veggies (brussel sprouts), vitamins from the apple, and protein and healthy fat from the nuts.  

Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Apples

         adapted from 101cookbooks

1 large, crisp apple, cut into bite-sized wedges
1 lemon, juice only
4 ounces extra-firm tofu or already cooked tofu (optional)
a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
a couple splashes of olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
a scant tablespoon of maple syrup
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
12 ounces (3/4 pound). brussels sprouts, washed and cut into 1/8-inch wide ribbons
Soak the apples in a bowl filled with water and the juice of 3/4 of the lemon.
Cook the tofu in large hot skillet with a bit of salt and a splash of oil. Saute until golden, about 4 minutes. (Alternatively,  I roasted my tofu on a sprayed baking sheet for 30 minutes at 450, turning once).  Stir in the garlic, wait a few seconds, now stir in the maple syrup, and cook another 30 seconds or so. Drain the apples, and add them to the skillet, cooking for another minute. Scrape the apple and tofu mixture out onto a plate and set aside while you cook the brussels sprouts.
In the same pan, add a little more oil, another pinch of salt, and increase the heat up to medium-high. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the shredded brussels sprouts. (my addition: squeeze in the last quarter of the lemon).  Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring a couple times (but not too often) until you get some golden bits, and the rest of the sprouts are bright and delicious.  
Stir the apple mixture back into the skillet alongside the brussels sprouts 1/2 of the pine nuts – gently stir to combine. Remove from heat and enjoy immediately sprinkled with the remaining pine nuts (brussel sprouts aren’t as good when they sit around for a while!).