Mar 292016
 

After a friend’s bachelorette party in Austin (read: bbq and booze) and a few too many chocolate Easter Eggs (OK, it was a lot of eggs), my body was desperate for something green. And it doesn’t get much greener than these Cucumber Sesame Noodles with Scallions, Asparagus, and Edamame.
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This dish makes the perfect side dish or vegetarian main. I personally think it’s easier than traditional sesame noodles since there’s no cooking/noodle boiling involved. The sauce is creamy, spicy, garlicy, slightly sweet, and seriously addictive. You can add any vegetables and/or protein you want to this dish, but I kept it light, simple, and springy with raw asparagus, scallions, and edamame.
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Nutritional Highlights: By replacing noodles with spiralized cucumber, this dish has far less calories than the the traditional version. Plus, it’s gluten free (if you replace the soy with tamari) and vegan! The creamy nut butter sauce (tahini, peanut butter, or almond butter all work) has protein and healthy fat to keep you full, plus the additional edamame adds extra protein. And although cucumber is super low cal due to the fact that it’s mostly water, it’s not necessarily the most nutrient packed vegetable, so I added asparagus which is packed with vitamin K, folate, copper and tons of other vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that contribute to it’s antioxidant properties. If asparagus isn’t your thing, try some chopped broccoli, shredded carrots, snap peas, green beans, shaved brussel sprouts, diced avocado…really all vegetables are welcome here. Looking to bump up the protein? Serve with a piece of grilled salmon, tofu, a few grilled shrimp, or anything you like!
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Cucumber Sesame Noodles with Asparagus, Edamame, & Scallions
Serves 3-4 as a side, 2 as a meal
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What’s in it:
The sauce:
1 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons tahini, creamy peanut or almond butter
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger (I use a microplane)
1 teaspoons finely minced or grated garlic (I use a microplane)
1 tablespoon sriracha (less if you’re not into spicy)

For the “noodles”
2 large English cucumbers, spiralized into thin noodles
4 scallions, diced (set a few aside for garnish)
1 1/2 cup one inch asparagus pieces*
1/2 cup edamame
1 tablespoon white and/or black sesame seeds

*If your asparagus is thin, simply cut into 1 inch pieces. If it’s thick, cut them lengthwise and then into 1 inch pieces since I used them raw. If you don’t like raw asparagus, substitute green beans, snap peas, grated carrots, small broccoli florets, or any other veggies.

How to make it:
1. In a bowl, whisk the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, tahini/peanut or almond butter, honey, ginger, garlic and sriracha. Set aside.
2. Prepare all your veggies by spiralizing your cucumbers and chopping the other veggies.
3. In a large bowl, toss the “noodles” and vegetables with the sesame sauce.
4. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions and enjoy!
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This will put your greasy take-out noodles to shame!
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Feb 062016
 

Super bowl, meet super food. I know I know, the first thing that comes to mind on game day is not usually cruciferous veggies, but give it a chance. These buffalo cauliflower bites (which are gluten free and vegan I might add) may be my new favorite sports snack.
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Not only do these rival the the best wings out there, they are also super easy to make, with only about 5 ingredients and a half hour in the kitchen.
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You can use any color cauliflower, but when I saw an orange one at Trader Joe’s this week I knew it was fate. Check out this beaut.
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Nutritional highlights: We all know super bowl is typically a pretty epically bad day for our diets, and Americans consume even more calories than on Thanksgiving! Wings, which are on most super bowl spreads, are deep fried, covered in a buttery hot sauce, and you end up eating 1% meat and 99% greasy skin. This substitute is incredibly healthy, and showcases one of my all time favorite veggies. Cauliflower is packed with vitamins (C, K, folate, B5, and B6), fiber, and is is super low cal. This recipe has a very thin batter made of just water and chickpea flour, and then a light coating of hot sauce mixed with a *tiny* bit of butter or oil (because you have to live a little).
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The blue cheese dip I used was store bought, but you could easily make a greek yogurt based blue cheese dip to save even more calories. Serving along with the traditional carrot and celery garnish gets you even more veggie points. Everyone wins. Well, except the team that doesn’t. But who’s really watching the game anyway?
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Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
makes about 40 “bites”
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What’s in it:
1 medium head cauliflower, broken or chopped into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour (or any flour you have)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon honey (optional, if you like a slightly sweet wing)
1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil if you want it to be vegan)
2/3 cup hot sauce

How to make them:
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, water, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and salt. Whisk together until the mixture is smooth.
3. Toss cauliflower pieces in the batter until each piece has a light, even coating. Spread the battered cauliflower on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray or oil. Roast for 10 minutes.
4. While they cauliflower is cooking, combine the hot sauce, butter, and optional honey and microwave for 30 seconds.
5. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and dip each piece in the hot sauce mixture, and place back onto the baking sheet, flipping each piece in the process. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until cauliflower is browned and crispy.
6. Serve with blue cheese or yogurt dip, carrots, and celery.
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Enjoy!
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Jan 312016
 

People everywhere are predicting the big food trends that are coming in 2016. Things like poke, matcha, and acai bowls (or anything in a bowl for that matter) are definitely coming atcha this year. Another trend I’m particularly excited about? Breakfast salads.
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I have to say it’s pretty brilliant. Why should salads be restricted to lunch and dinner? Why not start getting those greens in first thing? Nobody puts baby in the corner. Breakfast salads are here and there’s no end to the possibilities. Whether it’s a savory version with a fried egg on top or a sweet version like this one–with grapefruit, ricotta, almonds, chia seeds, and honey–breakfast salads are the perfect quick healthy way to start your day.
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Nutrition Highlights: They say it’s the most important meal of the day, but breakfast can very quickly veer off the nutrition. The truth is most quick and easy options–like bagels, pastries, cheesy-bacony sandwiches and even many granola bars, yogurts and oatmeals–can be packed with added sugar and fat, and lacking in any real fiber or protein to get you going. A breakfast salad is the perfect way to make sure you’re getting a little bit of everything you need–fiber and vitamins/minerals from the greens and fruit, protein, fiber, and healthy fat from the nuts and seeds, and protein and calcium from the ricotta (or greek yogurt). The honey here is definitely optional and I would might omit it if I was using a sweeter fruit (like a pear), but with the tart grapefruit a tiny drizzle was perfect.
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Perfect Breakfast Salad Equation!
(a non-recipe recipe)
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What’s in it:
GREENZ- 2 cups (like arugula, kale, mixed greens)
FRUIT – 1/2 cup (like grapefruit, berries, mango, melon, apples, grapes, pears, pomegranate seeds)
NUTS- 1-2 tablespoons chopped, bonus flavor points for toasted (like almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecans)
SEEDY THINGS- 1 tablespoon (like chia, flax, amaranth, sprouted buckwheat, sprouted millet, quinoa, hemp seed)
DAIRY – 1/4 cup (like ricotta, greek yogurt, or cottage cheese)
DRIZZLE – Tiny drizzle of olive oil and/or honey and a sprinkle of salt
Other fun options – 1/4 avocado, 1/4 cup whole grains (like cooked quinoa or farro), 1/4 cup cooked beets, anything else you can think of!

How to make it: Literally mix those things together and eat –> Breakfast of champions. Go.
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Jan 102016
 

Resolution season is upon us–the gym is more crowded and the produce section is more picked over. While I’m not usually a New Years resolution fan (why are we waiting for January 1st, people?), I can get on board with cleaning up our diets a little, especially after the eating spree that tends to occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas (guilty). If you’re going to make one resolution this year, make it to eat more food that looks like this: mostly plant-based and exploding with color (and not the kind you find in sour patch kids, sorry).
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The best part about this recipe is that it only takes about an hour to make and leaves you with 15 falafel, enough for 5 meals, so you lunches (or dinners) for the whole week are set. They may be cute and little but they have a HUGE amount of flavor and nutrition.
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Nutrition Highlights: This recipe is vegan and gluten free but still packed with protein and fiber and is seriously filling. Here are a few of the key players:
-Chickpeas: high in fiber and protein so they keep you full and keep things moving along (if you know what I mean).
– Butternut Squash: get it’s bright orange color from carotenoids which turns into vitamin A in the body and helps support vision, immunity, and controlling inflammation. It’s also very high in fiber which helps keep blood sugar in check.
– Oats: Instead of flour, this recipe uses whole grain rolled oats to bind everything together, which are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber and may help with heart health and blood sugar control.
– Turmeric: SO hot right now. I’m not ready to jump on the crazy turmeric supplement train, but it does appear to have some pretty powerful anti-inflammatory effects (and thus may help with arthritis, IBD, cancer, and other inflammatory conditions), so I’m not against sprinkling a little bit more in our food.
– Hemp seeds: OK, it’s another trendy one, but for a reason! It’s super high in protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and several minerals. Plus they’re nutty and tasty and crunchy…all good things.
And although I could go on for days about the benefits of each nutrient in these foods, the best part is they’re all real foods with nothing processed. Go plants!
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Butternut Squash, Turmeric & Hemp Seed Falafel
makes about 15 falafel (5, 3 ball servings)
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What’s in it:
– 1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried well (*you can also soak 1 cup of dried chickpeas in water overnight)
– 2 cups cubed butternut squash
– 1/2 onion
– 3 cloves garlic
– 1/2 cup fresh herbs, looseley packed and roughly chopped (I used half cilantro and half parsley)
– 3/4 cups rolled oats, divided
– 3 tablespoons hemp seed, plus extra for sprinkling
– 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
– 1/2 teaspoon cumin
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne (adjusted to you preference)

How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Put the butternut squash in a microwave safe bowl and cover (allowing a slight opening of steam to escape) with a microwave safe lid or plastic wrap. Microwave for 5 minutes to soften the squash. **Alternately you could use leftover roasted/mashed squash or frozen pureed butternut squash.
3. While the squash is cooking, put half the rolled oats into the food processor or blender and blend into flour. Pour back in with the rest of the non blended oats and set aside for now.
4. Put the onion and garlic into the blender and pulse until finely chopped. Add the chickpeas, butternut squash, and spices (turmeric, cumin, salt, red pepper) and blend until well combined. Add the herbs and pulse so they get chopped up but not totally blended so the falafel stays yellow rather than green (for aesthetic purposes only).
5. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and mix in the oats and hemp seeds. If the mixture is warm (from the squash), put in the freezer for a bit so it gets cold and is easier to form into balls.
6. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray. Form the falafel mixture into golf ball sized balls (about 15). Spray the tops with olive oil, sprinkle with a few hemp seeds, flip and repeat with the other side.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, flip the falafel and bake for another 10 minutes or until they falafel are slightly browned.
8. Enjoy falafel in a big salad bowl with lots of veggies like this one (mine has beets, carrots, broccoli, cilantro, pita chips and a drizzle of tahini) or in whole wheat pita or just straight up. Really you can’t go wrong.
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I think this is what they meant by taste the rainbow, right?
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Dec 132015
 

Growing up in a half-Jewish home, Hannukah meant a lot of things to me. It meant lighting the menorah (which sat on our mantle above our hanging stockings) every night and placing bets on which candle would last the longest. It also meant underwear night, which was the night that instead of cool gifts, we got new underwear (don’t ask). And of course, it meant good food with a great family–including latkes. With one night of Hannukah left, it’s not too late to get in your latke fill. This version has some extra veggies, extra color, and some upgraded toppings.
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This grown up version version is made with butternut squash and beets in addition to the standard potatoes and onions which make them healthier, tastier, and prettier all at once. The topping are just as important as the base, and I served mine with some homemade chunky apple sauce or with a yogurt-chive sauce and smoked salmon. I liked them, a lat…ke.
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The one issue I have had with latkes in the past is the pain of grating all the veggies. This year I enlisted my new spiralizer and spiralized all the veggies using the thinnest blade. Not only was this much easier, but it also made gorgeous spirals that added a cool shape to the latkes.
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Nutrition highlights: These latkes are way healthier than your average latkes with added phytochemicals, antioxdiants, and fiber from the beets and butternut squash. They also get a little protein from the eggs that bind them together. By making my own apple sauce, I could make sure it didn’t have too much added sugar, and instead of sour cream, I made a creamy sauce with fat free greek yogurt. Although I still pan friend mine, you could also bake these instead for a lower fat version.
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Beet, Butternut Squash & Potato Latkes
makes 15-20 small latkes
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What’s in them:
1 medium russet potato, peeled
2 medium beets, peeled
Approximately 1/3 butternut squash, peeled*
1 small or medium onion
2 large eggs, egg
1/3 cup whole wheat or regular flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus a little extra for sprinkling over the cooked latkes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil (I used sunflower seed oil) for pan frying
Optional toppings:
– homemade or store bought apple sauce
– chive-yogurt sauce or low fat sour-cream with or without smoked salmon

For the chive-yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
To make it: combine all the ingredients, stir, taste, and season to taste.

For the apple sauce:
2-3 apples, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
To make it: Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until apples are very soft. Taste and add additional sugar/spices to your tastes. For chunky sauce, just smush the apples a bit with your spoon as they cook. For a smooth sauce, run through the blender or food processor.

How to make them:
1. Shred all the vegetables using a box grater or thinnest spiralizer blade. If using a spiralizer, run a knife through the spiralized veggies a few times so the strands are not too long.
2. Wrap veggies in paper towels and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Careful with the beets…those guys stain like woah.
3. Combine the veggies, egg, flour, salt/pepper and stir until well combined. Note, everything will look pretty red at this point, that’s ok.
4. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium-high, once hot add 1 tablespoon of oil. Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of mixture into the pan per latke, making sure you leave enough room for flipping. Flatten mounds slightly while they cook. After 2-3 minutes or when golden brown, flip the latkes and cook the reverse side for another 2-3 minutes.
5. Transfer cooked latkes to a paper-towel lined wire rack or plate to cool.
6. Add another tablespoon of oil per batch and continue until all your latkes are cooked.
7. Serve with your choice of toppings (I did half apple sauce, half chive-yogurt with smoked salmon). Enjoy!

*Note: you want to have approximately equal amounts of potato, beets, and butternut squash so you can adjust the amount you use of each based on the size of your veggies
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Nov 272015
 

Thursday November 26th, 8:27 pm: “I will never ever eat again.”
Friday November 27th, 9:02 am: “I’m starving, where is the pie?”

It happens to all of us: After feeling more stuffed Thanksgiving night than the bird in the middle of the table, somehow we wake up the next morning even more ravenous than usual. May it’s the sugar hangover. Maybe it’s the regular hangover. Or maybe it’s the fact that we know there’s a fridge full of leftovers that have somehow become even more delicious overnight. To combat those pie craving and get back on track, I made this hearty Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with stone ground oats, quinoa, and tons of healthy toppings. Let the leftovers wait until lunch time.
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Homemade oatmeal is nothing like that stuff in the packets. By cooking it on the stove or in the crockpot with lots of spices (and in this case, a whole can of pumpkin), the flavor and texture are so much better than that instant stuff. And even though it’s not “instant”, it’s still pretty darn quick and can be done in 30 minutes on the stove (or overnight in the crockpot if you’re more a set it and forget it kind of person). The other secret to oatmeal nirvana is an amazing array of toppings–nuts, seeds, fruit, you name it. The world is your…bowl of oatmeal?
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Nutrition highlights: In this recipe, I mixed two different grains (well one is technically a seed) to maximize nutrition. The steel cut oats provide complex carbohydrates and tons of fiber while the quinoa provide a complete source of protein, even more fiber, and lots of vitamins and minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron and folate among others. The can of pureed pumpkin (the unsweetened stuff!) adds more than just amazing flavor, it also is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and beta carotene. This recipe has virtually no added sugar but can be adjusted to your taste. The toppings can be incredibly healthy as well, with protein, healthy fats, and fiber from things like chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, toasted pecans, or coconut. The best part about this is it’s will keep you seriously full until lunch time (but not in a unbutton your pants kind of way).
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Pumpkin Spice Quinoa Oatmeal Bowls
Makes 4-6 servings
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What’s in it:
1 cup steal cut oats
1/2 cup quinoa (any color is fine), rinsed
1 14.5 oz can pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (admit for no sugar added, add more if you like a sweeter oatmeal)
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any other milk you like)
Topping options (any combination of your favorites): pomegranate seeds, chopped apples or pears, chia seeds, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, toasted or candied pecans, slivered almonds, roasted coconut chips, (brown sugar or maple syrup if you have a sweet tooth).

Step -1. I skipped this part due to laziness, but many recipes recommend toasting oats/quinoa in a skillet with a little bit of coconut oil for 1-2 minutes prior to making the oatmeal.
1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan on the stovetop.
2. Once boiling, add the quinoa and steel cut oats, turn heat down to low/medium and let simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in pureed pumpkin and spices and simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
3. Add the almond milk and maple syrup and turn off the heat.
4. Serve with a little additional almond milk if you like a looser oatmeal. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

*If you prefer to use the slow cooker, combine all the ingredients and cook on low for ~6 hours.
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Oct 042015
 

It’s very simple: I love brussel sprouts. I also love tacos. I’m actually pretty disappointed in myself that I didn’t think to put the two together sooner. I can’t take credit for the idea, either–I stole the concept from an amazing dish I had at Dirt Candy, a magical mecca for the trendy, vegetable-loving New Yorker. I might be biased (ok, I’m definitely biased) but I think I may like this version even more.
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As fancy as it looks, this dish only took about 20 minutes to make from start to finish. Here’s how it works–you saute thinly sliced sprouts with garlic and shallots until it’s just the perfect amount of charred, and you add some black beans. You fill some warm corn tortillas and top with cilantro, and, wait for it…pomegranate seeds and goat cheese. I know those last two ingredients sound weird, but they truly make the dish. Just try it and you will thank me.
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Nutritional highlights: This is probably the first of many b.sprout recipes you’ll see from me this fall, and it’s 50% because they’re delicious, 50% because they’re crazy healthy. Brussel sprouts (and their cruciferous friends) have been associated with decreasing inflammation in the body, acting as an antioxidant, and helping the liver out with the detoxification process (because of glucosinolates found in the sprouts), all of which may help prevent cancer. If that’s not enough, they are also packed with vitamin K, C, folate, fiber and about 20+ other vitamins and minerals. Need I go on? I hate to say it but your mom was right–you should eat your brussel sprouts. This recipe adds another powerhouse, the black bean, to give fiber and protein to make this a well rounded, filling vegetarian meal.
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Another general tip for your taco making adventures–go with corn tortillas rather than flour, since they have about half the calories, a little more fiber, and a lot more flavor (in my humble opinion)! They can crack easily if they get dried out, so I like to spray both sides with olive oil spray and quickly heat them up in a skillet or grill pan to soften them up.
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Brussel Sprout-Black Bean Tacos with Goat Cheese & Pomegranate
Makes about 8 tacos (3-4 servings)
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What’s in them:
3 cups brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
Juice from 1 lime
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
8 corn tortillas
Optional: your favorite hot sauce (my green jalapeno hot sauce went great with these)

How to make them:
1. Prepare all your ingredients and toppings. Heat a cast iron skillet (or another heavy skillet) over medium-high heat. Once it’s very hot, add the olive oil, shallots and garlic, and saute for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the brussel sprouts and sautee for about 5-7 minutes. Stir only occasionally so the sprouts have time to get a nice little char going.
2. Add the black beans and season with the chili powder, salt, and lime juice. Saute for another 2 minutes, taste and add additional seasoning as needed.
3. Heat your corn tortillas on a grill pan, griddle, or in the microwave. Fill the tortillas with a generous scoop of the brussel-bean mixture and top with cilantro leaves, pomegranate seeds, and goat cheese. Drizzle with hot sauce (if using) and enjoy!
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So grab a sweater, put on a scarf and pick up some brussel sprouts. Fall is officially here, and I’m not mad about it.
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Also, I’m planning on upping my instagram game–follow me at cooktush for all my newest photos and recipes!