Cooking with seasonal ingredients is a great way to maximize the flavor and freshness of any meal, any time of the year. It is also a smart way to fuel your body and make sure your family gets a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients all year round.
Right now, Brussels sprouts and pumpkin are in season which makes me very happy since they are two of my favorite ingredients.
Let’s begin with Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Dijon Vinaigrette. Before you look the other way, I urge you to give this recipe a try even if you don’t think you are a fan of this cabbage-family relative. Roasting the Brussels sprouts allows the natural sugars to caramelize and creates a deep, nutty flavor. You can always eat them simply roasted but I love taking it one step further and tossing them in a bacon Dijon vinaigrette.
To start, toss the halved Brussels in olive oil, salt and pepper before placing in the oven. While they are roasting, begin working on the bacon dijon vinaigrette. I love using my KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series 5-Speed Cordless Hand Blender whisk attachment to create a perfectly emulsified vinaigrette in just seconds.
Once the Brussels come out of the oven, simply toss them in the vinaigrette and add the crisp bacon. The spicy Dijon mustard, sweet maple syrup and smoky bacon provides the perfect balance to the earthy flavor of the roasted Brussels. In fact, I’m confident this dish will turn your entire family into Brussels lovers!
For a little something on the sweeter side, let’s move on to Whole Wheat Pumpkin Walnut Bread. The holidays can be a very indulgent time of year which is why I love having a few healthier options on hand for a quick breakfast or travel snack. Pure pumpkin adds great texture and moisture to any baked good without any fat and very little calories.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. I love using whole wheat pastry flour for baking because it contains a good dose of protein and fiber but isn’t as dense as 100% whole wheat flour. You’ll find a good amount of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in this recipe to really maximize that pumpkin flavor we crave this time of year.
Once you’ve whisked together the wet ingredients using your KitchenAid® stand mixer you will slowly incorporate the dry ingredients until the batter forms. Now it’s time to chop the walnuts which just takes seconds thanks to the Cordless Hand Blender’s 2 1/2 cup chopper attachment with lid. My favorite aspect of this appliance is how uniform in size the walnuts turn out.
For even more flavor and texture, sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chopped nuts on top of the batter before placing in the oven. As the bread bakes, the walnuts will toast and brown creating a deep, aromatic flavor.
This bread can be frozen for up to three months in advance or stored in an air-tight container for up to two days before serving.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Dijon Vinaigrette
8 cups Brussels sprouts, stem trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Bacon Dijon Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1/4 cup chopped parsley – garnish
For the Bacon Dijon Vinaigrette
6 slices bacon, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 clove minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with foil. Cut larger Brussels sprouts into quarters and halve the smaller ones. Place in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper; toss well to coat.
Scatter Brussels on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until nicely browned, tossing once at the 15 minute mark.
While Brussels are baking, begin preparing Bacon Dijon Vinaigrette. Start by cooking bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside to drain on plate lined with paper towel.
In a small bowl, combine all remaining vinaigrette ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon, maple syrup and minced garlic. Using the KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series 5-Speed Cordless Hand Blender whisk attachment, emulsify vinaigrette until smooth and creamy.
Remove roasted Brussels sprouts from the pan and place in a large bowl. Toss well with vinaigrette and add cooked bacon. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.
Note: Dish can be served warm or room temperature. Vinaigrette can be made up to 2 days in advance. Add cooked bacon before serving.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Walnut Bread
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup coconut oil – room temperature
1 cup pure pumpkin
1 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts – divided
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and position rack in the center of the oven. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 9” x 5” loaf pan. Be sure to remove any excess flour.
In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: whole wheat pastry flour through ground cloves; set aside.
Using a KitchenAid® stand mixer, beat together coconut oil, pumpkin and plain yogurt on medium speed until fully blended. Add in eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla.
With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated, careful not to over mix.
Using the Cordless Hand Blender’s 2 1/2 cup chopper attachment with lid, chop the walnuts until they are bite-sized. Add 3/4 of the chopped walnuts to the batter and mix until incorporated.
Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool completely on rack before slicing. Bread can be stored in an air-tight container for up to two days.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*