27 April 2013

Grilled Brussels Sprouts & Strawberry Salad

I am a huge fan of a hearty, healthy lunch of fresh fruits and veggies.  On a lazy Saturday, it's the perfect recovery meal after a decadent breakfast of sugary carbs, evening out the playing field before dinner rolls around.  During the week, it receives envious stares from co-workers as they attempt to microwave life into their frozen entrees.  This is one of those dishes that fill you up (not out) and leave you feeling completely satisfied.  Easy to make for a quick bite or pack in a picnic basket, Grilled Bussels Sprouts and Strawberries is a winner of a combo.

 My brothers always told me growing up that the reason I had freckles was because I ate so many strawberries.  Has anyone else ever heard that?  In my five-year-old mind, the logic of big brothers was irrefutable, and therefore cemented in fact.  As an adult I now question their scientific method,  but laugh at this wonderful memory of childhood.  Every time I pop one of these juicy red beauties into my mouth, I am reminded of how very gullible I use to be.  If their their statement was intended to be a deterrent, it certainly didn't succeed.

Now if you've nosed around my little blog at all in the past, it is evident that I am a fan of brussels sprouts.  The distinctive, potent flavor of these wee little cabbages is one of the hubs and my favorites.  Be them grilled with cheese or stuffed in sweet potatoes, they are great when paired with similarly strong flavor profiles.  Needless to say, in the spring time we're going to toss them together with juicy and sweet strawberries.

This dish is incredibly easy to make, and delightfully easy to pack for a weekday lunch or picnic in the park.  Simply grilled brussels sprouts have a toasty exterior with soft, chewy centers.  Fresh sliced strawberries are fruity, tender and bright.  Their released juices, when combined with a little balsamic vinegar, make a light and fruity dressing that covers the sprouts beautifully for a tasty little dish with no added fat.  Packing this in advance is a breeze...simply combine the grilled brussels sprouts and strawberries in a tupperware and bring the dressing on the side.  When you're ready to serve, just drizzle the dressing over the sprouts, put the lid on a give it a shake to toss.  Easy, peasy, pup-fo-sheezie.

When I pack this for myself I usually take it plain, but the hubs loves a little sprinkle of feta of blue cheese on top.  You can even toss in grilled chicken strips for a little extra protein if desired.  However you dress it up or down, this healthy and hearty little meal is sure to hit the spot.

Grilled Brussels Sprouts & Strawberry Salad (serves 2)

  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 c brussels sprouts, stemmed and halved
  • 1 c strawberries, sliced
  • fresh black pepper
  • feta or blue cheese to garnish (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine the honey and balsamic vinegar.  Whisk together until well incorporated, then set aside.

Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  When the pan is very hot, spray with non-stick and add the brussels sprouts, turning them all so they are cut side down on the pan.  Grill for 3-4 minutes, until sprouts are browned.  Carefully flip the sprouts over so the cut side is up, and cook for an additional 3 minutes until tender when poked with a fork.  Remove from the pan into the bowl with the balsamic vinegar and honey mixture.  (You could also grill the brussels sprouts in a grill pan on the barbecue.)

Add the sliced strawberries to the brussels sprouts and season with pepper.  Stir together with a spoon until all the sprouts and strawberries are evenly coated, then let sit for 5-10 minutes so the strawberries can release their juice.  

Serve with a sprinkling of cheese or top with grilled chicken.  

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