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    Snacks & Small Plates/ Vegetarian

    Brussel Sprout Salad

    Ah, a three day weekend. Something about that extra day: it makes both the week before and the week after seem so much more manageable. If we could extend the school day 1.5 hours and be off on Friday of every week, I would be all for it. I know I’ve heard of some schools trying this out. I also love the year round school year, with it’s 2 week breaks scattered throughout the year. The name is intimidating, but the actual thing itself is genius.

    On 3 day weekends, I like to spend at least one day just doing my thing. I’m a pretty introverted person (though you might not guess it) and really, really need my alone time. I often feel a little selfish in scheduling in this time for myself – what kind of person doesn’t want to see her friends? An introvert, I guess. I love my friends, obviously, but for my own sanity I just need to be alone sometimes.

    One of my favorite “me” time activities is the gym. I LOVE to go to the gym. I have been trying to amp up my workouts post-olympics to be stronger (in case I make it in 4 years?) but still reserve one of my favorite workouts for 2-3 times a week. I literally call it “Elliptical Treat” (I fully acknowledge I am a HUGE nerd). In this, my favorite “treat” to myself, I will literally get down on the elliptical machine for 1 hour, 1 1/2 hours watching Netflix. I leave the gym almost unrecognizable, but I feel like a rockstar!

    Heavy lifting cardio like this also lends itself to something else beautiful – a large appetite. This Labor Day weekend is filled with picnics and barbecues and all kids of delicious food, a cheat day paradise. If I’m not bringing dessert to share to a party, I try to bring a deliciously healthy side to balance out the unhealthy options on which I plan to indulge. This salad is perfect for this purpose.

    Brussel Sprout Salad

    Brussel Sprout Salad

    I had this salad at Hub 51 in Chicago. I was looking through their varied menu when this salad caught my eye. It is not common for me to “oooh” out loud when I encounter a salad; if you read the blog enough, you know I have particular beef, as it were, with salads. So many people think eating a bunch of salad is what healthy eating mean, which is neither true nor sustainable. Don’t get me wrong, I love a fully loaded, all-out salad like this spicy shrimp salad,  or better yet, my favorite roasted red pepper salad. But your basic bland, heavy on the greens salad? JUST SAY NO.

    Anyway, this salad caught my eye, and my friends were also intrigued. Needless to say, I loved it enough that I had to add it to my list of delicious salads that are acceptable to eat all the time.

    Peeling the leaves off of the brussel sprouts can be difficult, so you’ll need to cut a little more of the base off after each new set of leaves come off. You’ll have a little sprout left, about the size of a small grape. If order not to be wasteful, I cut these in half and roasted them later for a side. If you haven’t had roasted brussels sprouts, you are missing out! Just don’t try sautéing them with the leaves, as I did with some – they need longer to cook and they also mess with the texture of the salad. Better to have a side later!

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