T minus 3 days, people.
Ready or not, Thanksgiving is happening! Despite the SoCal 75 degree weather, I’m ready and excited for this holiday season! I’ve got my Thanksgiving grocery list ready to go, my Black Friday online shopping pajamas patiently awaiting, and an inspiring plan to keep my holiday eating on track.
This holiday season I have partnered up with The Biggest Loser’s newest trainer Jen Widerstrom to help create delicious, healthy, and satisfying dishes that won’t make you feel like you’re missing out on the holiday fun. Jen and I decided to create a Thanksgiving challenge – how to get in those dark leafy greens AND feel excited about it!
That’s how this Kale, Brussels Sprouts, and Sweet Potato Salad was born.
In developing this recipe with Jen I learned lots of great tips about clean eating. Jen does not believe in diets, yay! She encourages people to eat whole, nutritious foods, while teaching them how to create proper portion control. In turn, I was able to take those tips and help steer Jen in the right direction for great flavor combinations and hearty texture. We make a great team!
Speaking of teams, have you been watching The Biggest Loser this season? Team Jen all the way! This is my first time ever watching the show, and I have been so incredibly inspired by these contestants’ stories and transformations. It’s truly amazing to watch their journey, and nearly impossible to do so without an entire box of kleenex by your side. I have been especially inspired by Jen and her positive energy, dedication to her team, and genuine care for each and every contestant on the show. She’s also not too bad to look at (girl crush)! While meeting with her, Jen’s infectious personality shined through and continued to inspire me through my cooking.
Jen taught me the importance of cooking with one ingredient foods.
What in the world are one ingredient foods? Seems so simple, yet surprisingly not a lot of people know!
A one ingredient food is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a food with one single ingredient. For example, when you hold an apple in your hand, or a sweet potato, or a blueberry, it only has one name to describe it. Nothing added. It just is what it is.
Cut down on the ingredients, and you cut down on the processing. Let the list of ingredients be your guide. If the list is a mile long, that’s a red flag. The fewer the ingredients, the better it is for you. Period.
When I buy a bag of almonds and I look at the list of ingredients guess what it says?
It even feels good to read! The more whole, one ingredient foods you put in your body, the easier you will digest them, the more access your body will have to those nutrients, and the healthier you can be. Eat simple foods. It’s not a diet, it’s a way of life. Eat good. Feel good.
Will there be times when you stray from this type of eating? Of course. That’s life. But try to keep this idea of one ingredient foods in the back of your head, and I promise your meals will not only be good for you, but naturally delicious as well! Soooooooooooooo, Jen and I are excited to present to you this kick ass salad, using all one ingredient foods!
Cheers to a healthy holiday season!
- 1 large sweet potato, small dice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 bunch kale, about 4-5 cups - stems removed and julienned (I used the dark green Lacinato Kale)
- 16 ounces brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup currants
- 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss diced sweet potatoes on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Cook quinoa according to package. Set aside. (I cook 1 cup of dried quinoa, and use the leftovers for other recipes throughout the week)
Prep the kale and brussels sprouts. To julienne kale simply remove stem, stack a few kale leaves on top of each other, roll it up like a tight burrito, and thinly slice to create long strands. (You can also easily buy bags of pre chopped, or shredded kale in most grocery stores.) To slice brussels sprouts hold the root end and thinly slice.
Toast sliced almonds in a dry pan or toaster oven until slightly golden. About 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn!
In a large salad bowl add the kale, brussels sprouts, sweet potato, almonds, currants, and quinoa. Toss lightly with the lemon dressing. You may not need all of the dressing, but you can store the rest in the fridge for up to 1 week.
In a bowl whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, shallot, and salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until well combined.
*Part of the reason we chose these ingredients is because Jen loves to make large batches of recipes and use it to eat throughout the week. I'm the same way! So this salad simply gets better as it sits. Feel free to make this ahead of time. It won't get soggy!
Oh, and this should definitely make an appearance on your Thanksgiving table this year.