Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Pomegranate

Quick – it’s cold outside, and you want a veggie side dish that is not a cold salad. What do you do?? Crank up the oven, throw some veggies on a baking sheet, and 30 minutes later, you’ve got happy taste buds and a warm tummy!

If you’re like me, sometimes you crave variety in the way your food is prepared. So even though my instinct is to make a salad or roast whatever vegetable I have in my kitchen, I am always looking for new ways to do the familiar (aka make dinner).

And so, last night we had this warm Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Pomegranate side dish. My little guy happily ate it up – the pomegranate contributed to this, full disclosure, but the brussel sprouts were eaten right along with it! He’s got good taste in fruit, for sure. Luckily for him (and me!), I learned a easy way to separate all the juicy, delicious jewels – they’re actually called pomegranate arils (or seeds) – from the papery, cream colored membrane lining the inside of the entire fruit. Even better, it doesn’t look like a massacre occurred in my kitchen when I’m all done, nor have I ruined any clothing or white kitchen tile grout!

The way I prepare the pomegranate is unique to other fruit. First grab a medium sized bowl big enough to fit both of your hands plus the pomegranate in at the same time while being fully submerged in water. Also, take out a plastic cutting board with a ridge around the perimeter and kitchen knife. Choose plastic instead of wood if you don’t like your board getting stained! Fill up the bowl almost to the top with water warm enough to be a pleasant temperature – no need to have freezing cold hands while doing this! Cut the pomegranate in half; the cutting board ridge will catch any juice which decides to run. Place the pomegranate halves in the bowl, under water. Working on one half at a time, gently peel the pomegranate arils out of the membrane layers while being sure to keep the fruit submerged. The water will prevent juice spatters like a charm! The papery membrane floats to the top of the water, while the arils sink towards the bottom. As a result, skimming off the membrane pieces is a cinch, leaving all the goodness behind!

You could, of course, buy ready-to-eat pomegranate from the refrigerated produce section in your store. However, I find the often cloudy liquid in which the arils are sitting in unappetizing and makes me question their freshness. I’ll stick with prepping my own! When it’s this easy to eat pomegranate, you might find new ways to eat more, too!

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Pomegranate

Roasted brussel sprouts pair up with crispy, salty bacon and juicy, sweet pomegranate in this cold weather dish. (AIP, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, nightshade-free)
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds brussel sprouts, quartered
  • 12 ounces bacon, cut into 1" strips
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • On a baking sheet, evenly spread brussel sprouts, bacon, and red onion. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place baking sheet in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brussel sprouts are cooked through.
  • Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Cook about 5 more minutes, until brussel sprouts and bacon are browned and crispy. Remove from oven.
  • Mix 1 Tbsp olive oil with pomegranate molasses. Drizzle over brussel sprout mixture. Sprinkle fresh pomegranate on top. Serve warm.

Notes

Best served immediately. If preparing in advance, wait to add fresh pomegranate until after reheating brussel sprouts.

 


Sheet Pan Dinner – Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Turkey with Roasted Veggies

Are you looking for an allergy-friendly holiday meal? This sheet pan dinner with spinach artichoke stuffed turkey and roasted vegetables fits the bill! This elegant, festive meal is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. However, it is also simple enough to be prepared alongside a traditionally prepared bird, if this best suits your group’s holiday meal needs, to make sure there are safe, tasty dinner options for everyone. If this recipe will be the “main event,” it can easily be doubled, tripled, etc to feed larger crowds.  And, of course, the sheet pan dinner template just screams – easy, cozy dinner at home anytime! It’s delicious, and I bet you’ll want to make it again and again!

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Look at those nice, roasty bits on the carrots and brussel sprouts! So delicious! These are packed with fall flavor. Roasting is my favorite way to prepare vegetables. They are guaranteed to develop rich, complex flavor.

If you haven’t cared for brussel sprouts in the past, I encourage you to try them again when roasted. However, you could easily substitute cubes of another slower cooking vegetable such as beets, butternut squash, or potato (sweet or white) with a similar cooking time. While these options are starchier, broccoli or pearl onions would be tasty lower carbohydrate options, though they would require a shorter cook time.

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I’ve been drooling over the vegetables so much, I almost forgot to tell you about the turkey… the skin is light and crispy, thanks to a coating of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt prior to baking at a higher temperature. Also, the herby lemon spinach artichoke stuffing under the turkey skin bakes flavor right into the turkey meat. If you’ve never tried this technique of stuffing flavorful goodness between the meat and the skin, you’re in for a treat. It adds festive flare and is much easier and more forgiving than it might seem. Even if the skin tears or comes disconnected on one side, just smooth it out and lay it down – crisis averted 🙂

Practicality points: While the skin won’t be crispy the next day, all other aspects of the dish keep and reheat well as leftovers, too. Because the turkey breast is so much smaller than a whole bird and will cook much faster, there is no need to baste or use a roasting pan! Yay for less dishes and less work!

Sheet Pan Dinner - Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Turkey with Roasted Veggies

Capture the flavors of Fall with this unique rendition of a turkey dinner. (AIP, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free, seed-free, nightshade-free)
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1-1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 9 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small lemon, zest of
  • 1/2 small lemon, juice of
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 2-1/2 pound split turkey breast, with skin and bone
  • 1 pound brussel sprouts, quartered or halved
  • 1 pound rainbow carrots, peeled

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a medium sized glass bowl or liquid measuring cup, heat frozen spinach in the microwave on high for 1 minute, or until warm. With a fork, press out and drain as much liquid from the spinach as possible.
  • Then add remaining ingredients of spinach artichoke stuffing to the bowl/glass measuring cup: artichokes, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Stir to thoroughly combine.
  • Place turkey breast on sheet pan. With clean hands, gently separate the turkey skin from meat starting on one end of the turkey breast and moving across to the opposite end, creating a pocket or tunnel, with the sides remaining attached.
  • Gently, "stuff" handfuls or spoonfuls of spinach artichoke stuffing under the turkey skin, ensuring stuffing is roughly evenly distributed across the turkey breast.
  • Brush 1 Tbsp olive oil on turkey breast skin and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp sea salt.
  • Place turkey in the oven and bake uncovered for about 40 minutes, then increase the heat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add the carrots and brussel sprouts to the sheet pan. Drizzle remaining 4 Tbsp olive oil over veggies. Sprinkle remaining 1 tsp sea salt and 1/4 tsp pepper over vegetables.
  • When turkey skin is nicely browned, cover with aluminum foil to limit further browning/avoid burning. Be sure to tuck foil closely around the turkey to allow the veggies to roast uncovered.
  • Cook turkey until internal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit at the center of the thickest part of the breast. Cook veggies until tender and browned, about 30 minutes.

Notes

Based on the exact size/thickness of your meat and veggie pieces, your food may cook a little slower or faster. It's better to remove one component or the other early, allowing the rest to roast a little longer, than have overcooked food. So do keep an eye on things as the food gets closer to being done!