Take Pride in Your Sides

A traditional Easter lunch/dinner usually involves some sort of meat in the middle of the table, with a bunch of rich and heavy sides to compliment. This year I wanted to change that approach and make a lunch that was fresh and healthy. Wouldn’t it be nice if after a feast you felt energized and not like you wanted to lay down on the couch?

My Easter holiday for the past few years have been quite sporadic. I have either spent it in Sydney with my family, Flagstaff with my training group, or Ohio with my in-laws. After so much traveling over the past few months, I insisted on hosting Easter at my apartment in Greenville and invited all my in-laws down for the weekend.

To begin the lunch, I started off with some popular nibbles that require little to no work – A selection of cheeses, olives, smoked almonds, olive/fig crackers, and a fresh baguette. This is always my favorite way to start a family gathering because it gets everybody mingling and stops you from gorging on the main meal. If you’re not trying to avoid meat like I was, add some thinly sliced prosciutto to your spread.

The next part of my Easter lunch would involve a main protein and two sides. Because I am the only one in the family who doesn’t eat meat I had everyone pick their choice of meat to be cooked on the BBQ by Jeff, and I took control of the sides.

Here are my go to sides for any holiday:

The Perfect 10 Salad

I call this salad ‘The Perefect 10’  because it involves ten nutritional ingredients. I always make slight variations of this salad depending on what I have in my fridge, but it helps to tick off ten ingredients each time. This keeps the salad interesting, colorful, and also covers all bases in terms of nutrition.

Heres the variation I made on Easter. (Keep in mind these amounts were intended as sides for 10 people. If I was making this salad as a main dish for Jeff and I, I would cut everything in half.)

Salad:
1 cucumber
2 avocados
1/2 onion
1 carrot
1 pomegranate
100g baby spinach (2 big handfuls)
20 asparagus sticks (1 bunch)
15 cherry tomatoes
200g red quinoa
1 can chickpeas

Dressing:
Olive Oil
1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper
Poppyseed dressing (optional)

-Cook quinoa in pot with vegetable stock and pinch of salt. Drain and put in fridge to cool.
-Finely chop, cucumber, onion, carrot, tomatoes and put in a big serving bowl.
-Drain/rinse chickpeas and add to bowl.
-Add spinach and pomegranate seeds to bowl.
-Cut the ends of your asparagus sticks and then boil for 3mins. Prepare a second dish with ice water and transfer cooked asparagus and leave for 5mins. Once cooled, cut asparagus into approx 2inch sticks and add to bowl.
-Once quinoa has cooled, add to bowl and toss salad.
-Chop avocados into small squares and add got bowl. (I add the avocado after the first toss so not to smash it too much.)
-Squeeze half a lemon in the bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and add salt and pepper. Gently toss salad.
*Do not over do the OO and S&P – better to start light and add more after tasting.
To finish, lightly drizzle with good quality poppyseed dressing. This is not necessary, but adds some visual interest and extra flavor.
*Again, don’t over do the dressing! There are so many fresh flavors going on in this salad, it really doesn’t need much.

Holiday Brussels Sprouts

I usually call these my ‘Christmas Brussels Sprouts’ because of the red from the craisins and green from the sprouts, but they are a great addition to any occasion.

32oz Brussels sprouts
Craisins (roughly handful)
Walnuts (roughly handful)
Goats cheese
Olive Oil
Paprika
Salt & Pepper

-Preheat oven to 425F/220C
-Cut of ends and halve Brussel sprouts. Put them in a bowl and coat in olive oil, paprika, S&P.
-Spread evenly on baking tray and cook in oven for 20-30mins
-Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with craisins, walnuts, and goat cheese. Add as much or as little as you please.

*If you are not a fan of Brussels sprouts, switch them out with sweet potatoes (then trade out 425F to 450F)

Now that you’ve got in your nutrients, feel free to go wild on your choccy eggs!
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday. 

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