Flavourful holiday recipes to lighten up your meals!

Here are some tasty side dishes to consider rather than the usuals.


Balsamic Roasted Squash and Root Vegetables:

Great option instead of mashed potatoes or a sweet potato casserole.  The flavour of the balsamic vinegar with the vegetables is sweet and tangy–delicious! Leftovers are great added to a salad of spinach with feta cheese and a balsamic vinegar dressing.


1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (or 1-2 packages pre cut butternut squash)

4 Parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks

4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

4 tbsp canola oil

salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 425F

Mix all ingredients together into an oven proof glass dish.

Roast in oven until tender, about 30-45 minutes, stirring once or twice while cooking.


Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad (from Epicurious.com).

Even if you don’t love Brussels Sprouts, you will love this salad.  It’s been a big hit with all of my family, and even some co-workers who were not big fans of Brussels sprouts.


1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 pounds total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
1 cup finely grated Pecorino


Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.

Measure 1/2 cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel–lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.

Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

Barley and Pomegranate Salad

A great side dish that can be made ahead of time–a nice light option with great flavours and colour.  A great option to take to potlucks!


1 cup pearl barley
6 celery sticks (leaves picked and reserved), cut into small dice
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
2/3 tsp ground allspice
3 tbsp chopped dill
3 tbsp chopped parsley
300g pomegranate seeds (2 large pomegranates)
salt and black pepper


1. Rinse barley with cold water, the place in a medium saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Simmer for 30-35 minutes until tender, but still al dente.
2. Drain, and transfer to mixing bowl. While hot add all ingredients except for dill, parsley and pomegranate seeds which are to be added when cold


Happy Holidays and Happy Eating!