During the holidays, I find myself saying quite often, "Oh, what the heck. It's the holidays," as I add a handful of cheese or have an extra cookie. But the "holidays" aren't just one day. They start around Halloween and stretch until New Years Day, at which point most people I know declare the beginning of their cleanse to redeem themselves for overindulging during the "holidays." I have to be honest and say that I am a little more lax during the holidays with my eating and I've never too happy in January when my jeans aren't too comfortable. This year I'm going to be a little more mindful and not use the holidays as an excuse to act like every night is my last supper! My new favorite hors d'oeuvre is actually what motivated me to really try to find delicious recipes for the holidays that are also healthful. Not only am I crazy about these little Brussels sprout sliders, but they were such a hit at my house with my friends this year, as well as with my cooking classes this month. In fact, my friend Cheryl enjoyed them at my house for dinner one night and then asked my to bring the sliders to her house for a little get-together a few weeks later. Winner! "Sliders" have been very popular the last few years at parties. They are basically mini-burgers. I've seen them as simple as a basic mini beef or turkey patty and bun all the way to topped with caramelized onions, gorgonzola and arugula. In this vegetarian and bread-less version, the sprouts are halved and roasted and become the "bun." And then you can put whatever you want in between. Do you get it? Crazy good, and GOOD FOR YOU, TOO! Before you think, "Oh, it's the holidays. These aren't indulgent enough," I haven't seen anyone stop at just one. They are super tasty and very satisfying. I usually stick to the following fillings (which happen to go into my favorite grilled cheese): thinly sliced gruyere, sauteed onions, coarse-grain mustard, and roasted apple. Sometimes I add them all, sometimes two or three. Of course, you can add richer fillings, such as cooked bacon or a piece of honey-baked ham as well. Not a lot of time on your hands? Here's what I would do:
- slice the cheese up to a week ahead
- saute the onions the day before and refrigerate
- roast the sprouts several hours in advance and allow to sit at room temp
- assemble the sliders a few hours in advance and warm through at 300 (or 350) for a few minutes
Brussels Sprout Sliders
Serves: makes 20 full sliders or 40 half (open-faced) sliders
- 6 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, DIVIDED, plus extra for greasing baking sheet
- 1 large onion, sliced thin
- Sea salt to taste
- 20 medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed of any dry edges (but don’t slice off the whole core)
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
- Small block of gruyere cheese, thinly sliced and cut the same size as a sprout
- Other add-in possibilities: Roasted apple or pear chunks, manchego cheese
- Warm 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and a sprinkle of salt. Saute, stirring frequently, until they become more golden in color, about 15-20 minutes. Lower the heat a little and continue to cook until they are tender.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and brush with olive oil.
- Cut the Brussels sprouts in half from top to bottom, keeping the two halves close together. If you don’t, you will have to search for a pair that fits well together after they have roasted.
- Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn the sprouts and bake 15-20 more minutes or until tender.
- Take one half of a Brussels sprout, smear with mustard, add a piece of gruyere and a pinch of onions. Take the other half of the Brussels sprout and position it so the two sprouts are like the buns on a burger, with the cut sides facing each other, and secure with a toothpick. Serve at room temperature or warm on a baking sheet in a 325 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.