When we started this blog, we loved the idea that our FIT readers would have a place to turn to for recipes that took the guess work out of cooking. Everything we post focuses on whole, fresh foods and is (almost always) “diet” friendly. But we wanted to do more than just that. We wanted to take recipes that didn’t focus on whole foods or weren’t diet friendly and tell our FIT readers how to make them healthier. Moreover, as someone with a lot of dietary restrictions, I find looking for recipes can sometimes be frustrating. How do I know if the substitution I make for nuts will ruin the dish? What can I use in my smoothie when it calls for coconut water or almond milk? Since I don’t eat soy, what are some vegetarian dishes that don’t rely on just substituting tofu for meat? So I wanted to post recipes showing FITintheCITY-approved substitutions for all of the common allergens – dairy, gluten, nuts, etc.
If you browse through our FITmenu, you will see that sometimes we failed to do this. So before I get to posting a wonderful recipe with a ton of substitution recommendations, are there any recipes we have posted that you would like to know how to make a substitution? If so, please let us know! Otherwise, enjoy this FIT-approved recipe:
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds, toasted (hickory smoked almonds would be great if you can find them)
- ⅓ cup tart dried cherries or cranberries, chopped
- ⅓ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Shred the sprouts: First, cut off the tough ends of the sprouts and any browning outer leaves. Then shred them in a food processor using the slicing blade, pressing the sprouts against the blade with the provided plastic pusher. If you don’t have a food processor, slice them as thinly as possible using a sharp chef’s knife, then give them a few extra chops for good measure.
- If you are using raw almonds, toast them over medium heat for three to four minutes, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and turning golden on the edges.
- Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and garlic until emulsified. In a medium serving bowl, toss the shredded sprouts with the almonds, chopped dried fruit, Parmesan and dressing. Serve.
1. Make it vegan: Substitute maple syrup or agave nectar for the honey and skip the Parmesan. Mixing a little bit of white miso into the dressing (miso is salty to use less salt) could help make up for the missing Parmesan.
2. Make it nut-free: Substitute raw, un-roasted, un-salted sunflower seeds for the almonds.
3. Make it dairy-free: Mixing a little bit of white miso into the dressing (miso is salty to use less salt) could help make up for the missing Parmesan. Don’t have miso laying around? Add a little extra Himalayan sea salt to the dressing.
4. Use LESS sugar: Replace the honey with some fresh-pressed apple/ginger juice. Or use less honey (and modify the other ingredients to taste). Replace the cherries with diced dates, or remove dried fruit completely and add jicama and apple instead!
6. Don’t have an ingredient? Replace cabbage for the sprouts, sub any nut or seed for almonds, and any dried fruit will do (raisins, golden raisins, dried cranberries, dates, figs, etc.)!
7. Make it a meal! Add 2 tbsp. tahini and 1/2 a lemon’s juice to canned tuna and top it on the salad.