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Down Home for the Holidays

Atlanta chef Joe Truex offers healthy versions of the holiday dishes he grew up with.

Roast Pork Loin With Wild Mushroom Fricassee continued...

            2          ounces (1/4 cup) good quality low-sodium soy sauce

            2          Tbsp ground black pepper


1.         Make salt brine by dissolving kosher salt in water. Place pork loin roast in saltwater brine until ­covered, and refrigerate 24 hours. Remove roast, discard brine, and pat roast until dry.

2.         Preheat oven to 400ºF. Rub garlic and rosemary all over pork roast, and season with black pepper. Place pork, fat side down, in a large skillet, and sear over medium heat until golden. Turn over, and sear the other side until golden. Remove from pan.

3.         Toss mushrooms with olive oil, and season with soy sauce and pepper. Place mushrooms in the bottom of a roasting pan, and put the pork roast on top of the mushrooms. Roast pork 30 to 40 minutes, until thermometer ­inserted into center of pork registers 155°F. Remove from oven, and set aside for 10 minutes.

4. Remove loin from pan, slice, and arrange in a serving dish. Spoon mushrooms and sauce over the top, and serve. 

Per serving: 341 calories, 29 g protein, 3 g carbohydrate, 24 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 69 mg cholesterol, 1 g sugar, 736 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 63%

Green Bean Casserole

Makes 8 servings

"Green bean casserole -- it doesn't get any more Southern holiday than that," Truex says. "This recipe keeps all the creamy goodness the classic dish brings, but without the fat and calories."


            1          pound fresh green beans

            3½       ounces raw walnuts, soaked (preferably overnight but for at least 30 minutes)

            1          Tbsp tahini paste

            1          cup nondairy milk (such as rice milk; use dairy milk if preferred)

            1          Tbsp organic canola oil

            1          Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

            2          garlic cloves, minced

            ½         pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced

            ½         tsp tamari or soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free version)

            ¼         tsp cayenne pepper

            1          Tbsp plain unbleached flour (use sweet rice flour or gluten-free flour mix for gluten free version)

            2          bay leaves

freshly cracked black pepper

            sea salt to taste

For the onion topping

            1          medium red onion, sliced into thin rounds

            ½         cup quinoa flakes

            ¼         cup flaked (sliced) almonds

            2          tsp dried marjoram

            2          Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


1.         Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2.         Top and tail green beans, and steam about 3 minutes, until bright green. Remove from heat, and plunge into a bowl of ice water. Drain, and set aside.

3.         Prepare topping: Separate sliced onion into rings and toss with quinoa flakes, almonds, marjoram, and olive oil.

4. Drain walnuts and blend in a food processor with tahini and half the milk until smooth and creamy.

5.         Heat canola and olive oils over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms, tamari or soy sauce, and cayenne pepper. Continue to toss, cooking mushrooms evenly until soft and golden. Add flour and cook, stirring, over low heat 1 more minute.

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