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Down Home for the Holidays

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

Green Bean Casserole continued...

6.         Add walnut mixture, remaining milk, and bay leaves. Bring sauce to a very gentle simmer, and allow to reduce and thicken over low heat for a few minutes, stirring. Once the sauce has thickened, season with black pepper and sea salt, and remove bay leaves.

7.         Arrange steamed green beans in a good-sized casserole dish, and top with mushroom sauce and then the onion topping. Bake around 20 minutes, until the green beans are bubbling hot and the top is nicely golden.

Per serving: 242 calories, 6 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 18 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 35 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 64%

Hot Pepper Slaw

Makes 8 servings

"I love the Asian treatment with this coleslaw recipe," Truex says. "It's crunchy, light, and flavorful."

Ingredients

            1          medium head green cabbage

            1          medium head red cabbage

            1          tsp sea salt

            3          large carrots

            ¼         cup minced scallions

            1          Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

For the dressing

            1⁄3       cup unseasoned rice vinegar

            1⁄3       cup hot pepper vinegar

            ¼         cup light brown sugar

            1½       Tbsp dark-roasted sesame oil

Directions

1.         Discard the outer leaves of cabbages. Cut heads in quarters, and remove and discard cores. Slice cabbage thinly or shred in a food processor. In a large bowl, layer cabbage with sea salt. Toss to distribute salt evenly, and let cabbage sit 1 hour to soften.

2.         Meanwhile, peel carrots and grate into thin shreds.

3.         Drain off any liquid produced by the cabbage, and rinse cabbage well in several changes of cold water to remove excess salt. Taste the cabbage; if it is still too salty, rinse again.

4.         Add carrots to cabbage, and mix well.

5.         For the dressing, whisk rice vinegar, hot pepper vinegar, brown sugar, and sesame oil together in a small bowl.

6.         Pour dressing over cabbage and mix well. Chill. Garnish with minced scallions and toasted sesame seeds before serving.

Per serving: 120 calories, 3 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 6 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 360 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 25%

Turnip Gratin

Makes 8 servings

"What would the holidays be without a bubbly baked casserole in an earthenware dish? I love turnips, but even people who think they don't will enjoy this gratin," Truex says.

Ingredients

            olive oil for the baking dish

            1          garlic clove, cut in half

            2          pounds turnips, preferably small ones, peeled and sliced in thin rounds

            salt and freshly ground pepper

            4          ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 cup tightly packed)

            1          tsp fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

            2½       cups low-fat (1%) milk 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin dish, and rub the sides and bottom with the cut clove of garlic.

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