This time of year, I get a lot of requests for recipe ideas. Seems everyone wants to surprise their guests with a new, inventive dish for holiday meals. I love this simple butternut squash and Brussels sprouts side dish. It’s easy to make and full of healthy vegetables.

I understand some folks don’t like Brussels sprouts. Maybe you’re thinking back to your childhood when your mum would boil and overcook them. But that’s not the way they should be served. You want to them to retain a bit of crispness. Since this recipe includes butternut squash and bacon, you’re getting a delicious balance of sweet, bitter and salt. I’m salivating just thinking about it (and doing my happy dance)!

Brussels Sprouts Tip: Did you know that if you buy fresh Brussels sprouts on the stalk they’re less expensive and stay fresh longer?

Before I launch into the recipe, I want to wish you all an awesome holiday season and extend my gratitude to you — my fans, my friends. Thank you for tuning in to Restaurant:Impossible each week, for coming to my live shows and for your comments and engagement through social media and my website. I don’t take my good fortune for granted. Hard work and my love of food and fitness have allowed me to live my dreams and the successes I’ve achieved wouldn’t have been possible without you!

As the holidays bring up gratitude, they also make me keenly aware of those in need. Throughout the year, I spend as much time as possible helping others and I encourage you to do the same. I know from your tweets and kind messages that my fans have the empathy it takes to make a difference in our world. If you feel moved to make donations this time of year, I’d like to recommend a couple of my favorite non-profits: The Gary Sinise Foundation and No Kid Hungry.

My friend Gary’s organization is committed to helping our military members, veterans and first-responders. You may have seen the television special we did for Veteran’s Day this year when we rebuilt a deserving veteran’s home in Hawaii. The Gary Sinise Foundation does great work for folks who have sacrificed for greater good and all donations go towards extending a helping hand to them.

No Kid Hungry is dedicated to ending childhood hunger here in the U.S..  Millions of kids go hungry in our country everyday and that really breaks my heart. Together we Can make sure all kids have healthy meals everyday of the year.

Brussels Sprouts Fact: Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, as well as beta carotene, folic acid, iron, magnesium and fiber. Good for a strong body!

Here’s how you make this delicious and simple Brussels sprouts and butternut squash side dish for your holiday gathering:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Butternut squash, peeled and diced into large pieces
  • 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, cut in half and blanched
  • 1/2 cup diced Applewood bacon
  • 4 Shallots, thinly julienned
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup Chicken broth
  • 3 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Place the diced butternut squash into a large mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of the grapeseed oil, and salt and pepper. Toss well. Place squash on backing sheet and roast for at 350 degrees in preheated oven until just before fork tender. Squash should have a little roasted color.

Remove squash from oven and allow to cool.

In a large saute pan, render the diced Applewood bacon. Add the Brussels sprouts and contue to saute for about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, butter, herbs and cooked squash. Toss gently and cook until squash is rewarmed.

If you’re serving vegetarians, remove the bacon and replace chicken stock with vegetable stock.

Transfer to a festive serving platter and watch your guest devour this savory holiday side dish!

Happy holidays, everyone!