Pear & Pomegranate Protein Waffles

With just a couple of weeks left in the year and the holidays quickly approaching, I personal find December to be an easily overwhelming month: considering all the things that didn’t happen this year, planning for next year, panicking about what to get my father and brother for Christmas, getting increasingly irritated every time “Santa Baby” comes on the radio, and still attempting to maintain some sense of productivity at work. It can be so easy to forget to take quiet reflection time to rest and recharge but the fullest times of year are those during which we should make the most effort to do so.

Pear & Pomegranate Protein Waffle {{Baking Bytes}}

Make any morning special with these gorgeous and delicious waffles. Waffles are particularly nostalgic for me, having grown up eating copious amount of Belgian waffles on holidays and birthdays and the occasional breakfast for dinner. It’s a common Christmas morning breakfast at my parents’ house and something I always wish I made time for more often.

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After a trip to Norway where a traditional Sunday morning means a hike and a waffle hut,  complete with jam and lightly sweetened whipped cream, I started to think I may have more Scandinavian traits than I thought. (Reading The Year of Living Danishly served only to validate this hypothesis.) While every week isn’t something I’ve managed to work into regular life, a morning run and a waffle never fails to feel like the perfect start to the day. (Full disclosure: actual Norwegians use substantially less cream and jam than I did here; it seems I have at least some ‘Merica in me too.)

Knutehytta Waffle {{Baking Bytes}}

The one things that has changed throughout the years is my preference on toppings. Instead of a flood of maple syrup or copious amounts of whipped cream and berries, I typically reach for a spoonful of peanut butter and a banana. After boosting the protein in the waffle itself with Kodiak Cakes Flapjack & Waffle Mix, protein powder and chia seeds, I dressed up this version with a colorful and festive combination that trends much more towards sophistication rather than cloying in its sweetness. (Although banana and peanut butter remains my go-to year round.)

Pear & Pomegranate Protein Waffle {{Baking Bytes}}

Creamy goat cheese is one thing I never tire of and it works beautifully all day long in sweet and savory dishes alike. Paired with sweet pears and tart pomegranate, a small drizzle of maple syrup pulls the whole thing together into a breakfast fit for a queen. A touch of sweetness keeps it from being an overwhelming start to the day, but I have certainly enjoyed this for brinner instead. Whichever time of day you choose to indulge, I’m confident this will not disappoint. (For a more reasonably sized meal when serving these with sides like eggs or breakfast meat, I personally find half of a waffle to be plenty. But you do you.)

Pear & Pomegranate Protein Waffle {{Baking Bytes}}

As a note, you do taste the protein powder a bit so make sure it’s a brand you like! Alternatively, you can skip it and substitute more flour instead. Either way you’ll have a delicious and freezer-friendly adventure ahead of you. However, if waffles are not your thing, check out these flavors in salad form instead.

Pear & Pomegranate Chèvre Protein Waffle

Makes about 6 waffles

Ingredients

Protein Waffles
1 3/4 cups Kodiak Cakes Flapjack and Waffle Mix1
1/2 cup plain or vanilla protein powder (or all-purpose flour)2
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cardamom, optional
1/8 tsp vanilla bean powder, optional

2 cups milk (almond, skim, whatever)
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs, separated

Toppings
8 oz goat cheese, crumbled
4-6 oz pomegranate seeds
1 ripe pear, thinly sliced
pure maple syrup, to taste
cinnamon or cardamom, optional

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, protein powder, baking powder, chia seeds, and salt.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together egg yolk, milk, oil, and vanilla.
  3. Gently fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl or jar, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. (I like to use the whisk attachment on my immersion blender for this.)
  5. Carefully fold in egg white until almost no streaks remain, trying to keep as much volume as possible in the mixture. Let rest for about 5 minutes.
  6. Spray your waffle iron with nonstick spray and heat according to its manufacturer’s directions.
  7. Add about 2/3 cup of batter to the waffle iron and cook to desired darkness.
  8. Top each waffle with 1-2 oz goat cheese, pear slices, 1-2 Tbsp pomegranate seeds, and 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup. Sprinkle with cinnamon or cardamom, if desired, and enjoy immediately.3

Notes

1 If you don’t have this flour mix, you can substitute 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour plus 1 Tbsp of baking powder, but the resulting protein content will be substantially lower.

2 You definitely get a little of the flavor of protein powder here, so make sure it’s not a flavor you hate. Or just substitute more flour in its place.

3 You can also freeze the cooked waffles! Wrap each serving carefully in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use. Defrost on the counter or in the microwave, then lightly toast for a crispier texture.

Pear & Pomegranate Winter Salad

Although the blogosphere doesn’t always advertise as such, winter is just as good for salads as the heat of summer. I do eat fewer entree salads in the winter (unless it’s a sautéed steak version) but we nearly always have a side salad with dinner. With different produce available it’s a great time to mix up the flavors a bit and give your standard toppings a break.

Pomegranate makes its debut in late fall, and is often used for everything from smoothies to desserts. With a tart flavor and saturated color, it’s also a perfect topping to brighten both the flavor and aesthetic of a winter salad. My favorite combination is with pears, but green apples, oranges or blood oranges, and Asian pears are all delightful pairings.

Pear & Pomegranate Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

For crunch and a dash of protein, sliced almonds or toasted pumpkin seeds are my favorite additions. They are both neutral enough to blend with nearly everything, and add just enough texture to each bite.

Goat cheese is my go-to for almost everything, but for a punchier flavor feta is a great choice. A crumbly cheese works best but the palate is very versatile if chevré isn’t your thing. For the dairy-free folks, this salad is also excellent sans cheese entirely.

Pear & Pomegranate Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Lastly, a good quality balsamic vinegar is key here. I personally rarely use legitimate salad dressings and just dress mine with one of my large collection of Olivelle balsamic vinegars. Crisp Anjou Pear Balsamic Vinegar is my favorite for this particular salad, but a plain barrel-aged balsamic, anything with rosemary, or your favorite more neutral vinaigrette would also do nicely. I do recommend using a more viscous vinegar or a reduction to allow for a better coating.

Pear & Pomegranate Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Brighten your dinner table with this healthy and delicious salad that’s easy enough for every day, and fancy enough for holiday parties.

Pear & Pomegranate Winter Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

5 oz baby spinach (or more, to taste)
1/4 cup Olivelle Crisp Anjou Pear Balsamic Vinegar1

1/2 medium pear, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds
4oz goat cheese

Directions

  1. In a serving bowl, add spinach and vinegar and gently toss to coat.
  2. Reserving 1-2 tablespoons of each, add the pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds or almonds. Add half the goat cheese and gently toss to combine.
  3. Arrange the pear on top of the salad, then garnish with remaining pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds or almonds, and goat cheese. Drizzle with addition vinegar or a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper, if desired.
  4. Enjoy promptly.

Notes

If preferred, you can substitute any dark balsamic vinegar or reduction, or your favorite rosemary vinaigrette. Barrel-aged vinegars are my favorite here!

Thanksgiving Slaw

Coleslaw is something I’ve never enjoyed; it took me until my late twenties to realize I really just didn’t enjoy the mayo-based versions. Shredded cabbage or other veggies in a lighter dressing is just a salad that’s easier to eat, but in my opinion mayo is not intended to be the focal flavor of a dish. (Cue Midwest outcry.) If you disagree, that’s just fine, but I hope you’ll still give this non-mayo coleslaw a try.

Thanksgiving Slaw {{Baking Bytes}}

A few months ago when my mom visited, we took a cooking class from Olivelle. The one that happened to fit with our schedule was a paleo menu, and even though neither of us are paleo I figured the menu sounded great and Olivelle has yet to disappoint me, so we gave it a whirl. As it turned out, it was one of my favorite classes to date (I’ve done…several…) and I loved every single recipe on the menu.

One of those recipes was a Brussels sprouts slaw. I don’t usually care for cruciferous vegetables in their raw state, but somehow after being shredded with cabbage and toasted pecans, folded with blueberries, and lightly coated in a fruity balsamic dressing, I was in love. Not only is this one of the few class recipes I’ve gotten around to making on my own, but I’ve made it three times since August despite having to borrow a food processor eat time.

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Since it’s vegan, paleo, gluten-free and pretty much every-diet-ever friendly, this is a wonderful dish to take to potlucks and gatherings. Even better, it’s great chilled but just fine at room temperature, and best when made ahead, giving you all the time to relax and actually enjoy the party. It also makes a great lunch alongside your protein of choice if you’re fortunate enough to have leftovers. As a bonus, the green sprouts contrast nicely with the purple of the cabbage and the red pomegranate seeds, making it aesthetically pleasing in addition to its fantastic flavors.

I made a few tweaks for an autumn version, resulting in a perfect Thanksgiving side that doesn’t need oven space, and/or a healthy addition to Christmas that maybe even the kids will enjoy. (No guarantees, this recipe was not tested on children.) The Brussels and cabbage base remains, but I opted for walnuts since I prefer them over pecans, and pomegranate seeds for their color and tartness. I 100% cheated and bought a container of seeds, but if you want to get in your work out and seed a pomegranate then by all means, please do so.

Thanksgiving Slaw {{Baking Bytes}}

The dressing is a lovely mix of Olivelle products, so if you’ve not jumped on their bandwagon for some reason then now (or actually, Black Friday) is the time to make the leap. If you’re still not ready, a substitution of regular olive oil and white balsamic vinegar with some splashes of blood orange and pomegranate juices might work out, but I have not tested it. (If you go this route and you like the result, share your recipe in the comments!)

Thanksgiving Slaw {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re in the market for a healthy but different addition to your holiday table, and cannot stomach the thought of putting yet another dish in the oven, this is the recipe for you.

Thanksgiving Slaw

Adapted from Olivelle
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 lbs Brussels sprouts
1/2 small head red cabbage
1 cup walnuts (or nut of choice)
1 cup pomegranate seeds

dressing
1/3 cup Olivelle Harvest Fig or Vanilla Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar(Or a mix of both!)
1/3 cup Olivelle Blood Orange Olive Oil1
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp Olivelle Vanilla Bean Sea Salt (or regular salt)

Directions

  1. Use a food processor (or a grater and a lot of patience) to shred the sprouts and cabbage. (If you’re a novice at food processing, this works best if you do it in relatively small batches.) Add both to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Coarsely chop walnuts (by hand, or with the food processor). Add to a dry pan and toast lightly over medium heat until fragrant. (Or skip this step if you’re lazy or in a hurry – it’ll still be good just a slightly different nuttiness flavor.)
  3. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously until well mixed. Taste for flavor preferences, and adjust if necessary.
  4. Pour over the sprouts and cabbage and stir with a rubber scraper until well coated.
  5. Fold in toasted nuts and pomegranate seeds.
  6. Store in the fridge until ready to serve – overnight is better – then enjoy chilled or at room temperature. Will keep for at least five days in the fridge.

Notes

If you have not purchased the entire Olivelle store, a substitution of 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, and pomegranate + blood orange juice to taste might work. This is an untested substitution so let me know if you try it!