Not Your Mama’s Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts.  Okay, you read it…now what comes to mind after?  Childhood memories of gagging down this much-hated vegetable?   Images of little cabbages that make you turn up your nose in disgust?  If this was your first thought, you wouldn’t be alone.  Many people wrinkle their noses and give the “Eww” face when Brussels sprouts are mentioned.

This little veggie is making an appearance on many restaurant menus these days.  You might even call Brussels sprouts “trendy”.  Trendy or not—this ingredient has become one of my family’s favorites.  We roast them.  We sauté them.  We shave them into a quinoa salad.  We are always looking for new ideas and recipes that include Brussels sprouts. 

I recently had a Brussels sprouts appetizer that had me reminiscing of my mom’s spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette.  Tazza Kitchen roasts Brussels sprouts then adds egg crumbles, bacon, and maple vinaigrette.  It was actually better than the spinach salads of my youth, but don’t tell my mom.  Roasting these little veggies seems to bring out a depth of flavor that I never knew they had as a kid.  My favorite way to prepare them is a little olive oil, lard, or bacon drippings—add a little onion—and boom!  You will be professing your love of Brussels sprouts in the first bite.

As spring approaches and our farmer’s markets fill with leafy greens and the bounty of spring, I urge you to find some Brussels sprouts and try them again.  You might be surprised at how much you like them.  And…here is a recipe to get you started with your Brussels sprouts love affair:

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  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 2-3 tbs. olive oil
  • ½ c. red grapes
  • ½ c. coarsely chopped toasted pecans
  • 2-3 tsp. aged Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt – to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Cut Brussel sprouts into halves or quarters depending on size.  Place in a bowl with the grapes, drizzle with the olive oil, and add black pepper and thyme.  Stir to coat.
  3. Roast on a sheet pan for 20 minutes until Brussels sprouts are fork tender
  4. While Brussels sprouts are in the oven, toast pecans in a skillet over medium heat.
  5. In a serving bowl, combine roasted Brussels sprouts/grape mixture and the pecans.  Add salt to taste and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. 

            **if grapes are small, roast Brussels sprouts for 10 minutes, then add the grapes and stir to incorporate.  Continue roasting for the remaining time.

 

 

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