Listen: I understand that most of you probably think you don’t like brussel sprouts. You probably tried them as a kid, or 15 years ago, declared them disgusting, and have never looked back. I thought I hated them, too – but let’s be honest for a minute here. When I was about 8, I had decided that most forms of PASTA were disgusting and awful and not fit for public consumption – and I was CLEARLY way off base on that one, so I am just not sure how much stock we can put into the food choices of our tween and teen selves, okay?
I hated the vast majority of vegetables that exist until about 4 years ago. I could stomach some of them raw, but I couldn’t bear the thought of most vegetables cooked. It never really occurred to me that perhaps most of my experience with vegetables was not really ideal – that perhaps fresh (not canned) vegetables could be delicious, if they were cooked properly (in other words, not horribly overcooked). So I started trying to cook more vegetables, more often, and I found that ROASTED vegetables were the kind of vegetables I liked. They’d get all crispy and brown and lovely in the oven, they were super easy to throw together – and I actually ENJOYED having a large side of roasted vegetables with my dinner, rather than wincing each time the fork came near my mouth, repeatedly convincing myself that eating those gross vegetables was GOOD FOR ME, DAMMIT!
Now, roasted vegetables are my go-to side dishes during the week. I keep my crisper drawer full of vegetables that my husband and I enjoy (brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, sweet onions, etc), and I just chop up enough to fill a sheet pan, toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss them into the oven. Easy AND delicious.
Here are two great ways to make brussel sprouts – both delicious, both easy. I know that you might be scared of brussel sprouts, but just give them a try… if you still hate them, then don’t make them again. But you might find that you really enjoy them!
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
1/2 pound brussel sprouts
1 T olive oil
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
1 T balsamic vinegar (optional)
1.) Preheat your oven to 400°. Prep your brussel sprouts by trimming off the stem end, removing any outer leaves that are bruised or damaged, and then cutting the sprouts in half from root to tip.
2.) Line a baking sheet with foil (non-stick, if you have it), and pile the brussel sprouts onto it as you clean and trim them. Once they’re all prepped, pour the olive oil, balsamic (if using), salt, and pepper on top of the pile. Use your hands to toss everything together and make sure all the sprouts are evenly coated.
3.) Roast for about 15-20 minutes, until the sprouts are nicely browned and crispy at the edges, and they’re cooked through but not mushy.
That’s it! A quick and easy (and healthy) side dish for your dinner. If you want, you can toss the cooked sprouts with some freshly grated parmesan cheese for a bit more flavor, but they are delicious on their own, too!
Warm Brussel Sprout Slaw
1/2 pound brussel sprouts
2 slices bacon cooked until crisp, rendered fat reserved
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese
1.) Start by cooking your bacon. Once it is crisp, remove it to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, but leave the rendered fat in your pan.
2.) Clean and trim your brussel sprouts (as explained above), but instead of cutting them in half, cut them into thin strips, about 1/4″ wide. Use your fingers to break up the layers of leaves.
3.) Heat your bacon fat over medium low heat – when it is hot, throw your shredded brussel sprouts into the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and toss them frequently – you want the edges to brown a bit, and for everything to wilt, just a bit. Once the sprouts are lightly wilted, they’re done!
4.) Add the shredded sprouts to a bowl, and toss with the bacon (roughly chopped), and some parmesan cheese to taste.
(I do apologize for the overwhelming yellowness of this photo… we were halfway through dinner when I realized I meant to take a picture of the sprouts. So, sorry about that.)
(I would also like to point out that half the reason I am posting these recipes is to try to lure Crist into trying brussel sprouts. I have the distinct feeling that it will still never happen.)
When you decide that brussel sprouts are your favorite vegetable, remind me to say I TOLD YOU SO,