Today’s post is about a great little wintertime nutritional powerhouse – the humble, often criticized brussels sprout. Before we delve any further, let’s get one thing straight:
They are Brussels sprouts. BRUSSELS. Sprouts. Brussels, with an “s” on the end.
They are named after, surprise surprise!, the capitol of Belgium (which is “Brussels”, if you haven’t had coffee yet) as it’s believed their origin comes from around there. What a fun piece of trivia for your next social gathering! You’re welcome!
Unfortunately, these guys evoke bad childhood memories, perhaps a parent swirling a forkful through the air chanting “Open the hangar, here comes the airplane” while you grimaced in disgust. Like a lot of green veggies, these poor little guys have been overcooked and boiled to death for years. Trust me when I tell you, there is still hope. I bet you can make peace with them after all.
And you should, because they are part of the “cruciferous” family of veggies, which also includes the beloved kale, broccoli, bok choy and cabbage, among others. Crucifers (sounds so… dark) are packed full of great things, like vitamins C and K, tons of fiber and calcium, and studies have shown that eating 1-2 servings a day can reduce your risk of cancer thanks to their large doses of phytonutrients. (“Fy-toe-nutrients” – phyto meaning plant-based.)
You can do all kinds of tasty things with brussels sprouts, but my favorite way to eat them is after they’re roasted. They have a much different taste than any of the bland, soggy boiled things that may have been passed off to you before.
Here’s a recipe that takes under 5 minutes of prep time and only 4 ingredients – but here’s the best part: cooking brussels sprouts this way makes them so tasty, you will want to pop them in your mouth instead of potato chips and candy. I’m serious! Remember how yummy the kale chips are (click link for video)? What’s wrong with eating green leafies instead of fried fatty foods? NOTHIN’.
If you have a well-stocked pantry, the ONLY ingredient you will need to buy are the brussels sprouts. For this recipe, I used about two pounds, though you can use less! Or more! Whatever!
- about 2 pounds of brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
- olive oil to coat
- (sea salt)
- 2 Tbsp spicy mustard
- 2 Tbsp agave nectar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Halve the brussels sprouts and put in a large mixing bowl.
Add just enough olive oil to coat them, mixing them around. Spread them evenly on a baking tray (with sides) and add a few shakes of sea salt. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until the brussels sprouts are vibrant green and just starting to brown. Turn over and toss around the tray.
In a small bowl, whisk the agave and spicy mustard together. (Use the same bowl you mixed the sprouts and oil in to put down on cleanup!) Add more or less of either to taste, but an equal ratio tastes great!
Using a cooking brush, brush on the agave and mustard mixture until all is used. If you run out, make a little more using an even amount of each.
Put tray back in the oven, roast for another 15-20 minutes, tossing once more to brown the brussels sprouts. Take them out when they are soft (not mushy!) and browned.
It may sound ridiculous, but between Ryan and I, we polished off the entire 2 pounds of brussels sprouts in the evening. Every time we walked past the tray (where I was attempting to cool would-be leftovers) we kept grabbing a handful, til they were gone.
Try this recipe, see what you think! You can roast them a number of ways with many different herbs and spices, but this way is simple and satisfies the desire for something sweet and savory.