My youngest daughter tells me that her friends look at her funny when she tells them her favorite vegetable is Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts have a bad rap, most likely because they can be…well…less than tasty when the aren’t cooked right. Many people have only tried sprouts frozen in a bag, steamed in the microwave or boiled on the stove top. We can forgive them for not loving the taste and texture, these methods of preparing Brussels sprouts really don’t do the vegetable any favors.
Try roasting them!
Savory Brussels Sprouts with Pine Nuts is one of my kids’ favorite side dishes, in fact I think I could make it as a main course and they wouldn’t complain. Toasted pine nuts, olive oil, and garlic are combined with fresh sprouts, a hint of balsamic vinegar and just a little cream. The result is as savory as it is healthy…be prepared to serve seconds!
Besides the taste and texture, there’s another good reason not to boil your Brussels:
Boiling them reduces their nutritional content.
Brussels sprouts are packed with powerful vitamins and compounds that fight cancer, lower cholesterol, and reduce inflammation. Boiling saps the nutrients out, and many of them go down the drain with the water! Our favorite ways to prepare Brussels sprouts are oven roasted (cut them in half, toss them with a simple mix of olive oil, salt and garlic, and then roast them in a pan) or pan roasted on the stove top.
Start with fresh, organic Brussels sprouts.
In fact, if you have a green thumb, you might want to consider growing some in your garden! They form on tall stalks topped with broad leaves, and are a lot of fun to watch grow. Wash them, trim the ends off the sprouts and peel off any unsightly outer leaves. Chop them up and set them aside as you prepare the pine nuts.
Heat a cast iron skillet on the stove, and toss in some pine nuts. Dry-roast them for a few minutes, until they begin to brown (keep a sharp eye on them…they get too brown very quickly!) Add some olive oil, and then the chopped Brussels sprouts and some pressed garlic. Stir them as they cook, adding some balsamic vinegar once they start to soften. Let them sit a little while, and they will start to caramelize. Right before serving, toss in a few tablespoons of organic cream and stir until all the flavors are combined. Serve…and watch them disappear!
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What about you? Do you love Brussels sprouts or hate them?
Photography by Jennifer Leung Johnson