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Don’t Fear the Brussel Sprout: An Easy Side Dish Recipe

brussels2.jpgI’m not exactly sure why, but brussel sprouts somehow earned the reputation of the vegetable most feared by children everywhere. Threats of cleaning your plate before dessert have done a disservice to one of my favorite vegetables.

Another problem, alluded to in a comment in Ali’s post yesterday is that many people don’t quite know how to cook them. I was telling a friend recently how I typically cook these mini-cabages and she asked me, “You don’t boil them first?”

I gasped. Why would anyone do that to a vegetable? The truth is, save for potatoes that I intend to mash, I never boil my veggies. It’s a sure way to lose nutrients and flavor. Since brussel sprouts are in season in my area, (if you don’t see it listed on your local calendar, check the availability of cabbage), I cooked some up a side dish last night. In the spirit of keeping it simple, here’s the easy way I roast my brussels:

If you buy your sprouts from the farmer’s market, like I did this weekend, they can come with a thick stem on the end. Chop all of the stems off, and cut the sprouts in half lengthwise.

In a big bowl, drizzle with olive oil, rosemary, thyme, chopped fresh garlic, salt and pepper. Let the sprouts marinate while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once it’s heated, lay the sprouts in a single layer in a baking pan, uncovered. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until you see the leaves begin to brown slightly.

Cutting the sprouts in half somehow lets some of the bitterness typically associated with brussel sprouts seep out, and ensures they cook all the way through. No one wants to bite into that hard, uncooked core. You can also check out the comments in yesterday’s posts for Noelle’s suggestion on cooking up some sprouts.

Last night I served mine alongside some vegan manicotti, pictured below. But that’s a much less simple recipe for another day…brussels3.jpg

9 comments
  1. Ali Benjamin

    I have become so crazy about brussels sprouts. It’s one of the best discoveries I’ve found. I had a little help from friends, though β€” it wasn’t a vegetable that came naturally to me. I’m curious about the vegan manicotti, though. Isn’t manicotti all about cheese?

    FYI, there are tons of brussels sprouts ideas here:

    http://cleanerplateclub.wordpress.com/2007/11/15/brussels-sprouts-v-11-20-aka-sam-i-am-in-the-house-with-lots-of-irrelevant-asides-from-me/

    and here:
    http://cleanerplateclub.wordpress.com/2007/11/13/what-to-do-with-brussels-sprouts-versions-1-10-aka-i-heart-you-my-brussels-sprouts-favorin-friends/

  2. Sharon Troy

    Looks like everyone’s got sprouts on the brain lately. And Jason, I’m always happier to help make veganism a little bit eazier. I sent you an email.

  3. Sharon Troy

    Thanks, Ali. The manicotti was something I experimented with last night. It turned out great, but I need to refine the recipe to make it a little simpler before I post it here.

    The gist of it though, is tofu makes an excellent ricotta substitute. Mash it up with some oil, soy milk, basil, and other seasonings for the right consistency. I hope to get the full recipe up here soon!

  4. Sharon Troy

    Hehe, thanks DeWeese. I should have all of my non-vegan friends testify on here that the food I eat is not scary or gross. :-)

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