I was definitely one of those picky-eater young kids who only ordered chicken fingers at restaurants and only ate broccoli if it had mounds of (processed) cheese on it. I wouldn’t eat fish and I certainly was not going to eat anything that looked or smelled like fish. And God forbid if my broccoli touched my chicken fingers on the plate. But, as I grew older I began to find solace in our acres of garden, nibbling at snap peas, cherry tomatoes, and peppers. I’d eat barrels of berries and get lost in rows of zucchini, carrots, eggplant, and squash. As a teen I tried new foods as long as I could recognize them, and I became slightly more interested in healthy eating.
And now I’m 27 and a bit obsessed with healthy eating. I jump at the chance to try a new vegetarian dish, and one of my top 3 hobbies is cooking. I have a garden full of kale, swiss chard, turnips, carrots, and peppers. I jump at the chance to manipulate a recipe and do something, as Jeremy calls it, “weird.” So, how is it that I have never eaten Brussels-sprouts? Never. I never even thought to eat Brussels-sprouts. I don’t order them, I don’t buy them, and I’ve never been to anyone’s dinner party who served them. Yet, they’re so cute and small. And, according to one of my favorite food books (The 150 healthiest Foods on Earth), Brussels-sprouts get a gold star. The American Cancer Society marks them as a “key dietary recommendation” and they are high in a number of compounds that I cannot pronounce—isothiocyanates and sulforaphane. It’s time.
I have spent the past few weeks looking for vegetarian thanksgiving recipes to share with my (huge) Italian family this year for the holiday. I discovered Well’s Thanksgiving Series in the New York Times and decided to try the Maple-Roasted Brussels-Sprout recipe. (And for those of you who don’t know me, it’s important to note that I not only love and crave maple syrup daily, but I also take great pride in it, especially after becoming a Vermonter).
This might be one of the only times I followed a recipe almost completely. It is so simple and easy that the only thing I decided to change was the amount of maple syrup. I, of course, doubled it.
I bought a stalk of sprouts rather than a bag of individuals (mostly because it looks so cool).
I broke them off the stalk, peeled any dead leaves, and washed them in cold water. Then, I cut them in half.
I mixed about 1/2 cup of olive oil with some pepper and sea salt and then coated the sprouts in the mixture. After foiling a baking sheet, I spread the sprouts out and roasted at 375 for about 10 minutes. Then, flip the sprouts over with a spatula and roast for another 10-15 minutes.
In a bowl, I poured 4 or 5 tablespoons of maple syrup and then mixed the sprouts in until all were covered.
Put the sprouts back on the baking sheet and roast for 5-10 minutes. (Note, my roasting time differed from the orginial recipe as I saw my sprouts were browning quickly).
Finally, roast some hazelnuts, chop them up, and mix them with the sprouts.
Serve them hot!
They are sweet and flavorful. And they will certainly make our Thanksgiving table this year.
And I have to end with a few quotes from Facebook’s “Brussels-Sprouts Appreciation Society.” (Oh, yes, it’s true). My favorite wall posts:
- To me sprouts are everything, i don’t know what life would be like without them. I eat sprouts in the morning with my sugar puffs, sprout butties at dinner then always have sprouts for tea. I especially like sprouts and ice cream. Sproutastick!!!!
- Sprouts should be worshipped!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- I heart sprouts!! Sprout out brothers and sisters!!