Sunday, March 6, 2011

Brussel Sprouts, the meaty vegetable

I was shopping the other day for a green vegetable that was more substantial than spinach, chard or kale. Athough I enjoyed collards in my soup last week, even they weren't quite "meaty" enough. And then I came across the brussel sprouts. How did I forgt about these meaty little cabbage chunks?

Well, probably because I haven't been roasting veggies lately, instead I've been eating regular consistent daily meals of salad, soup and smoothies. I love to add roasted veggies to salads, but the additional oil used to cook them adds calories I'd rather use elsewhere...for now.

Growing up I had always heard such horrible things about brussel sprouts! Why all the hate? Brussels are a gold mine of a vegetable for a number of reasons. Besides being yummy and filling, brussels are always available, packed with fiber and nutrition, and are more versitile than most people think.

Like cabbage, brussel sprouts can be shredded, eaten raw and used in place of cabbage for slaws. And like cabbage salads they can be dressed lightly in advance. In fact I think I posted a shredded brussel sprout salad recipe somewhere on my blog. If you use the thinnest blade on a mandoline slicer you you can make a lovely salad, or add shredded brussels to another kind of salad.

Another recipe I posted I had used brussels to make pesto....goodness, I was hooked on brussel sprout pesto for a few weeks the year before last! I used it to spread on crackers and as a pizza topping, as well as a sauce for pasta. Traditional pesto is basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan cheese, so you can make pesto from so many other veggies as long as you keep the basic ingredients the same. Spinach is popular, or any kind of leafy green veg, and for me the addition of a jalapeno pepper is always an option!

brussel sprouts
nut (I'm not sure I used any, but if I did it was almonds)
olive oil

You could add a bit of basil or parsley to brighten it up (I almost always use a bit of parsley for this reason and to help keep my pestos green) Salt for seasoning should be a given! Taste your food!

In these pictures I had pressure cooked some lentils Wednesday morning and when I took the lid off of the PC I noticed that I had added too much water and the lentils were more soupy than I had planned. I thought, darn! How can I fix this? Oh yes....I have those brussels in the fridge, I'll just cut them in half and PC them for about three minutes along with the lentils....voila! In all honesty I over cooked them! That pressure cooker is intense! 1 minute would have been fine, but now I know for next time.

Besides roasting, how do you use brussel sprouts?


Fatguy said...

To answer your question of why all the hate, I know why, for me. Growing up, my mother's method for cooking veggies was to boil them beyond recognition into a mushy paste, barely holding on to their original form. I had no idea I liked brussel sprouts (or asparagus) until I tried them blanched, with a pat of butter. DELISH! (although now, instead of butter, I do a butter flavored spritz, or just salt, pepper (I've been tempted to try them with Frank's Red Hot).

I've even tried brussels on the grill! I don't have the time quite right yet, but brush them with EVOO, then plop them on a hot grill for about 3 minutes.

Diana said...

What's better than a brussel sprout? NOT a damn thing! Besides roasting with just a hint of olive oil, then sprinkled with tons of garlic, then a dash salt/pepper I like to cut them julienne style. Then brown them in a smidge of olive oil for like 3 minutes, if even that, and then right at the end.........I throw in a dash of either fresh lime or lemon juice! Awesome! My preference is the lime-because I LOVE anything sour. Since lime brussel sprouts are probably WAY healthier than a bag of sour patch kids, I use lime!
I attempted to roast kale a short time ago-didn't work so well, cooked it way too long and it was nothing but toasted fragments that broke up and turned into ashes when I touched it! Need to work on that somehow......

Tracy Reifkind said...

FG, that explaination makes sense! My mother never cooked vegetables, so I don't have those memories. My veggies growing up were a small green salad of just iceberg, and tomato drowning in blue cheese or 1000 island dressing (I was the one drowning it, not mom)

on the grill is an excellent idea...why haven't I done that yet?

Tracy Reifkind said...


Great idea with the lime!

Mark Reifkind said...



Diana said...

Haha! You can keep the lobster, I'll take Steak!