Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I took my little ones to the store the other day, and while we are there I always let my kids pick out whatever they want from the produce section. This makes them more adventurous eaters and expands their pallets. Well, my 3 year old wanted to try the Brussel sprouts. (My oldest daughter was drawn to the brussel sprouts at the same age. It must be because they are so cute and small.) If you've never had a brussel sprout before, they are basically teeny-tiny cabbages. We've had this vegetable before, but we don't eat it often, so I bought a pound and brought them home. She was very excited to help me prep and bake them, and as equally excited to taste them. In the end, they were a big hit with everyone - my 7 yr old and 1 yr olds wanted seconds, which is the highest compliment a cook can get. :)
   While this isn't really a "recipe," it's more of an idea. Take a vegetable that you (or your kids) thought they didn't like and try them in a new way. I usually make my brussel sprouts in a saute pan with bacon, but my friend Dayna suggested baking them instead. (Thank you Dayna!) It was a welcomed change (and a healthier one too). You could also drizzle them with balsamic vinegar, but I just went for the basics: olive oil, salt and pepper.
   I hope this post inspires you to try something new. Whether it's trying a new item in the produce section, or making an old favorite in a new way. We should all learn to get out of our own way sometimes and be more adventurous with food. Even if you don't want to make brussel sprouts, try something new and let me know how it goes. :)

Here's what I did:

I washed and dried about 1 pound of brussel sprouts. 

I trimmed the ends off and peeled off any loose outer leaves. (The sprout heads should be tight and firm.)

Then I cut the large ones in half vertically. This ensures that all the sprouts are done at the same time.

They all go into a zip-top bag with 1 Tbsp olive oil. (I used extra virgin olive oil, because that is what I keep on hand, but any would do.)

Then I sprinkled in 1 tsp of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. (This is to taste.)

The final step is to spread out the sprouts onto a baking sheet. I like to line mine with parchment paper so that the clean-up is super easy. (I actually just took a batch of cookies out of the oven, and off this same parchment paper, so the little brown crumbs you see are cookie crumbs.) 

I roasted them @ 400F for about 10 minutes (until they were browned). Depending on how big your sprouts are, how many you are roasting, and your specific oven, they could take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.

Aren't they pretty? My favorite parts were the leaves that fell off and roasted individually. They turned crispy like chips. YUM!  I served this along side my Papa's Chicken Tortilla Casserole. Admittedly not the most perfect pairing in the world, but the family enjoyed both offerings. :)

Here's the recipe:

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

1 pound brussel sprouts, washed, dried and trimmed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt (to taste)
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut any large sprouts in half, vertically, so all the brussel sprouts are roughly the same size. Place the prepared sprouts into a large zip-top bag with the olive oil. Seal the bag and toss the sprouts around to evenly coat them in the oil. Then open the bag and add the salt and pepper. Seal the bag and toss the sprouts again to evenly distribute the salt and pepper. Spread the sprouts evenly onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Roast @ 400F for 10-20 minutes (until they are browned and cooked through). Serve immediately.

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