Brussels sprouts, do you love them or hate them? Growing up, we never really had Brussels sprouts, but I just assumed from all the movie and TV references that they must be reaaallly bad. How many times have we seen a kid sitting at the dinner table in a TV show or movie, arms folded with a look of absolute despair on his pitiful face, whining “Oh no, not Brussels sprouuuuts!”? More times than I could even count. Imagine my surprise when I finally tried Brussels sprouts and they were… delicious!
The key is in the preparation. I’ve only had roasted Brussels sprouts, so I can imagine perhaps after boiling or steaming them they might be a bland or mushy to a kid. When you roast them, they caramelize, and the loose leaves get brown and crispy and oh so yummy. They taste like a cross between broccoli and cabbage, which makes sense, since they cruciferous vegetables and part of brassica family, like cabbage. There’s about a million different ways to flavor your Brussels sprouts. I like a little sweet and a little salty. Humusapien has some awesome B. sprouts recipes on her site, and I’ve tried and loved them all. For this recipe I wanted a festive Brussels sprouts dish that incorporated some of my favorite flavors of the season. This would make a perfect side dish at your next get together, and it’s pretty no-fuss which is always a bonus if you’re making a table full of other dishes as well.
Brussels sprouts are extremely high in vitamin K and vitamin C, and are a very good source of folate, manganese, fiber, vitamin B1 and B6, choline, copper, potassium, and phosporous. Brussels sprouts have great detoxifying properties in the body. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, “[T]here is evidence from human studies that enzyme systems in our cells required for detoxification of cancer-causing substances can be activated by compounds made from glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts.” Furthermore, Brussels sprouts boast super high amount of sulfurs, which is probably why little Jimmy in my example above turned his nose up to his mom’s over-cooked side dish (over-cooking, usually in liquid, really brings out the sulfur aroma). Sulfur is a really good nutrient for helping our body clear out toxins and protect us from DNA damage that can lead to disease.
Ok, enough science. All nutrition and detoxing benefits aside, this Brussels sprouts dish is just so darn delectable. Especially when adorned with cranberries and pecans with a hint of citrus and maple syrup. I’m 98% sure I’m bringing B. sprouts to our family get-together this Thursday, and I’m hoping to change a few minds about the notorious veggie.
Don’t be like Jimmy. Try these Brussels sprouts and you’ll be saying, “Oh yessss! Brussels sprouts agaaaiiinnnn!”
Maple Orange Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans
- 16 oz. Brussels Sprouts – washed, ends trimmed, and cut in half or thirds
- 2 Tbsp of melted coconut oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp of freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tsp orange zest/grated orange peel
- 1/4 tsp sea salt, or more to taste
- dash of pepper
- 1/4 cup of raw pecan pieces
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss your washed and trimmed Brussels sprouts with all the remaining ingredients except the pecans and cranberries.
- Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, shaking the pan around halfway through cooking time. Roast for another 5 -10 minutes, then take out the pan, add the pecans and cranberries, and continue to roast for another 5 minutes. Total roast time should be around 30 – 35 minutes. If you sliced your brussels sprouts in thirds, they may carmelize faster, so you might want to keep checking on them and take them out when they are browned to your liking. I like mine quite charred on the edges.
- Before serving, I squeezed a little extra orange juice over them.
I will be back with more recipes after the holiday. Hope you all have a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving!
I’m curious, for those of you celebrating American Thanksgiving, what are you bringing to dinner?