Ah, Brussels sprouts. Reviled by so many for so long…including me. I distinctly remember my youth and the sulphuric smell permeating through the house, almost overtaking the wonderful turkey aromas I so looked forward to. Fast forward to present day where now it seems savvy restaurants, cooking shows and cookbooks (like ours!) are doing their part to bring this brassica back into favor with everyone. No, hell hath not frozen over (though my love for the Brussels sprouts might have fooled my mom into thinking so); rather, prepared in certain ways – maybe even with this recipe of ours – you or someone you know might turn into a Brussels sprouts lover too*.
Let’s backtrack a moment, and give you the lowdown on these super tasty, incredibly nutritious veggies. We might even convince you or someone you love to give these a go for your holiday menus!
For starters: properly written, it is Brussels (yep, capitalized B, and with an s on the end. Just like the city in Belgium, which is usually called Brussels by us English speaking folks) sprouts. Because – yes – these veggies get their name from that city in Belgium. So next time you’re in a quandary as to whether it’s Brussel or Brussels – just remember the city in Belgium!
Nutritionally, these little sprouts pack quite a punch. The good folks at World’s Healthiest Foods did this nice little chart that shows all the various nutrients you can find in 1 cup of Brussels sprouts (see below). These little green cabbage-like tasty morsels have been linked to lowering cholesterol, cancer protection, DNA protection and more. Basically, it’s hard to argue about these being a healthy choice or not. *Despite these being a pretty awesome “super food,” there are some poor souls who actually are often deemed “super tasters” as it relates to the TAS2R38 gene and if they . But hey – evolutionarily speaking, it made sense for them to be able to taste Brussels sprouts as bitter, as explained here. However, prepared in certain ways, even super tasters might be able to overcome their disdain for them (though we do not guarantee this. Kind of like how cilantro haters probably won’t be easily won over by some special preparation)!
While we’re partial to this slaw rendition, recently I’ve just been oven roasting them in our cast iron skillet with some bacon and/or shallots. Simple and easy. And I have to give the plug for our favorite restaurant in Atlanta (Local Three), as every year they have a Brussels sprouts preparation that will knock your socks off. For our baby shower, we actually requested their duck fat-fried Brussels sprouts with a brown butter/sherry vinegar sauce. So tasty (and yes, I realize I may have been the only mom-to-be who had Brussels sprouts at her baby shower)!
Following is one of our favorite ways to prepare Brussels sprouts. Hope you’ll give them a try and see if you can win the taste buds of some folks close to you!
- 1 cup pecans, toasted
- 1/2 pound bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed
- 2 green onions (scallions), sliced on the bias
- salt and pepper
- (if your pecans aren't already toasted, then simply heat a large skillet over medium heat, toss your pecans in, and toast until fragrant, being careful not to burn)
- In a large sauté pan or skillet, cook bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan, saving the bacon grease (if you have loads of bacon grease, pour some off and save for future use). Crumble up the bacon and set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice together
- Using the 1/8 or 1/4 inch slicing disk on your food processor, slice the Brussels sprouts.
- Heat the skillet (the one with the bacon grease) over medium heat, and add the sliced Brussels sprouts, sautéing until softened and slightly browned.
- Pour the mustard/vinegar/lemon/olive oil mixture over the sprouts, stirring to combine. Mix in 1/2 the pecans, bacon and scallions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place slaw in a serving dish and serve with the remaining pecans on top.
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