Brussels Sprouts CAN Be Delicious!
Cruciferous what? Who knew? Not me. Apparently it’s a whole category of veggies that are chock full of good things. Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli… I knew individually, of course, that they are supposed to be good for me. A little research and the words antioxidants, vitamins K and C, cancer-fighting properties, digestive properties, and cardiovascular health jumped off the page. Cruciferous veggies seem to be a gold mine of health begging to be included daily and weekly in anyone’s diet, but especially for boomers. All of those benefits, cliché though it is, are just what the doctor orders. Try for 5 times a week! (See bottom of blog for a list of cruciferous vegetables*)
I plan to investigate some of the veggies that don’t appear on dinner plates at our house often enough or not at all. I’ll begin with Brussels sprouts because, more often than not, some seem to turn their noses up at the very thought of them. Often scoffed at, they can be delicious in the right recipes. No longer need they be boiled in a little salted water and served. Brussels sprouts seem to offer anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, cardiovascular health, cancer protection, lower cholesterol, and fiber. They are high in vitamins K and C which promote a healthy immune system and bone health among other things.
My challenge is to find healthy recipes that will tantalize those tastebuds. Something delicious enough for a second helping and also to make again next week. Let me know what you think!
Tips for Brussels sprouts
- Look for firm sprouts with compact heads. Avoid wilted, soft or dull heads. Place unwashed sprouts in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and plan to use them in a day or two. Otherwise blanch them for 2 – 5 minutes (depending on size), put them in an ice-water bath, flash freeze on a cookie sheet, place in a plastic storage bag, and into the freezer. (Longer storage in refrigerator tends to cause them to develop a strong flavor)
- Try to buy them in fall at your farmers’ market and freeze them for winter. Buy them on the stalk, just picked, at a local produce farm.
The first recipe to entice you:
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Raisins (4 servings)
2 – 3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 slices turkey bacon
4 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 – 2 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- Cook turkey bacon in microwave or in skillet till crisp, crumble, and set aside.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in skillet, add sprouts, stirring often until carmelized (browned in spots) and beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil with green onions and raisins and sauté until onion softens, about 3 minutes.
- Add broth and increase heat and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer till broth has mostly evaporated.
- Stir in vinegar and bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Bits of bacon and golden raisins add a smoky sweetness to the sprouts. This recipe comes from Bon Appétit. I tweaked it a bit and substituted turkey bacon for regular bacon and olive oil for butter, with healthier fats in mind. Turkey bacon has about half the saturated fat.
*** Cruciferous vegetables, AKA Super Veggies because they know how to keep you at your best: arugula, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage (green, red, and napa), Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi, tatsoi, watercress, radishes, rutabaga, and turnips.
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