When I was a kid, I'd run the other way if anyone made mention of the words "Brussel sprouts." While I liked many vegetables, these boiled, mushy, over-salted green balls were simply...YUCK! Even as my taste buds got more adventurous, I continued to shy away from this particular cruciferous vegetable.
One Thanksgiving, a number of years ago now, our lovely sister-in-law Sue reintroduced us to these tiny, green, cabbage-like vegetables, prepared in a completely different way. She brought forth a steaming bowl of roasted Brussel sprouts, which had been coated in olive oil, fresh garlic, sea salt, and cracked pepper. Tentatively, I tried one, then another, and within a few minutes, found myself guarding the serving bowl, hoping that no one else wanted any seconds. Where had these been all of my life? A new love affair began...and we started thinking of all the different ways to use and eat roasted Brussel sprouts!
Here's one of our favorite ways to make a fun, colorful, healthy salad for any time of year, and works well as an accompaniment to any main dish at a holiday table. This can be made the day before an event, thus reducing the stress on the kitchen and chefs. This recipe is designed for 3-4 servings, and all of the ingredients are estimates. You want more or less of this or that? Go for it!
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1/2 pound of Brussel sprouts, sliced in half
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
Dash of sea salt
Dash of cracked black pepper
15 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 tub of blue/gorgonzola cheese
4 healthy stalks of curly kale, stripped and chop into small pieces
2 tsp olive oil (for massaging the kale)
8 marinated artichoke halves, split in half
1/4 cup of dried cranberries
1/4 cup of toasted slivered almonds
Salt & pepper to taste
Balsamic vinaigrette, to taste
While you can roast Brussel sprouts in the oven, we love to make them over a grill or on the stove top as they take less time and tend to get less mushy. Slice them in half, trim off the stem end a bit, and put them in a large mixing bowl. Coat them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Roast the sprouts in a large covered pan for about 15-20 minutes, turning regularly to get a good char on each side. When you can easily poke them with a fork, remove them from the heat and let them completely cool. Note: You are seeking an al dente texture, not mushy.
While the sprouts are roasting, massage the kale with 2 tsp of olive oil, salt, and pepper until the leaves are coated and feel more tender. If you’ve never done this, just work it around the bowl, through your hands, giving it a good “massage.” Set aside.
Once the sprouts are cooled, mix in the rest of the rest of the ingredients, toss with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette and serve!
Meet the authors: Shari and Hutch from Freedom in a Can!
In 2012, Shari Galiardi & David Hutchison left behind careers and a comfortable home in North Carolina to travel with the vintage camper trailer they lovingly restored, outfitted with solar, and named "Hamlet." What began as a short break from careers and responsibility quickly turned into a love affair with roadlife. They have parlayed their higher education backgrounds, desire for life-long learning, and thirst for adventure travel into writing, photography, video production, public speaking gigs from coast to coast, and cooking. Known to their friends as simply Shari & Hutch, you can learn more about their full-time, solar-powered adventures on their website at freedominacan.com. Or, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube as “Freedom in a Can, LLC.”