Friday, February 26, 2010

Bad Rap

Brussels sprouts get a bad rap. So much so that I spent the past 38 years assuming I did not like this little vegetable because of the negative press it often gets. Well it turns out that Brussels sprouts are actually pretty tasty and they top the charts for soluble fiber, with 2 grams per ½-cup serving. Paired with omega-3 rich walnuts and antioxidant rich dried cranberries, this is one heart-healthy dish.

Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 tsp. olive oil
1 ½ lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 medium shallots, halved and sliced (1/4 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
¼ cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries
1 Tbs. agave nectar
1 cup water
1 Tbs. walnut oil

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add walnuts and toast 3 to 4 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Wipe out skillet and return to heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat pan. Add Brussels sprouts and cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add shallots and garlic and cook 1 minute.

Stir in cranberries, agave and 1 cup water. Partially cover pot, reduce heat to medium and simmer 5-7 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated and B. sprouts are just tender.

Transfer to serving bowl and stir in walnut oil and toasted walnuts. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Note: I did not have walnut oil so I just omitted it from the recipe and it was still delicious.

If you've never tried Brussels sprouts, give this recipe a try. You might be surprised. We were fully prepared to choke it down and take one for the FAL team, but both Eric and I went back for seconds. That's right ... a second serving of Brussels sprouts?!?

In addition to the delicious side-dish, we learned a very important lesson: never judge a vegetable by its reputation alone.


  1. I remember hating brussel sprouts as a kid and never tried them again until about 4 years ago when a friend served them at dinner. I was prepared to have to stomach this strange, smelly green ball of fiber and was pleasantly surprised and I too went back for seconds!

    I saute garlic & onion in about 1 tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil for about 1 min and then add the sprouts and cook till tender on about med heat.

    On a follow up note from yesterday...I made my delicious Vermont grilled cheese with sharp cheddar & chopped apples with agave drizzled over the top. I cleared the table off, moved my pretty tulips to the table, and sat down to eat. It was really hard to JUST eat, I wanted to flip through my new Eating Well magazine or bring my laptop to the table to catch up on facebook, etc. Then I just settled into my chair to eat & savor the food and really let myself enjoy it...that takes discipline. For the last 3 years, I've just gulped food down and not really enjoyed it and "TASTED" what I was eating. Oh and I did eat all of it and for the first few minutes after I ate it I wanted to make another and enjoy MORE. Then I thought, am I really going to get anything else, taste wise out of another one? No, because I tasted the sandwich for like 15 minutes, I had the fullness of the taste & texture...I knew then I just wanted something else to fill me up. So, I went outside and sat in the sunshine! Great experiment, I highly recommend it!

  2. I have ALWAYS loved brussel sprouts! My mom makes them every Thanksgiving and it wouldn't be the same without them. This recipe is a must try for me.


  3. LWL: Good for you! That's one of the biggest culprits of over-eating -- NOT TASTING the food b/c we are multi-tasking, standing up while eating, etc. So we eat much more than normal b/c we aren't letting ourselves savor the taste, smell, sight of the food. It all plays in to feelng satisfied with what we've consumed. Well done.

  4. LWL - awesome. I eat lunch at my desk almost every single day, while surfing the web or working, and I am sure it is not good for me. I always eat my entire lunch, whether I'm hungry or not, because I don't take enough time to listen to my body and figure out why I am STILL EATING.

    Erin - um, have you been secretly talking to Rob? he freaking loves brussel sprouts and I never make them. But, once again, in the spirit of FAL, and for my darling husband (eye roll), I will give the new recipe a try.

    I made a quick version of the red beans and rice last night, and it got a thumbs up from Rob.


  5. Yes Kelly, Rob now has me on speed dial and I am working for him. Seriously, make this dish ... they were darn good. I mean, ERIC liked them. 'Nuf said.