Monday, October 3, 2011

How I Made Brussel Sprouts Taste Good

I remember as a kid my mom cooking all day to get thanksgiving dinner on the table. Me, being the difficult, ungrateful picky eater of the family, I always had a running commentary going in the background. The one and only time I tasted brussel sprouts was during a thanksgiving dinner where I took one bite and said, "Brussel sprouts taste like ear wax!" I likely followed this with refusing to eat or dry heaving at the table.
Scary, scary brussel sprouts!

I have not eaten brussel sprouts since and I don't know if my mother had another family thanksgiving ever since. There was a small twinge of guilt as I made this recipe. When I was a kid, I was the pickiest eater in the world. Only in the past five years have I really opened my horizons to trying new foods and retrying things I hated as a child. Going vegan took it to a whole new level.

Life Lesson: Your taste buds change over time.

So, brussel sprouts... a hated vegetable of children and a regular attendee at holiday meals. t are they healthy? Yes, yes they are. Brussels sprouts are full of nutrients and contain tons of vitamin C. One serving of Brussels sprouts contain the adult daily requirement for vitamin C. Brussels sprouts contain indoles, which are known for their cancer fighting properties and they are also a decent source of folate, potassium, vitamin K, fibre and beta carotene.

So, I think it is time for me to retry this weird little holiday veggie. In order to get over my bad memories of brussel sprouts, I knew I needed to jazz them up a bit. I found a very yummy looking recipe in Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's book Color Me Vegan. I put my own spin on her recipe to give brussel sprouts a second chance in my life.

Autumn Brussel Sprouts 
Adapted from Color Me Vegan
Makes 4 servings, approx 15 min
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 12-14 large brussel sprouts, chopped in half and sliced (fill your pan)
  • 1/8 cup raisins (I used dried pomegranate)
  • 1 small apple, diced or slice thinly (peel on)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 handful of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lime, zested (save the juice)
  • 1 handful of pecans, toasted and chopped coarsely
  • 1 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped (optional)

In a small pan, toast the pecans and set aside. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Chop up the vegetables and once hot, add the shredded brussel sprouts. Toss in the oil to coat and saute for about 8 minutes, or until they are bright green and looking cooked. Next add the garlic, apple, maple, balsamic, lime zest, pecans and pumpkin seeds. Stir well and a cook for about 5 minutes or so until it is heated through.
Coleen Patrick-Goudreau was right, it is worth shredding these
The Sprouts brighten once you cook them, easy to tell when it's ready

Remove from the heat and toss in the raisins, lime juice and the cilantro. Serve along side your favourite grain and protein or with your thanksgiving dinner!
Voila! Serve with your Thanksgiving Dinner... or be like me and just eat it on its own
I have to say, If I hadn't added so many strong flavours, I am not sure if Brussel Sprouts would be one of my favourite vegetables. On their own, they are OK, but combined with all of these bright flavours and this is one healthy side dish they I will eat any day! In fact, this may end up being my lunch tomorrow! :)

My vegan roommates cried the whole time I was making this to see if I would share. I didn't. I am sure they are plotting revenge as we speak. It was worth it!
Ever seen an angry guinea pig? Well, meet Gizmo.. Cavy 101, pigs always get fed first or people die!!


  1. This looks FANTASTIC! I never thought to saute my Brussels sprouts with apple. I can't wait to try this.

  2. I LOVE Brussel sprouts in any form, this looks delicious and SQUEEEE!!!! GIZMO!!!
    He's just adorable.

  3. Well this is interesting! I may have to try this. I have a boy who just might eat it if the sprouts are cut up!

  4. Genius to shred them. Then they don't even look like brussel sprouts. Nice pic of the Giz!

  5. OOO just noticed you're using white balsamic... isn't it the best?!

  6. Ha ha ha! I always remember my Mum eating brussels sprouts and every time she would rave about how they taste "just like candy". She LOVES them (boiled ones too). And every time, I would try one and think they tasted like socks. This went on for years, and finally, when I was about 36, some one gave me a roasted brussels sprout. They are now my favorite vegetable. Glad you gave them another try.

  7. That's such a great idea! I think the only way I can eat brussels sprouts is in shreaded form. :)

  8. Okay, brussel sprouts are so insanely delicious it kinda blew my mind the first time I made them.

    I'm glad to see so many others, including yourself, giving this much-maligned vegetable a try!

  9. Yeah, poor brussel sprouts. I can't wait to try roasting them. I bet that'll be goood!

    And Laura - heck yes white balsamic all the way!