It’s Friday and the start of my eight series post all on Thanksgiving. Eight posts, eight delicious traditional and healthified thanksgiving dishes, leaving you with no more excuses as to why you can’t eat healthy this Holiday season. Whah Whah Whah. So I’d thought we’d jump right in with what could be the most feared vegetable on the planet, Brussels sprouts. Let’s just do it, cook it, eat it, and realize that those little sprouts aren’t so terrible after all. Then we will move on to more fan favorites like green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, biscuits, and even some dessert. Are you drooling now? I promise all of that to come so stayed tuned.
I totally feel you if you have some absurd reason as to why you don’t like Brussels sprouts. We’ve all been there at some point, you can read my Brussels sprouts awakening story here. But I must say, I’ve turned a corner and I know you can as well. This little combo with sweet potatoes, apples and cranberry sauce sweetens it up so much that it really offsets the bitter taste that Brussels sprouts can give off. This is a two-in-one dish, cranberry sauce + brussels sprouts = a better mix of both dishes. It is like a great marriage. Both were fine single, but trust me they are even better married.
And when I start talking about a marriage of two foods is when you know my sleep has hit an all time low. Wow, I really do applaud all of you who have continued to read this through my life saga’s. I’m now going down another rabbit trail because sometimes a momma just needs to vent. Thanks to the littlest in the household, I am beyond exhausted. She is so stinkin’ cute during the day and leads you to believe she is this little perfect baby but then around 11:00 pm every night a little monster emerges. Here is the play-by-play.
Grunting, whining, more grunting, me giving in and feeding her, sleeping peacefully in my arms, lay her in her bed, more grunting, whining, insert pacifier, spit it out, insert pacifier, spit it out, me give up and lay down, more grunting, can’t fall asleep so I pick her up, now she takes her pacifier, back asleep, lay her down, phew asleep, I lay down go to sleep and exactly 1.5 -2 hours later it begins again.
This happens over and over and over until morning hits, I give up on sleeping, she of course is peacefully sleeping and then she awakes smiling, while momma is on the verge of a “tired” meltdown. How and why is it that I wake up a mess and she wakes up with tons of smiles like she got the best night sleep of her life. –>HELP ME!!<–
You would think, being the third I would have this down, but nope. Absolutely no idea why she feels the need to wake up four times a night. I keep reminding her that she isn’t a newborn, that her momma is much more sane when she is well rested and that sleeping through the night would be just fine now that you are four stinkin’ months old. Oh little one we have issues… Can someone please, please, please tell me this is just a phase or else I need some kind of miracle to get this little darling to sleep longer than 2 hours at a time. I’ve heard about the four month regression, but I’m hoping and praying that these nightly shenanigans are just a transition to full nights sleep. That is my hope, please don’t wreck it.
So this marriage of Brussels sprouts + cranberry sauce = combines two traditional Thanksgiving recipes into one new and improve (and more delicious, may I add) sweet potato and brussels sprouts salad with cranberry sauce. So instead of telling you 101 reasons on why you should like Brussels sprouts, lets just go right to the facts and do a little….
Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family also know as the Brassica family, which is a part of the cruciferous vegetables. They literally look like tiny heads of cabbage and are also similar in flavor. They are in season September through mid-February making them a great fall and winter vegetable to pick.
The best tasting, most tender sprouts are only 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The smaller the head, the sweeter the taste. They should be compact, firm and green with minimal nicks and torn or yellowing leaves. The fresher the brussels sprouts the less bitter their taste, so cook them as soon as possible. The longer they sit, their flavor will turn to become unpleasantly strong (roughly 3-4 days from buying).
There are numerous ways to cook brussels sprouts. In the recipe provided I quartered and roasted them, in previous recipes I’ve sliced them and some people cook them whole. No matter how you cook them, just make sure not to overcook them as the sprouts will begin to release sulfur compounds that become especially stinky. If you are new to brussels sprouts I feel like slicing them as you would “slaw” is the most non-threatening way. You could do that in this recipe as well.
No matter how you cook them, Brussels sprouts have tremendous nutritional benefit. There are nearly 100 studies in PubMed that are focused on Brussels sprouts and over half of those specifically relate Brussels sprouts with their relationship to cancer. Brussels sprouts support three body systems; the body’s detox system, its antioxidant system and its inflammatory / anti-inflammatory system, which all aid in cancer prevention. They are full of phytonutrients and are an especially good source of Vitamins, A, K, and C with 1/2 cup of Brussels sprouts providing 80% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. They also contain large amounts of potassium, folate, iron and fiber.
Eat them, in a variety of different ways, with a variety of different flavor combinations. You are sure to develop a taste for them and who knows they could be come a family favorite.
Check out the rest of my Thanksgiving posts:
- 2 pounds brussels sprouts, quartered
- 6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly cracked salt & pepper
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 3 apples, peeled and cubed
- ½ pound fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
- 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger or ½ tsp dried
- finely grated orange zest, 1 orange
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare two large baking sheets and place quartered brussels sprouts on one pan and the cubed apples and sweet potatoes on another.
- Toss with oil and sprinkle with freshly cracked salt and pepper.
- Roast for 40 minutes, or until tender, turning once if needed.
- Meanwhile in a saucepan add cranberries, maple syrup, ginger, orange zest and balsamic vinegar.
- Heat over low heat while mashing cranberries to release their juices.
- Continue simmering and stirring until you have a nice sauce.
- Once your sauce begins to form, melt butter in a larger saucepan, add shallot and chopped thyme. Immediately mix in the cranberry sauce, stirring to combine.
- Remove Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and apples from oven and place in a large bowl, pour in the cranberry butter sauce and toss to coat.
- Serve warm.