Confession time: I never had a Brussels sprout in my life until last year. First, my mom never made it while I was growing up. Second, I never had the compulsion to try it because I associated it with a chorus of kids complaining, “Brussels sprouts—ewwww!” (Note: these are the same brats who think tuna salad is disgusting, and I adore tuna salad. Lesson: one should pay no attention them.)
A day came to pass as I walked through the produce section and wondered, “Could I make Brussels sprouts and have my family enjoy them?” And most importantly, “Could it be easy to make?” Miracles of miracles, I found the answer to be “yes.”
Brussels sprouts remind me of preemie cabbages or magnified nodules of broccoli buds. When roasted, they are slightly sweet and have a nice chew. If you do it right, you can have some crispy bits a la crispy kale. (The crispy bits are my favorite, but you have to eat them straight from the oven before they cool and lose their crispiness.)
To get the Princess onboard. I decided to incorporate one of her favorite ingredients—bacon. Voila! After her first bite, she decided it was one of her favorite vegetables.
Recipe: Mama Sophia’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts (for the Reluctant Veggie Eater)
No-salt seasoning (I use Kirkland’s Organic No-Salt Seasoning)
Freshly ground pepper
Bacon (precooked) or Spam (diced—doesn’t have to be precooked) or ham
Preheat oven to broil. Remove brown and yellow bits. Rinse sprouts. Cut off bottoms and then lengthwise into quarters (or halves if they are small). Put cut Brussels sprouts on a foil-lined baking pan, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle no-salt seasoning, generously add fresh ground pepper, chopped bacon (or Spam or ham), toss everything together. Broil for 15 to 20 minutes; check at halfway point to stir. Serve immediately.
Add dried cranberries before broiling for color and sweet-tartness.
If there is no bacon on hand, Spam or ham works just as well, too. The saltiness of the bacon/spam adds a nice counterpoint to the natural sweetness of sprouts.
If you’re not a fan of pork products, simply season with sea salt or pink himalayan salt before broiling.
Some people might enjoy topping with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.