It seems like brussels sprouts get a bad reputation as the Most Hated Veggie. I think this hatred starts for most in childhood, perhaps from a tragic home-cooked dinner gone wrong. Does the thought of bitter, rubbery steamed brussels sprouts bring back bad memories? Yep, maybe it was the brussels sprouts on your plate that stood as the only obstacle between you and dessert. Brutal. I’m so sorry if this type of experience caused you to take an oath against the little sprout forever. Hopefully today’s post will change that.
I never hated these green orbs, so maybe that’s why I feel especially passionate about making sure everyone knows how truly awesome they can be. Just as you would imagine with any green or cruciferous veggie, brussels sprouts are a nutritional powerhouse. They are full of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Not to mention, brussels sprouts contain antioxidants including zea-xanthin, lutein, isothiocyanates, quercetin, and many more. These anti-oxidants work to protect against cancer and neutralize free radicals. Brussels sprouts also contain a sulfur-containing compound ( sulfur is the reason behind the pretty unmistakable smell that comes with the cruciferous veggie territory) called D3T for short. Feeling science-y? D3T is short for 3H-1,2-dithiole-3-thione. Anyone else having flashback to organic chemistry? Anyway, D3T and other sulfur-containing compounds in brussels sprouts support the body’s detoxification systems. Kind of must-have after the holidays, right? Say no to the juice cleanse and just eat this salad, please!
This salad is so full of contrasting textures, which is definitely one of the many reasons this salad is a star. You get the slight tender-yet-firm bite of the brussels sprouts, the al dente chew of the farro, the juicy burst of the pomegranate seeds, and of course, the creamy smoothness of the goat cheese. If you are in “detox-mode”, or you just don’t do dairy, feel free to omit the goat cheese. This salad is great as a side dish for dinner, or an filling entree for lunch. Some rosemary chicken would be bomb with this to add an extra boost of protein.
Winter Brussels Sprout Salad
- 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, sliced in half
- 1 TBS oil ( I used avocado oil)
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
- 1 cup cooked farro
- 2/3 cup pomegranate seeds
- 3 oz goat cheese
- salt, pepper, to taste
For the Dressing: I keep it really easy. Typically when I make dressings, I don’t really measure the ingredients. I just eyeball it and go by taste. If it’s too tangy, add a bit more oil. If it’s too sweet, try more vinegar. Play with it and you will come up with your favorite “formulas”. There is a pretty standard rule to play by: acid to oil ratio of 1:2. Other than that, anything goes!
- 1 part balsamic vinegar
- 2 parts olive oil
- 1 TBS mustard
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, place brussels sprouts and fennel in an even layer. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30- 40 minutes.
- Make dressing while you wait for the veggies to roast. Simply add all ingredients to a bowl, starting with the vinegar, and whisk away!
- When brussels sprouts and fennel are done roasting, place them in a large bowl. Add the farro, goat cheese, and pomegranate seeds, then toss it all together. Add the dressing, and toss once more. Bon Appetit!
- As a note, it’s okay to add the dressing even if you are making the salad in advance. This is one of those recipes that can stay in the fridge to “marinate”. The flavors get even better the next day!
I’m not psychic, but I feel like brussels sprouts might have their “kale moment” in 2016. They started popping up as sweet and savory side dishes at trendy restaurants from New York to Los Angeles in 2015, but I think they might just reach mainstream popularity and get their much deserved 15 minutes of fame. Let me know in the comments- are you a brussels sprout lover or hater? Try this recipe, and I have a feeling you will fall into the former category. Have a fabulous week!