sweet and savory brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts are a funny thing.

I don’t think I had ever tried them until the age of 24.  And then wondered where they had been all my life.  Mom?  Dad??

Why do these beauties get such a bad rap?  I’m pretty sure 89% of the population secretly loves this vegetable and the other 11% are in denial.  I mean, even Jessica loves brussel sprouts!

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A few months back, my mom sent me a few articles + recipes in the mail.  This is a pretty common occurrence, which I love, even though it may take me a month to actually read the articles.

Typically, the article topics are about architecture, food, or something cool about Cleveland, hinting for us to move back. 

In my latest package, there were a few recipes pulled out from the Whole Living magazine.  While I was back home, we decided to try one of them out for Christmas dinner. 

The Whole Living dish we made was for roasted brussel sprouts with grapes and thyme.  Yes, roasted grapes!  The other dish we made was a quinoa salad, with apples, pears, walnuts, dried cranberries, cinnamon roasted walnuts and Angela’s amazing cranberry apple orange salad dressing.

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There were 26 people at Christmas dinner.  Everyone contributed to the meal.  And everything was outstanding.  But I must say the most talked about dish may have been the brussel sprouts.  People were so excited to see them on the spread.

I was kind of embarrassed to bring them.  I felt like I was showing up with steamed broccoli.  Merrrrry Christmas!!!  Eat your vegetables!!!!  I thought we would have to take 1.5 of the 2lbs home with us.  But, to my surprise the pan was wiped clean.  This is when I realized 89% of people love brussel sprouts.

Don’t deny it!

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Roasting grapes was an amazing addition.  Such a fun + unexpected pop of juice!

I have been thinking about them ever since December 25th and finally decided to whip up another batch.  This time with a little different spin.

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I wanted to put this recipe a little more in the winter category with the addition of citrus + pomegranate.  My citrus of choice was the clementine.  They are incredibly easy to peel, have no seeds, and have little pith [the bitter white skin].

While I love brussel sprouts, I actually have a love-hate relationship with pomegranates.  Everyone seems to go ga-ga over this fruit, but I just don’t get it.  You spend an hour popping out these little seeds, inevitably staining your favorite sweater, only to be teased with a single drop of sweet juice from each little pod.  And then, you are left with a fibrous seed, to either spit or swallow.

But about once a year I dig in to this beautiful fruit and enjoy.  Today was that day.

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Sweet and Savory Brussel Sprouts

serves 4

[adapted from Whole Living – Nov 2011 – Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Grapes with Walnuts]

  • 1 lb brussel sprouts
  • 3 clementines, peeled
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts/pecans, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1.5 Tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 450*.
  2. Chop the stems off and slice the brussel sprouts in half. 
  3. Chop the clementines in half.
  4. Toss all ingredients, except for the balsamic vinegar, in a single layer on large baking sheet. 
  5. Roast for 20-25min, until the sprouts are tender and golden brown.
  6. While roasting, gently toast walnuts or pecans in a pan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until golden brown.
  7. Add the balsamic vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pan + gently tossing with the ingredients.
  8. Top with nuts and add more salt if needed.
  9. Serve immediately.

tips/substitutions:  Instead of pomegranate arils, you could also add 3/4 cup chopped cranberries or raisins after the dish is done cooking. 

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If you’re in a rut with what to do with brussel sprouts, this is definitely worth a shot.  A little sweet, a little savory.

89% of people will approve.

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Now, I’m off to finish off the leftovers straight from the fridge, with a side of dark chocolate.