Meatless Monday: Brussels Sprouts

Don’t run away!

I have to say here: I did not grow up eating overcooked vegetables. My mother tended to steam vegetables, or roast them along-side meat. She did not boil vegetables into gray slime. So I have always had an appreciation for vegetables.

However, my mother also always knew her limits. If you are an adult of a certain age, you may have been subjected as a kid to the rather infamous meal of liver and onions. Once as a child, I asked my mom, who often ordered liver and onions when we dined out, why she never cooked liver and onions at home.

This is what she told me: “When I was first married, I wasn’t a stellar cook. But it was important to me that I learn how. So I followed a lot of recipes, and tried to make your dad meals I thought he would like. One night, I decided to cook liver and onions.” She stopped and shook her head. “Dawn, it was so bad, the dog wouldn’t eat it.” She doesn’t mention if the vegetable she served with that meal was Brussels sprouts, but I know that we seldom had them as kids.

As an adult, I have generally liked sprouts, but I’ve really only had them steamed with butter, or butter and lemon.

Then Dan and I went to Toast! (Which, just, if you have any special event in your life — or even if you don’t — just go. It’s stellar. Dan and I usually need an excuse to dine out at a nice restaurant, but if you just enjoy a good meal out with tasty wines, Toast! is a fantastic choice.)

My appetizer was roasted Brussels sprouts with lemon zest and truffle oil. They were crisp and delicious. (They are usually prepared with bacon, which I’m sure adds a whole new layer.) Since Dan liked them, I decided I was going to try to make them some time. Dan comes from a household where vegetables were cooked within an inch of their lives; I refer to this as Irish cooking (please note: I am half Irish). He thought cooked spinach was supposed to be gray.

I served Brussels sprouts Saturday night with the meal my mother made, and they were a hit. My father, another product of Irish cooking, tried them, although he didn’t exactly have many. Dan thought they were great — could’ve been more crisp. My mom and I loved them.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons honey
Olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Whisk together honey, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Spread Brussels sprouts on a foil-lined, non-stick sprayed cookie sheet. Drizzle the honey-vinegar over the sprouts, and toss them to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper.

Roast sprouts between 20 and 30 minutes, until outer leaves start to get crispy and black.

Did you mother cook vegetables well, or too well done?

Please stay tuned! I have a special post and a giveaway (! I know!) coming up on Wednesday.

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8 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: Brussels Sprouts

  1. The brussel sprouts sound excellent! I am on the only one in the family that like brussel sprouts, we are going to try it to see if that will help anyone else like them. Also, will be looking for a reason to try Toast out some time. My wife and I also don’t get out much without the kids, so we may check that out. I have been wanting to try the Melting Pot in South Side for a bit also. Thanks for the post, always enjoy reading them.

    • Yeah, I couldn’t convince the kids to try them. Some day. Same thing with cabbage. I’m the only one who likes cabbage. I think I could bring my husband around if he would try a couple of different things. He really enjoyed kale “chips”, so I’m making progress on that front.

      Toast! is unbelievably good. We didn’t have a bad bite of food or sip of wine.

      I’ve never been to the the Melting Pot either. Some day!

  2. My mother never overcooked a vegetable in her life, and I grew up with an appreciation of most vegetables. However, she never made me eat brussels sprouts because she wouldn’t eat them herself. She wasn’t a fan to begin with, and when she was in her 20s, she would take her declining grandmother (Little Nana) grocery shopping every week. Little Nana thought that mom LOVED brussels sprouts and so she made them for her, every single week. And of course you can’t tell your dear sainted Nana that you don’t like what she cooks for you, so she dutifully ate every single one of those brussels sprouts, every week.

    Thus, she doesn’t think she is required to eat another one for the rest of her life, and she wouldn’t make me eat something she wasn’t willing to eat either.

    • Interestingly enough, that’s why my mother doesn’t eat pizza (the once-a-week thing, not the Nana thing).

      Are you willing to try Brussels sprouts? If you like veggies, you should like them! πŸ˜‰

  3. I have to say, my mother overcooked the brussels sprouts (and most veggies) when we were kids, so I grew up thinking they were just awful and smelly. Then, when I started to make a point to eat healthier, I bought some brussels sprouts on the “vine” at Trader Joe’s and roasted them. They were fantastic — not at all like what I remembered as a kid — and we have them every so often around here. My hubby’s mother definitely overcooked the veggies (and she still does) so I really think that plays largely into why I struggle so much to get him to eat vegetables!

    • I’ve tried them. They are alright, better if they’re small and roasted with good flavorings. Not my favorite; too much foot aftertaste.

    • Many a clueless mom has ruined veggies for her kids. I am hoping not to do that for my sweetie pies! Of course, kids like something one day and refuse it the next, so I just gotta keep trying. I’m glad Dan has enough faith to at least give unfamiliar veggies a shot. He’s a good example for our kids. πŸ™‚

  4. If you ever want to try some with truffle oil, let me know. I have some. My MIL brought it back from Italy for me – it’s truffle infused olive oil. I’d be happy to lend some as I’ve never figured out what to use it in. πŸ™‚

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