Brussel Sprouts are misunderstood-probably because most people don't know how to cook them properly. - Todd English
Spice of this week: Brussel Sprouts
Benefits: High in fiber, Vitamin C and K. Member of the cruciferous family, not only are Brussel Sprouts great for digestion, and lowering cholesterol, they provide excellent nutrient support to cancer prevention systems in our body.
Cooking tip: After cutting them, let them sit for 5 min before cooking them to enhance their nutritional benefits. Steaming, baking or roasting them are great cooking methods to elevate their sweetness and nutty flavor. Avoid overcooking to prevent an unpleasant sulfuric smell.
I just had a wonderful ski break with my family in Courchevel, France over winter break. If God made heaven, I’m sure this was it! The Alps are magnificent in their sheer size and beauty. While skiing, there were moments where I felt like I was slipping in and out of a meditative state...it's a place where one can get totally lost in nature's pure beauty.
Another fantastic advantage of skiing in Europe is the high quality food available on mountain restaurants that boast freshness, ingenuity and taste. We truly had the time of our lives!
Rested and refreshed, I dabbled with two new recipes this week. Of course, I had to choose something healthy because I had totally indulged in all the goodies in France. Looking like mini cabbages, Brussel sprouts had caught my attention a few years ago. As a child I never ate them, as they were not available in India (I am not sure if they are available there now). In the past, I have followed recipes to cook these cuties, but as I started having more confidence in cooking with them, I started experimenting. I would love to know how you prepare your Brussel sprouts…Please do share!
Brussel Sprouts, Butternut Squash and Tofu Salad
Serves: 4-6 people
Prep time: 20min
Cooking time: 15 min
1lb Brussel sprouts, washed and cut into quarters
½ butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½” squares
1 package tofu, drained for ½ hour and cut into ½” squares
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp peanut oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbps balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
¼ tsp crushed red chilies
¼ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely crushed
¼ cup scallion greens, cut on the diagonal
¼ cup basil leaves, torn
Few cilantro leaves for garnish
4 Tbsp cranberries
4Tbsp caramelized pecans
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400F
In a bowl, toss half the olive oil with the brussel sprouts, salt and pepper.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper, spread the brussel sprouts, and roast them till cooked (approximately 15 min), making sure to toss them in between. Avoid over browning as the leaves will taste bitter.
Mix the other half of the olive oil with the butternut squash, salt and pepper and roast them as well till cooked.
In a wok, add peanut oil and stir fry the tofu and garlic over high heat to get some color. Add the brussel sprouts and butternut squash, balsamic vinegar, crushed red pepper and salt. Stir for a couple of minutes till the mixture is hot. Take off the fame and add the scallion leaves, pecans and cranberries. Place in the desired plate or serving dish and garnish with basil leaves.
Brussel Sprouts and Zucchini Soup
Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 15 min
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup celery, diced small
6.5 oz brussel sprouts, cut into quarters
1 cup zuchhini, diced small
3 cups vegetable broth
¼ cup parsely leaves
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil for garnish
Heat the oil in a soup pot. Sauté the onions till translucent, stir in the garlic and cook till the pungent smell is gone. Next, add the celery, brussel sprouts and zuchhini and let the vegetables steam for a few minutes. Now add the stock, bring to a boil and then reduce the flame to a simmer for about 12 minutes. Check to see if vegetables are cooked and then let the broth cool down a bit. Blend with parsely leaves in a Vitamix (my secret weapon) till smooth and creamy and pour back into the soup pot. Add the seasoning and heat. Pour into the desired bowls and garnish with a parsley leaf and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.