To say I hated brussels sprouts, would be an understatement. As children, we had to eat one piece of everything that was being served at the dinner table. Which usually wasn’t a problem, because I wasn’t a picky eater and had very few disliked foods (canned carrots and peas, beets, brussels sprouts, cottage cheese, and applesauce or any cooked apple )- can’t think of anything else off hand – I even liked liver, (well if it was fried with onions anyway).
I would cry when I saw brussels sprouts.
I still don’t like canned peas or carrots – but like them fresh or frozen. I’ve learned to enjoy beets and cottage cheese. Still don’t like cooked apples (or soft or mushy apples, for that matter), but when it comes to brussels sprouts I’ve not just changed my mind, I’ve experienced a true a conversion – an epiphany really.
Reading a post on roasting vegetables (and already being a fan of pan roasting veggies to bring out awesome flavor), and a poster’s praise of roasted brussels sprouts – I thought it couldn’t hurt to give them another try. Though I have to admit, I was skeptical (also an understatement).
A tip if you don’t like this recipe (or in general, hate all vegetables) – make the recipe using a little (or a lot) more oil and seasonings. I know that’s a sacreligious statement for weight loss – but bear with me – if you find that you like it this way, every time you make it, reduce the amount of oil – until you’re barely using any.
fresh brussels sprouts (I’ve not tried this with frozen, but in theory it would work – but the cooking time would need adjusting)
oil (I prefer canola or walnut – the best thing about walnut oil is that it’s so expensive, it reminds you to use it sparingly).
seasoning of your choice (ranch dressing powder such as a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix is my favorite. Goya brand Adobo seasoning is very good also).
I know, I haven’t given amounts. That’s because exact quantitiess really don’t matter.
Wash and pat dry the brussels sprouts. Trim the ends and quarter the sprouts (through the core, so that they hold together better). You can roast them whole or cut them in halves instead of quarters – or even slice them across the core. I’ve done all of those. If you cut across the core, the sprouts fall apart. They taste good, but look very messy (and if you use too much oil, they get soggy). Leaving them whole, the outer leaves can burn before the center is cooked. Halved or quartered works best. Quartered, the seasoning penetrates the sprout best, in my opinion.
Put the cut sprouts in a ziploc bag or tupperware container. Add oil. Close container and shake to coat. The first time I made them, I used 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil per pound of vegetable , now I generally use less than a tablepoon – just enough to moisten the veggies so the seasonings to stick.
Open container, add seasoning (if you’re using a packet of dry ranch dressing mix – about half to 2/3 the package), close and shake.
Optional step – refrigerate up to 24 hours. I’m convinced that allowing the brussels sprouts to “marinate” in the seasonings improves the flavor – hubby says he can’t tell the difference. Maybe I’m imagining it. You decide.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Another optional step. Line baking dish with aluminum foil. This isn’t necessary, but the carmelizing does tend to make the vegetables stick to the bottom of the pan (unless you use more oil than you probably want to). Foil makes for easy cleanup (but it’s not necessary).
Bake in oven until the veggies are to your liking. I recommend that you start with 30 minutes, and keep checking every 3 to 5 minutes. Ovens vary, and so do personal preferences. Hubby likes them soft, but without much carmelization. I like carmelized, nearly burnt edges. 30 minutes, he’s happy, 60 minutes, I’m happy and 40 minutes is about right to please us both.
This is also a great way to make other vegetables. Potatoes (need to cook longer), Zucchini (will cook much faster, start checking at 20 minutes). My favorite is eggplant (use thin asian eggplants and cut in chunks, leaving the skin on). I’ve made it with potato, carrots, zucchini, eggplant, squash, mushrooms, green beans (awesome), snap peas, parsnips, broccoli, and cauliflower
You can combine veggies, but I always try a new vegetable alone first, so that I know that when I combine them, I’m combining veggies with similar cooking times, so the one doesn’t burn before the other is tender.