I'm well aware that I'm taking a risk here, but my second green veggie of choice for this month's Family Challenge is the dreaded brussels sprout.
Why have I chosen this particular vegetable? Because I think it's gotten a bad wrap as the victim of overcooking and poor seasoning, which has lead to it's unfair veggie vilification.
In fact, brussels sprouts are one of the best veggies out there you can get your family eating. Brussels sprouts, or "baby cabbages", are a cold-weather member of the brassica or cruciferous family, which includes other varieties of cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower. They are an excellent source of vitamins K and C and a good source of folate (the most commonly deficient vitamin in the world), vitamin A, manganese, protein, fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, iron, thiamin, omega-6 fatty acids, magnesium, riboflavin, vitamin E, copper and calcium… Phew!!
There is also increasing evidence as to the anti-cancer properties of the brassica family. Boiling can reduce these compounds, but steaming, stir-frying and roasting do not result in significant loss.
If you have always hated brussels sprouts, chances are that you are innocently passing that aversion on choosing not to include them in your family's diet. Break the cycle!
Brussels sprouts, cooked right, can be downright delicious. I was completely gobsmacked & delighted when my 8 year-old pronounced them this year to be his favourite vegetable. Here is the simple recipe that got him hooked:
Golden Brussels Sprouts:
– About 25 brussels sprouts (washed, ends trimmed, and sliced lengthwise)
– 1 tbsp or so of coconut oil
– a pinch of sea salt
– 1 tbsp goat's cheese feta, feta, or grated asiago
To prepare:Sauté sprouts over medium heat in coconut oil and a pinch of sea salt until softened and browned (Covering the pan speeds up the process), then toss with cheese and serve. So simple, so good.
And here's one more that his mama loves, that incorporates some other "super veggies":
Roasted Veggie & Warm Kale Salad
Use whatever veggies you have in the fridge or pantry: You could substitute just about anything in here and it would taste yummy, so use your imagination!
– I small yam or sweet potato, peeled and cubed
– 1-2 large carrots, peeled and cubed
– 8-10 small beets or 4-5 large, peeled and cubed
– 1-2 cups of brussels sprouts, washed, stems trimmed and sliced lengthwise
– 8-10 garlic cloves, peeled and cut lengthwise
– 1 onion or large shallot, peeled and loosely chopped
– 2 cups of kale, de-stemmed, washed and chopped finely
– 1/2 cup pecans, pan toasted at low heat
– 1.5 -2 tbsp coconut oil
– 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
– salt & pepper to taste
To prepare: Preheat oven to 450F. Melt oil, and toss with all veggies except kale in a roasting pan or 9 x 11 dish. Roast for about 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from oven, and pile the kale on top. Put back in oven for 10 minutes, stirring once to toss kale and veggies.
Remove from oven again and toss with the balsamic, and salt & pepper to taste. Serve in bowls topped with some toasted pecans.
Wendy McCallum, LLB, RHN, is passionate about providing busy parents with the tools & support they need to feed their families wholesome food, so everyone can play, learn, and feel better! She is a mother of two terrific HRM kids, aged 7 &8. For information and recipe ideas, visit her website.