Brussels sprouts and beets. It sounds like punishment, doesn’t it? I’m a fan of eating fresh, healthy food — but it has to taste good. Regular ol’ cabbage is not a favorite of mine, so you can imagine that I didn’t instantly fall in love with the little cabbage heads that are brussels sprouts. I tried a lot of different preparations and all of them still tasted like cabbage. Short of frying them in butter, what’s a girl to do?
I needed a full-flavor, low-fat hero to save the day.
Balsamic vinegar is one of my favorite condiments. So when I got a package of both brussels sprouts and red beets in my CSA, I thought I’d turn two not-so-favorite vegetables into something palatable by adding this sweet and tangy miracle ingredient. I had no idea how it would turn out, but hoped that the sugars in the balsamic would caramelize a little bit and add some depth to the bitter sprouts and bland beets. Also critical: slicing the brussels sprouts thinly, thereby creating ample surface area to soak up the delicious other flavors.
I love being right! I played around with this recipe a couple of times before sharing it with you, just to make sure I have the right amounts. This has become a household favorite, even for Greg. So delicious! So healthy!
BALSAMIC BRUSSELS AND BEETS
1 lb. brussels sprouts
3 small raw red beets
1 glug extra virgin olive oil (for pan)
1/4 c + 1 T balsamic vinegar (more to taste)
1 T brown sugar
1/4 c chopped peans
Salt & pepper to taste
1 dab butter
Optional: 2 slices cooked bacon or pancetta, crumbled
1. Rinse brussels sprouts well and pull off any nasty-looking leaves.
2. Cut off greens at base. If yours aren’t wilted like mine are, you can use them in another recipe. Scrub beets with a veggie brush to clean them. Use a box or hand grater to grate them into a medium-sized bowl. Take care not to grate your fingers and nails.
NOTE: Beets stain! Take care with your clothes, countertops, and hands!
3. Slice sprouts into ~1/4″ slices. Some leaves will fall off – that’s okay.
4. Mince your shallots.
5. Heat a large skillet on the stove. Add a glug of EVOO and let it get warm. Add the shallots and cook for a minute or two until they start to brown.
6. Add the brussels + beets and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Add the brown sugar (1 T), balsamic vinegar (1/4 c + 1 T), and salt & pepper to taste. Stir to make sure everything is well-coated with the good stuff. Let the veggies saute for several minutes, softening as they absorb the liquid. You may want to put a lid on to steam them a bit.
8. Add the pecans (and bacon, if using) and stir to incorporate.
9. Just before serving, add a dot of butter and stir one last time. Enjoy!
Have you found a good way to eat brussels sprouts?