I did not like vegetables as a kid. The dreaded vegetable had to be eaten before I could move on to the good stuff, like dessert. To try and outmaneuver this rule (not sure how I thought my 5-year-old brain could trick my parents), I decided that, just like cows, I had multiple stomachs: one stomach for regular food and one stomach for dessert! My regular food stomach would be full, so no I can’t finish those veggies… but I still have room in my dessert stomach for some of those peanut butter chocolate squares you made. My parents did not fall for this, so I was stuck having to finish my plate. I give myself points for creativity, if not for execution.
Growing up, everything was steamed or boiled. Yes, these are very healthy ways to cook vegetables, but are they delicious? Not so much. As an adult, my relationship with vegetables has changed a lot. Most days, at least one meal is a salad, and at least two of my meals have a vegetable component. Now I love vegetables because there are much better ways to get flavor from a vegetable than steaming or boiling.
I roast almost every vegetable that comes into my kitchen. You would be alarmed at the amount of olive oil we go through (hey, it’s healthy right?). I challenge you to find me a vegetable that doesn’t taste better roasted versus steamed. Roasting vegetables creates a perfectly brown and caramelized exterior, which amplifies the vegetables’ natural flavors.
This recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts is based on a Bon Appetit recipe with a few changes based on my preferences. The honey plays off the caramelization of the sprouts, but it doesn’t veer into cloying territory because of the lime and chile flakes. I made this recipe for Thanksgiving last year, and I had to go out and buy more Brussel sprouts because my kitchen “helpers” ate up the first batch before they made it on the plate for dinner.
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 lime, first zested and then juiced
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
½ tablespoons of honey
Scant ½ teaspoon red chile flakes
1 teaspoon of butter
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread on a baking sheet.
Roast for 15 minutes; after 15 minutes pull them out to shake and then put them back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. They are done if you can slip the tip of a small knife easily through. The Brussels sprouts will be deeply brown, almost burnt.
Melt the butter in a skillet, and when melted completely add the pumpkin seeds and a pinch of salt.
Cook (stirring frequently) until the sunflower seeds are golden brown (about 4 minutes) and remove the seeds from the pan using a slotted spoon. Coarsely chop the seeds, put them in a small bowl, and set aside.
In the same skillet used for the seeds, add the honey and lime juice and stir to emulsify (this will happen quickly). Then add the Brussels to the pan and coat with the sauce.
Once Brussels sprouts are coated with the sauce, place on a serving platter.
In the small bowl with the pumpkin seeds, add the lime zest and chile flakes. Stir to combine.
Sprinkle on top of the Brussels sprouts and serve.