This time every year, something terrifying appears in grocery stores across America. Each year I try to avoid it, blatantly refusing to acknowledge it’s presence. I walk down different aisles just to avoid seeing it. For something that grotesque can simply NOT taste anything but awful.
But somehow it creeps into my grocery basket as if it grew legs and walked right in. Every year. It may only happen once a season, but it’s enough to scare me into thinking that this is not just any ordinary ingredient. I have … a stalker.
As much as I want to avoid the truth, brussels sprouts are truly a powerhouse food. They are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Among them are Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium, Phosphorus and Calcium. Source
In addition, brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable. These vegetables have a compound which has been shown to prevent breast cancer cells from multiplying. A natural compound found in brussels sprouts, indole-3-carbinol, has been shown to stop diseased cell growth by altering estrogen metabolism. Source
So, I ultimately end up giving in and trying to concoct a recipe that covers up all the flavor and smell because I know the nutrition is worth it. I’ve tried roasting, boiling, sauteing, covering it in bacon, but no luck. Every other year I have failed. Until now.
The dressing is the key to this recipe. The acid in the lemon helps break down the brussels sprouts and the herbs help cover the taste. And as an added bonus, raw brussels sprouts do not have the odor that comes with cooked brussels sprouts. Apparently that’s due to a smelly chemical called sinigrin that’s released when you cook the sprouts.
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
Adapted from Ashley’s recipe at Edible Perspective. If you prefer to buy pre-shaven brussels sprouts (I’ve seen them at Trader Joe’s) I will pass no judgement. However, if you want to go all out it is really quite simple to do it yourself. All you really need is a knife and cutting board, and a little time.
1 stalk brussels sprouts – de-stalked (is this a word?) and rinsed
1/2 apple – sliced
3 dried apricots – sliced
handful of raw almonds
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Parmesan or cheddar cheese – grated on top (optional) I totally forgot to buy this ingredient at the store, but I wished I hadn’t
For one salad you will need 4-8 brussels sprouts. To shave, simply remove the end of the sprout with your knife and discard. Then, thinly slice the sprout until you reach the head. Turn the head on it’s side and continue to slice. You can then gently tear the sprout apart with your fingers and toss “shavings” in a bowl. For one serving, toss about 4-8 shaved brussels sprouts in 1/4-1/2 cup Really Simple Salad Dressing and let sit for 5 minutes so the shavings can absorb the dressing. Top with apples, apricots, almonds, pomegranate seeds, freshly grated pepper and cheese.
Really Simple Salad Dressing
Makes enough for one large salad. Can be easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc.
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
salt – to taste
1 t dried sweet basil
1/2 t dried oregano
Combine all ingredients and let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Now you can fearlessly brave the brussels sprout. Enjoy!