Brussels Sprouts. Along with Lima beans, probably the most infamous object of children’s fear and loathing in the food world. I can’t say I hated them as a kid – I never even tried them until I was an adult. And that first time, my boyfriend at the time was a chef, so I loved them. But I never attempted to make them myself until I went all paleo, because I assumed they were difficult to make, or at least it was difficult to make them taste good.
I was soooooooo wrong. If you’re not already on the Brussels Sprouts bandwagon, jump aboard, my friend. They are so simple to make – and it’s so simple to make them taste good – that I don’t know why everyone isn’t eating them all the time.
I suspect that the traditional hatred of Brussels sprouts may have been a result of boiling to death and a lack of seasoning. I can see how that might result in something less than delectable. But isn’t that true about nearly any vegetable? I don’t want over-boiled mushy broccoli served plain. Ick. But keep it green and a little crunchy and add some lemon and salt and coconut oil? Yes, please!
So all I’m saying here is – let’s not blame the Brussels sprouts for some unimaginative cooks. Instead, let’s get those wee little cabbage-head looking things tender on the inside and crispy on the outside and treat them to a sprinkling of wonderful flavors, and *then* see what we think!
This recipe does exactly that. The quick (emphasis on “quick”) boiling bath gets them tender to the core. But the baking is where the flavor really gets developed. Of course, we add some flavor – the garlic and cayenne – which takes things to a new level, but the actual process of baking creates flavor as well. When a food is exposed to heat and it browns, it’s called caramelization. Basically, it means the sugars in the food you are heating are breaking down. The result is the brown, caramel-like color, and the creation of a rich, nutty flavor.
And that’s exactly what happens to your Brussels sprouts as they bake. The outer leaves brown and crisp up, some of them pulling away from the head slightly, and the whole sprout gets this wonderful, warm, nutty flavor.
Aside from how wonderful these Brussels sprouts taste, and how easy they are to make, they are good for you. For a vegetable, they have a surprisingly high amount of protein: about 2 grams in a half-cup. They are also packed with iron and potassium and fiber. So when your mom told you to eat your Brussels sprouts, she was right – they’re super good for you!
And now you can make them super yummy as well. Pair them with chicken, pork, or beef for a great dinner. Or you can do what I do – make a big batch, have some for dinner, and the rest for a snack the next day! They’re even good chilled, right out of the fridge. Hope you enjoy!
- 1 pounds Brussels sprouts
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 4 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add the Brussels sprouts and cook for two minutes. Drain well and place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl.
- Add the minced garlic, cayenne pepper and melted coconut oil and gently toss to coat. Transfer the Brussels sprouts to a baking pan and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes, shaking pan occasionally, until sprouts are quite brown and crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
- Adjust the taste with more salt if necessary, drizzle with lemon juice, toss to combine and serve.
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