Everybody should eat more vegetables. Okay. We all agree on that one. But what is the best way to get folks to eat more vegetables? There’s no lack of good ideas and suggestions buzzing around up there in the blogosphere and it’s important to do what works for you. Now I’ve tried a couple of options including telling folks they need to eat their veggies, and after a period of trial and error, here’s what I have discovered works the best.
You see, I cook for demanding folks so I need to use my culinary skills to make those vegetables taste really really good. Irresistibly delicious. Seduction works like a charm. Much more effective than laying down some kind of vegetable law. And do you know what happens next? Those same folks who used to call me the food police when I told them how to eat are now cleaning their plates.
Take Brussels sprouts. This dark green nutritious fiber rich vegetable is not always fully appreciated because to some folks it tastes a little bitter. Steaming the sprouts does nothing to counter that bitterness. But roasting Brussels sprouts helps as does salting because salt softens the taste. Even the visual presentation helps because feeding the eyes is just as important as feeding the gut.
Here’s how I do it.
Start with a generous pound of the best Brussels sprouts you can source, preferably seasonal, freshly harvested, local. Next wash and trim the sprouts.
Next step for me because I cook with a metric scale is to put my trusted blue glass baking dish on my scale, zero out, and add the sprouts. The weight of the sprouts gives me the basis for my ratio of olive oil.
Most folks don’t t have a digital scale on the counter, so here are the proportion scaled to a pound of trimmed sprouts. For each pound of sprouts (about 5 cups) use 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon table salt.
Put sprouts, salt, olive oil, and dried herbs of choice (optional) in a baking dish and mix thoroughly. I use my hand and a latex glove for maximum flexibility because my hand is more flexible than a wooden spoon. Place the dish in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven and roast until sprouts are caramelized. Adjust temperature, time, and convection accordingly.
Like certain other members of the brassica family, Brussels sprouts taste best when harvested locally after the first frost. We eat lots of roasted Brussels sprouts during the fall here in the northeast. California’s central valley produces most of the commercially grown crop so Brussels sprouts are available year round. I use these sprouts when my local supply stops because sprouts are such a nutritious, healthy vegetable.
Proportions listed above make 4 servings – 140 calories, 12 grams fat, 170 mg sodium, 9 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams protein. Most nutritionists agree you can’t eat too many Brussels sprouts. Not all my zealous colleagues however agree with my approach because they are concerned about fat and salt. And they are right. My numbers don’t justify a healthy label. But consider these ratios. Most of fats are monounsaturated. Dietary fiber makes up about 40% of the carbohydrate. And there is more twice as many milligrams potassium as milligrams sodium. And my sprouts are relished, enjoyed , and most important eaten. I rest my case.
Lots of folks say they don’t like the taste of Brussels sprouts but no know cases of allergic reactions have been reported. However if you’re on a fat restricted diet or are sodium sensitive, just use less olive oil and salt.