Brussels Sprouts are in season, cook them in a fun way with pomegranate, pecans and feta cheese. It makes a delicious vegetarian dish or a side dish if desired!
I have a very strange relationship to Brussels Sprouts, and it all began long time ago when I first tried them as a child. I was tremendously attracted by them but sadly my palate didn’t like them. Each time I would see them, I would think the same: “wow, they look delicious!” And each time I would try, I would say: “well actually no, I don’t like them”. I think it’s actually the only ingredient I tried and tried again, until I finally liked it for real – yeah!
The thing is that in France we often serve them in a very boring way, simply cooked with some butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. This is maybe the best way to enjoy the real taste of vegetables but it doesn’t really help when you are already not very fond of them. Later on, I tried them prepared differently in a couple of fancy restaurants: slightly smoked, or served raw in a salad with green apples. It appeared I liked them much better and even found them absolutely delicious.
I started to look at other recipes as well, especially the American ones, that I found perfect for me, often with a sweet and savory touch altogether, exactly as I like! And I finally found my favorite one among all of them. Forget the butter (or olive oil only), and instead roast the Brussels Sprouts in the oven with a delicate blend of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. It will definitely bring your dish to the next level and give some personality to the Brussels Sprouts.
Add some feta cheese crumbled on top for a soft texture, a handful of pomegranate to add a sweet touch, and finish with pecans for the crunchy taste! The combination of all these ingredients together create a sweet and tangy taste, and it’s an amazing surprise to your palate in one single bite. Just delicious!
You can enjoy it just as it is, as a main dish for a quick meatless weekday dinner, or served as a side dish to accompany a turkey or a chicken for a fancy dinner (just perfect for Thanksgiving!). Feel also free to add your own twist to the dish. Use for instance cranberries instead of pomegranate, add some roasted sweet potato chunks, or even diced bacon if you wish.
Brussels Sprouts are now become a very good friend to me for good, and it makes my little tummy very happy! Not to mention that Brussels Sprouts are also known as one of the World’s healthiest foods with many valuable nutrients. Providing antioxidants, helping to fight cancer and heart diseases, Brussels Sprouts are also a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K (a fat-soluble vitamin that is most well-known for the important role it plays in blood clotting, preventing excessive bleeding, and also known as a vitamin absolutely essential to building strong bones). In other words, there are only good reasons to like Brussels Sprouts. I hope they will soon become a friend of you as well, if they are not already!
- 1 lb (500g) Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and halved
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ cup pecan halves
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 pomegranate, seeded
- 4 tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves (optional)
- Salt & black pepper, freshly ground
- Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Wash, trim and half the Brussels sprouts. Seed the pomegranate.
- In a large mixing bowl, blend together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup. Add the Brussels sprouts and toss well.
- Transfer the Brussels sprouts onto the prepared baking tray, covering with the remaining oily mixture. Sprinkle some sea salt on top.
- Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, stirring twice in the meantime, until all faces are slightly golden.
- When the Brussels sprouts are almost ready, sprinkle the pecan halves on top, and bake for a few additional minutes until the pecans are toasted and fragrant (be careful to not burn the pecans).
- Remove the baking tray from the oven, and transfer the Brussels sprouts to a serving dish. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and sprinkle pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, and the optional mint leaves. Serve immediately while still warm.