The Vegetables You Like, but Don’t Know It

A big part of being healthy is not just working out or cutting back on the after dinner dessert. Being healthy implies your entire day and choosing healthy options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not eating such big portions and incorporating more snacks into your meal plan. Here are some yummy healthy alternatives pointed out by Paula. 

A maligned vegetable is actually very good if prepared correctly…
 
When I meet with new clients for my personal chef business, we go through a fairly extensive food questionnaire so I understand each person's likes and dislikes. This helps me prepare food exactly the way the client likes it. Part of the questionnaire is a long list of vegetables. I name each veggie and they say yes or no – they like it or they don't. The vegetable that prompts more people to wrinkle their noses and shake their heads no is – can you guess? Brussels sprouts.  
 
Don't stop reading!  I'm here to tell you that those soggy, bitter green balls you tasted once long ago and vowed never to eat again weren't the real thing. Oh, sure, technically they were Brussels sprouts, they probably started out frozen and then were boiled or micro waved too long and things went down hill from there.  
 
But!  If you start with the fresh little mini-cabbages when they are in season, those babies can be amazing when cooked right.  And they are super healthy for you, with all the benefits of other members of their plant family – broccoli, collards, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. They contain a host of antioxidants, glucosinolates that have been shown to fight cancer, anti-inflammatory compounds, and the list goes on.  
 
I'm here to tell you, they can taste good, too.  I have turned many a naysayer into a fan.  
 
You have to start with fresh sprouts. Find them in the produce department of your favorite grocery store. Rinse them in cold water, then trim the bottom off of each little sprout and remove the outermost leaves. Those leave are kind of tough and may be yellowish when you buy them, so we don't want them hanging around.  If your sprouts are big (golf ball size), cut them in half going up through the stem from bottom to top. If they are small, take a sharp knife and score an X across the bottom, about ¼ inch deep.  
 
Now you are ready to cook. Toss the trimmed Brussels sprouts in light olive oil and a little salt (¼ teaspoon).  Add half a cup of slivered almonds if you want some crunch. Place the sprouts and the nuts in a 9×11 glass baking dish or on a cookie sheet. Roast in the middle shelf of a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, until the leaves are just starting to get a little toasty brown. Don't overcook or they will get bitter. Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar over them as soon as they come out of the oven. I like to use golden balsamic vinegar, but you can use the red type if that's what you have handy.  
 
Serve the roasted Brussels sprouts over cooked quinoa and you have a healthy, hearty vegetarian meal, or a nice side dish to accompany baked or grilled chicken.
 
And how did they get to be called Brussels sprouts?  It seems that the good folks of Brussels, Belgium popularized them several hundred years ago, and the name stuck.  
 
Why not give them a try?
 

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