Some vegetables have a bad rap. We’re talking about those Brussels sprouts (yuck!), asparagus (gross!), and beets (disgusting!), just to name a few. But these sturdy veggies are actually quite versatile. Quite often the reason people avoid them is due to faulty preparation.
For instance, take the Brussels sprout. Logic might say boil them, but this method actually leeches any potential flavor, making an already bitter bite more intolerable.
First, remove the outer layer. Chop off the stem and cut the sprout in half before peeling the remaining leafs. Especially for roasting, this creates a nice, flat surface browning on the baking sheet.
Instead, try coating them in olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast them in the oven at 400° for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy. This simple technique adds much needed texture and seasoning. The crunchiness helps satisfy cravings without bingeing on potato chips or French fries.
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, try adding chopped pieces of bacon to the sprouts and tossing them with apple cider vinegar. This deepens the flavor palette by adding acidity, saltiness, and sweetness to the dish without adding too many calories. Spice seekers can even add crushed red pepper for extra heat.
Overall, these sprouts serve as an excellent accompaniment for many traditional proteins—like chicken, pork, or turkey—but can also help lessen the guilt associated more indulgent dishes like macaroni and cheese. Shaved Brussels sprouts also work well on pizza, especially when paired with mushrooms and goat cheese.
Beets, like Brussels sprouts, aren’t traditional superstars at the dinner table. More often we think of beet juice, the kind you find in a Jamba Juice smoothie. But these colorful veggies can really elevate other vegetables. A good combo is with carrots.
After properly peeling about a pound of beets and a pound of carrots, cut each into wedges. Doing so will help with the cooking process. From here, the process is simple. Toss the veggies with some red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and sprigs of fresh rosemary, and roast them for 30-35 minutes at 450°.
Now, sure, there’s a bunch of roasting action going on, but the oven isn’t the only way to cook, although it’s one of the healthier ones. Even healthier is the underrated cabbage, which is best eaten raw. Often associated with its fermented or pickled forms, like kim-chi or sauerkraut, cabbage can serve as a low-calorie delivery system for wraps.
Simply take a leaf (preferably green cabbage) and load your favorite toppings. The variations are nearly endless, although we prefer a Thai twist. Take full-cooked chicken or tofu and combine with green onions, tart fruit (e.g., mangoes, apricot, or pineapple), cilantro, and chopped jalapenos peppers. For an added layer, top with homemade peanut sauce and serve with lime wedges.
Regardless of where your culinary winter takes you, know Neighbors Emergency Center supports your healthy lifestyle. And just in case you need help with more than dinner, one of our many 24-hour locations is ready to get you feeling better faster.