Not Your Grandmother's Brussels Sprouts

Last week I promised to post some recipes to help ‘healthy up’ your Christmas Dinner (or any dinner for that matter) and I don’t want you to be disappointed that I am choosing one involving Brussels sprouts as the first contribution. These are not the same Brussels sprouts that your Grandmother used to serve. 

Why bother eating Brussels sprouts at all? They are high in Vitamins K and C, and offer a good source of manganese, folate and fiber.  More importantly, they are part of the cruciferous vegetable group and shine among its peers for having a greater amount of glucosinolate, which in everyday terms means they pack a punch in the cancer prevention department.

If you are thinking, “that sounds great, but I hate Brussels sprouts”, then I understand.  I used to steer clear of the lifeless, waterlogged vegetable, but my first bite of roasted, caramelized Brussels sprouts changed my mind.  For me, there is nothing like roasting vegetables to bring out their sweet, mellow flavor.   Plus, it is kind of fun to buy them still attached to the stalk when they are in season… which is right now.

This recipe is a compilation of several I’ve tried. The sprouts are roasted with shallots, mixed with farro (a nutty, ancient grain) and tossed with fresh Parmesan.  You can add rendered bacon for added depth of flavor.

If you don’t already like Brussels sprouts, maybe this will change your mind.  Enjoy!

Farro and Brussels Sprouts

1 cup farro*

2 ½ cups water

1 pound Brussels sprouts, quartered

1 shallot, chopped

3- 4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

1 ½  tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 425F

Put the farro and the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cover and lower heat and simmer approximately 30 minutes*.   Drain excess liquid and set farro aside.

Put Brussels sprouts and chopped shallots in a bowl and toss with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  Set bowl aside for use later. Spread on a baking sheet and cook until browned, approximately 25 minutes. Make sure to stir a couple of times during roasting to ensure they brown evenly.  Add the Brussels sprouts/shallot mixture back to the bowl and add the cooked farro.  Squeeze the juice of one lemon over mixture and toss well. Add the parmesan and mix again.

* It’s best if you can soak the farro in water (toss soaking water) for an hour before cooking, which will reduce the cooking time to 20 minutes.