I’m finally accepting that it’s fall. School has been back in session for over a month, I’m wearing a sweater to work, I’m drinking pumpkin spice coffee, and I just bought a set of Halloween cookie cutters. Summer is officially over. And that means, it’s time for me to accept the change in food seasons too. It’s time to move on from the berries and light leafy vegetables, and on to apples, root vegetables, and heartier greens. I’m excited for many thing,s but one fall vegetable I love is Brussels sprouts.
Yes, you read that right, I’m a big fan of Brussels sprouts. Growing up, I had always seen on kids on TV scrunch up their faces, stick out their tongues, and groan “eww Brussels sprouts.” So, I thought they were going to be gross and inedible. But then, a few years ago my friend Emily got them in her farm share and had me over and served them to me for dinner. I was nervous. I was 25 years old, I’d never tried a Brussels sprout, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself by refusing to eat my veggies. I cautiously speared one with my fork and tried it. And I liked it! Everything I had thought before was wrong! It was like when the character in Green Eggs and Ham finally tries the green eggs and ham, and realizes that after repeatedly saying “I do not like them Sam-I-Am,” his world is blown and he does in fact like the new and strange looking food.
So now I’m crazy about Brussels sprouts. When they’re well-cooked I just want to scarf each sprout down like it’s a handful of popcorn. And this recipe is that good. I ate them fresh from the oven and later warmed in the microwave. I also ate them cold, while riding a school bus with fifth-graders after a field trip. This recipe is good in all conditions. Before I found this recipe, I found a lot of other recipes I didn’t want to make. Apparently a ton of Brussels sprouts recipes include bacon. Don’t get me wrong, bacon is great. But I didn’t want to have to make bacon just to make the dish. And I wanted to make something that would let the vegetable flavors shine. I also wanted to roast the Brussels sprouts because I love when the inside is soft and chewy while the outside leaves are crispy, blackened, and a bit sweet.
Today’s recipe is adapted from a Whole Foods recipe. I was nervous about the proportions of rosemary, pine nuts, and cheese because I thought they would overpower the Brussels sprouts. I was wrong. The rosemary adds a great scent that evokes memories of the holidays and helped get me excited about the colder fall weather. The pine nuts add a nice toasty crunch. And finally the cheese… ahh the cheese. I love cheese, but I often feel that people use cheese to mask vegetables and I didn’t want to do that. So at first I added only two tablespoons of cheese. But Ryan, who never over cheeses anything, said he thought more cheese would be good because it really accentuated the flavors of the rest of the dish. So I think you should taste test between 2 tbsp and 1/4 cup to see what you like best. And if you’ve never had Brussels sprouts before, I hope you’ll try this and let it change the way you think about this vegetable.
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (use 1 tsp in using dried rosemary)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Cut off any brown bottoms and pull of yellow leaves from Brussels sprouts.
3. Put the Brussels sprouts in a medium bowl. Add oil, pepper, salt, and rosemary. Stir until the sprouts are well coated.
4. Spread the Brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet. Cook for 25 minutes.
5. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the roasted Brussels sprouts. Cook for 5 minutes more. By the end of cooking, nuts should have a darker brown color and the Brussels sprouts should be dark brown-black in color.
6. Remove Brussels sprouts from the oven. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.
This gets one spoon. The whole thing goes from bowl, to baking sheet, and then you can serve it back in the bowl you used for mixing. There is very little work and mess in this recipe!