[Eating Rainbow | Green | no. 1 Brussels Sprouts]
Brussels sprouts are the embarrassment of the vegetable kingdom.
They smell sulphurous if overcooked, are loathed by a large contingent of both children and adults, and have an awkward, unattractive name that is often misspelled, mispronounced and mis-capitalized.
There’s nothing particularly sexy or appealing about the green cruciferous vegetable that may not even be specifically from Brussels. It’s usually completely overshadowed by its cooler cousins broccoli, kale, collard greens, and cabbage — particularly when it comes to the topic of health benefits.
But it would be a mistake to dismiss Brussels sprouts as merely the foul-smelling, mushy vegetable that elicits wails from children who are presented with them for dinner. According to Cooking Light, the humble sprouts are full of phytonutrients (natural plant compounds) which may help protect against cancer. They are also a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, iron, and fiber. Just a half-cup of sprouts provides more that 80% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin c.
That’s definitely something to make a stink over.
This warm Brussels sprouts salad with tart pink lady apples, pan-fried tofu, slivered almonds, shallots, and a sweet apple cider vinaigrette is too.
Rather than steaming the sprouts into submission, in this preparation they are given the VIP kitchen treatment— sliced into thin ribbons and then gently sautéed with shallots and olive oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes for a touch of heat. The short cooking time ensures that those vital nutrients aren’t lost and also keeps any potential foul odors at bay.
The end product is almost unrecognizable as Brussels sprouts. It’s like the homely green veg took off her glasses, shook out her hair and bought a little black dress that hugs her curves in all the right places.
And totally cool.
Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
20 Brussels Sprouts, outer shells removed and sliced into thin ribbons
10 ounces extra-firm tofu, cubed
3 large shallots, minced (approximately 2/3 cup)
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 large Pink lady apple, sliced into thin pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons butter
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon salt
Apple Cider Vinaigrette Ingredients
½ cup apple cider
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt, pepper to taste
Prepare Vinaigrette: Combine apple cider and apple cider vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until reduced by one third. Turn heat off, whisk in the Dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste. Take note that the salad will be salted as well.
Heat large frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, swirling the oil around to coat the base of the pan. Reduce heat to medium, add the tofu and sauté, stirring frequently, until browned on all sides. Set outside.
Clean out pan, and return to medium-high heat. Add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the pan, and then add the shallots. Sauté until translucent and slightly browned, but not burned (approximately 5 minutes). Add the butter, Brussels sprouts, salt and red pepper flakes and sauté on medium heat for another 3-5 minutes or until sprouts are just wilted. Toss in the tofu cubes, apple, almonds, and dressing and stir until all ingredients are well integrated. Serve immediately.
Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts
- Full of phytonutrients (natural plant compounds), which may help protect against cancer.
- Good source of vitamins A and C, which help fight against such ailments as heart disease, cancer, and cataracts (one half cup of sprouts provides more than 80 % of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C)
- Good source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure and maybe even cholesterol
- Good source of folate, which is necessary for normal tissue growth and may protect against cancer, heart disease, and birth defects
- Good source of iron, necessary for maintaining red blood cell count
- Good source of fiber, which aids in digestion and helps lower cholesterol
Source: Cooking Light