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Something Different
Week of: March 29, 2010
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Give Brussels Sprouts a Makeover

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

What people hate, evidently, also fascinates them. Since Julie Deardorff, a blogger for the Chicago Tribune, posted last November about foods people hate most, the content of that post has gone viral. I know because I was quoted in the piece and my Google Alert keeps flagging sites using it. My favorite version is headlined "Yucky Foods Deserve a Second Tasting."

Sardines head her list of nutritious foods people shun, which also includes three cruciferous vegetables – cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. I quite agree that overcooking these vegetables and the sulfurous compound released as they cook are the main reasons why they turn people off. These potent compounds, which may provide protection against cancer, are also a major reason to eat cruciferous vegetables regularly, ideally every day.

Making Brussels sprouts palatable, and even appealing, is easy. Roasting them eliminates their offensive odor, avoids turning them mushy, grey and bland-tasting, and it caramelizes the natural sugar in Brussels sprouts for a bit of sweetness. Plus dry heat, by evaporating liquid from the sprouts, makes them pleasingly firm and creamy.

To further seduce Brussels sprout-haters into lovers, and to give those who appreciate them incentive to enjoy them even more often, I pair the sprouts with everyone’s favorite vegetable, the potato. Roasting sprouts and small potatoes, then mashing them roughly together, makes a dish no one can resist.

Brussles Sprouts and Potatoes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

  • 3/4 lb. Brussels sprouts, preferably large
  • 2 small onions
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 lb. small potatoes, preferably 2-inches or smaller diameter
  • Salt and ground black pepper

If your oven holds two baking sheets side by side, place rack in center. If not, arrange racks in top and bottom thirds. Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Remove tough outer leaves from Brussels sprouts and cut crosswise into three to four rounds about 1/2-inch thick. Halve onions and cut crosswise into very thin slices.

In medium mixing bowl combine sprouts and onions, add 2 tsp. of oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and mix to coat vegetables. Spread them in thick layer on foil-covered baking sheet.

In same bowl, place potatoes and drizzle on remaining 1 tsp. of oil. Mix with your hands to coat them. Place potatoes on second baking sheet. Set oily bowl aside.

Place both baking sheets in oven. Bake Brussels sprouts with onions for 15 minutes. Stir, mixing in any browned bits, rearrange in thick layer, and roast until Brussels sprouts are almost tender, about another 10-15 minutes.

Bake potatoes for 30 minutes, or until a knife pierces larger ones easily. Return roasted sprouts to mixing bowl. Transfer potatoes to cutting board and cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Add potatoes to sprouts. Using fork, roughly break up potato slices and mix with roasted sprouts and onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 150 calories, 4 g total fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 24 g carbohydrate,
4 g protein 6 g dietary fiber, 30 mg sodium

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.

Our Mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.

We have contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention, at www.aicr.org.

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