There are some foods that tend to induce fear in the masses. These foods tend not to be the really scary food products, like those that have been genetically modified or are full of chemical ingredients to make them “fat free” or whatever the latest trend is. Instead, they are some of the best foods to eat, and people virtually run screaming the other direction when faced with them!
While there are several foods with bad reps out there, I found myself facing a few of them in the kitchen a few days ago. Our CSA share included both Brussels sprouts and beets! Aah! What was I going to do to turn these vegetables into something that my husband and I would enjoy? When we put down our deposit on the CSA share, we vowed that we would eat each and every vegetable that came our way, so I was committed to making a tasty dish.
After reading up on the vegetables at hand, I realized that I was dealing with some of the most valuable nutritious gold I could get. Brussels sprouts help your skin look great, encourage detox, help prevent birth defects, cancer and inflammation, plus contain lots of protein for energy. Beets are helpful in cancer treatment, increase the metabolism, help digestion, and decrease cholesterol. I am pretty sure both would be worth eating even if they tasted terrible.
The first time I cooked them up, I was a bit nervous and added a minimal amount bacon to help the flavor. This may seem odd after I just listed all the health aspects of the dish, but you are still getting those nutrients! I also added a few crumbles of bleu cheese, another ingredient that deterred me until a few months ago when we bought some absolutely phenomenal raw milk bleu cheese from Keepsake Farm. As it turned out, the bacon and cheese were unnecessary because we determined we really do enjoy the taste of the veggies (just roasted with olive oil, salt & pepper), but absolutely wonderful on the palette.
So, be brave, and try this recipe!
Roasted Beets & Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Bleu Cheese
• 2 red beets (Heritage Farms CSA)
• 1/2 lb or so Brussels sprouts (Heritage Farms CSA)
• 1-2 slices bacon (this is uncured from Valley View Farm, frozen for easy slicing)
• bleu cheese, to taste (I used about a 1″x1″ chunk from Keepsake Farm)
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Cook the bacon until just crisp, reserving drippings.
- Meanwhile, peel and cut beets into 1-1.5″ pieces. This will stain your hands, so wash them right away afterwards!
- Remove the tough outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts and cut off the thick stem. Rinse, drain, then cut each one in half.
- Combine chopped vegetables, bacon and drippings in baking pan, tossing to coat vegetables in bacon drippings.
- Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- While hot, crumble bleu cheese over vegetables and mix.
- Be amazed at how NOT scary Brussels sprouts and beets are! Try a Brussels sprout and a beet on the same forkful—They balance each other out amazingly well.
[Note: Special thanks to reader Bruce M., who filled me in on the fact that the vegetable is called “Brussels Sprouts,” not “Brussel Sprouts.” Always happy to learn something new!]