Thanksgiving Thoughts: Roasted Brussel Sprouts

“But it’s not the same….”

For many of us, the holidays ahead are fraught with mixed feelings. Usually, the anticipation of celebrating with family and friends adds to our excitement and joy, but this year, all around the world, people are being told not to do that one thing which makes the holidays the holidays – gathering with one another.

And that’s hard.

For me and my children, though, we have been having discussions about how we can still celebrate as a nuclear family, and of course, many of those conversations revolve around food.

Those conversations caused us to think about the pluses of not cooking for extended family members this year: you do not have to make that one dish that only one person eats but you “must” have; you can release the “perfectionistic” stress of making the pies and desserts look beautiful for the guests; you will be able to eat when the food is done and not when the last late member of the extended family decides to show up; and you get to keep all the leftovers for yourself instead of sharing with the extended members of the family.

How exciting is that?

To help you menu plan, I’m pointing you to previous years’ posts and adding a recipe for roasted Brussel sprouts below. I know many folks are not fond of them, but I have discovered that many folks have also not had them roasted, which makes all the difference.

I hope this Thanksgiving season will bring you much to be thankful for, despite the global and personal situations we find ourselves in this year.

Turkey Talk

Roasted Vegetable Medley

Winter Squash Soup

Vegetable Souffle

Vegan Spanakopita

Apple Pie

Apple Crisp

Vegan Pumpkin Pies

Grain Free Pumpkin Pie

Vegan, Gluten Free Cornbread for Stuffing

Thanksgiving Muffins

Orange Cranberry Muffins

Gluten Free Popovers

Dairy Free Cranberry Cheesecake

Dairy and Gluten Free Tiramisu

Pie Tips

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Ingredients:

3 lbs fresh Brussel sprouts (off the stalk)

4 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp ground onion powder

1/2 tsp ground garlic powder

Roasting Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line your largest shallow sheet pan with parchment paper. (Depending you may need to roast your spouts in two batches, if you can’t fit them all at one time on the pan.)
  2. Prepare your Brussel Sprouts by slicing off the hard, knobby ends, peeling off any outer leaves which are falling off, and cutting the sprouts in half.
  3. Place the prepared sprouts in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil.
  4. Season with the salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.
  5. Place the sprouts cut side down onto the prepared sheet pan, leaving some space around each sprout for air circulation.
  6. Roast for 30 minutes without opening the oven to check on them. When they are done, they will be crispy, blackish-brown.
  7. You can eat as is or if you want, toss them with thin slices of turkey bacon and/or drizzle with your favorite balsamic vinegar and/or a bit of maple syrup.
  8. You can make these ahead of time for Thanksgiving and then pop them into the oven at 300 degrees to rewarm and re-crisp them on Thanksgiving day.

 

Creative Cooking: Brussel Sprout Chocolate Chip Cake

brussel-sprout-cake

“The secret ingredient is what?”

After one day of Thanksgiving leftovers, my husband is usually ready for something different. So, over the past few days we’ve had a turkey shepherds’ pie (using leftover turkey, some of the roasted carrots and cauliflower, and the mashed potato timbale), turkey-vegetable soup (using leftover turkey, the rest of the roasted carrots and cauliflower, and the leek gravy), stuffing muffins (using leftover stuffing and some of the leftover turkey sausage stuffed mushrooms), cranberry waffles (using leftover whole berry cranberry sauce), cranberry muffins (using leftover cranberry-orange relish), and quiche (using the rest of the leftover turkey sausage stuffed mushrooms).

Yesterday as I was rummaging through the fridge to see what we still had leftover, I found the roasted brussel sprouts which I hadn’t used in any of the above meals. While searching online to see if there might be anything interesting I could use them for, I found a recipe for brussel sprout cake. I was intrigued but a closer look at the multitude of recipes — which I discovered to actually be the same two recipes just remade by many, many people — revealed a lot which I didn’t like about the cake.

One was simply that the cake seemed to be a variation of a fruit cake recipe, only with vegetables added, so the bake time was lengthy and the cake, more dense than I’d like. Two, the recipes called for two cups of sugar and two cups of oil.  Third, all the extras which make the cake more like a fruit cake — the raisins, walnuts or pecans, shredded coconut, etc… — were not ingredients my children would like in a cake. Four, the recipes, were of course, not allergy friendly for wheat, dairy and nuts.

So, I decided I’d create my own brussel sprout cake which used gluten free flour in place of the wheat, agave instead of sugar and in half the amount, applesauce for some of the oil, and a small amount of mini chocolate chips in place of the original “extras”. When the cake was done, we topped it with a dark chocolate frosting, and the result was an extremely tasty cake which now contained the health benefits of brussel sprouts which includes being high in protein and vitamins C and K.

Brussel Sprout Chocolate Chip Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups roasted brussel sprouts

1/2 cup safflower oil

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup agave

1 tbsp vanilla

4 eggs (if you are watching cholesterol, use 1 cup liquid egg whites instead)

2 cups gluten free flour blend (I used Pillsbury brand for this cake)

1 cup gluten free oat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt (you can reduce this if you are watching sodium intake)

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 cup Enjoy Life allergen free mini chocolate chips

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Baking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 11 x 15 pan with parchment paper.
  2. Coarsely chop up the brussel sprouts in a food processor for a few seconds or with a knife on a cutting board.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the brussel sprouts with the oil, applesauce, agave and vanilla.
  4. Beat the eggs and add them to the brussel sprout bowl. Set aside.
  5. Combine the gluten free flour with the oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.
  6. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, along with the cider vinegar, and mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  8. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the cake has puffed, is golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool on a wire rack.
  10. Frost with favorite frosting recipe. (We made dark chocolate but I think a cream cheese frosting or vanilla or cinnamon frosting would be equally tasty.)