Don't Knock 'em 'til You've Tried 'em... Again!

Brussels sprouts can sometimes get a bad rap. You've heard (or experienced) that they smell funny or that they get mushy. Well that may be because of how they've been cooked. For one simple trick, give them a quick pan fry in some olive oil for a few minutes on high heat. They won't get the mush -- or stink -- factor. But there is more to Brussels sprouts than what you've seen in the past.

Brussels sprouts

A powerhouse vegetable

As an autumn staple, you're sure to see Brussels sprouts at all your local markets. If you've been avoiding them, you really should give them another go! Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous family (other members include arugula, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower and radishes to name a few) and are loaded with fiber, vitamins (A, C and K) and folate.

The vitamins in Brussels sprouts help to ensure a healthy immune system, ward off hypertension, lower blood pressure and help to maintain healthy bones, teeth and eyes. Wow! Talk about a powerhouse veggie!

Get a little creative for a new taste

Most people have also heard of or experienced the classic Brussels sprouts dish prepared with pancetta. Well for Meatless Monday, Brussels sprouts get a bit of a makeover, served in soup and topped with a fantastic hazelnut pesto -- quite an about face from the green veggie you once knew (and maybe avoided).

Pesto is such an easy thing to whip up in a short time. Did you know you can use asparagus, spinach, kale and peas (among other things) as a pesto main ingredient? This version is also different from standard recipes since it relies on hazelnuts as its main ingredient, adding a nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with your Brussels sprouts soup.

Roasted Brussels sprouts soup with hazelnut pesto

Recipe courtesy of iVillage and Rori Trovato

Serves 4 to 6 people

Ingredients:

Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed and sprouts halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pesto

  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

Soup

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the olive oil, Brussels sprouts and garlic in a large bowl and toss. Place on a baking sheet and roast until the sprouts are toasted and the leaves are slightly browned, about 15 minutes. Turn once or twice while cooking.
  2. Remove and add to a large saucepan with the stock and the cream. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Puree the mixture until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pesto

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor until chunky-smooth and season with salt. Garnish each bowl of soup with the pesto.

More Meatless Monday information

Before going meatless, consider these easy substitutions from the Meatless Monday organization:

  • Instead of eating chopped bacon on a salad, use chopped nuts or sunflower seeds.
  • Instead of chicken soup, try split pea or navy bean soup.
  • Instead of a hamburger, eat a soy or veggie burger.
  • Instead of pasta with meat sauce, serve pasta with cannellini beans.

Check out this list of "movers and shakers" who are joining the Meatless Monday movement, including the following:

  • The Cooking Channel
  • Robin Roberts from Good Morning America
  • Entrepreneur and hip hop mogul Russell Simmons
  • Entertainer Jessica Simpson
  • AARP
  • Oprah
  • Johns Hopkins University

Watch: Hate Brussels sprouts? It's genetic!

If you hate the taste of Brussels sprouts, it's likely genetic. Prove it to your mom and dad with the Pro Biotech's open source PCR project!

More Meatless Monday features and recipes

Meatless Monday Mediterranean style
Carrot-mushroom barley stew
Squash recipes for the season
Meatless Monday: What's the news?
Start the week with a pizza party

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