brussels sprouts on the stalkSome foods just have a bad reputation without really having earned it on their own merits-or lack thereof. It seems to me that the fault lies with well-intentioned parents. My childhood includes stories of “finish eating that or you’re going to bed” but overall I lucked out because my mom was a really good cook. Unlike my friends’ moms, she refused to serve peas from a can and didn’t regard boiling the heck out of a vegetable as a fool-proof method of preparation.

But when it came to vegetables, she clearly played favorites. In our home, brussels sprouts were the venereal disease of the vegetable kingdom: no one wants it, but some people unfortunately end up with it and all you can do to ensure not to get it is to practice abstinence .

So I was told I was blessed because I never had to eat this disgusting, slimy horror of horrors. Note that somewhere across town, no doubt there was yet another equally well-intentioned parent boiling brussels sprouts to bits telling her child that some terrible parents don’t feed their kids vegetables that will make them smart and strong and disease-free.

I’d like to say I remember the exact moment I convinced myself to try brussels sprouts, but I don’t. I vaguely recall being puzzled as to why Wild Oats would ruin perfectly lovely garlic by roasting it with sprouts and who would bother buying it. Then I tried it. Now I pick up those little green knobs of goodness every week at farmers market. I have spent more time than I’d like to admit defending their honor.

Properly prepared (i.e. not boiled into snot), brussels sprouts really could be your (or your kid’s!) new favorite vegetable.

  • 1 lb fresh brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed then halved lengthwise
  • 8 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If sprouts are big or a bit tough, parboil for 5 minutes first. Toss all ingredients together on a foil-lined baking sheet. Turn sprouts cut-side down. Bake for 25 minutes or until cut sides have begun to crisp and brown.Roasted sprouts and garlic