I recall a recent convo I had with a girlfriend who was looking forward to making this raw Brussels sprout salad I posted a while back after our Canadian Thanksgiving last month. The salad was to be enjoyed by the whole family, just not her dad, who prefers his sprouts on the ‘plain’ side. Read: just steamed or boiled, as is, & with no flavouring at all. And while I love these little beauties all ways (steamed they are delicious), I think the best part about them is how well they go with so many other foods.
So if you aren’t my girlfriend’s dad (who also happens to be my boss), you might just
like love this take on sprouts. Here, they are roasted to sweetness and tossed warm with a few of my favourite ingredients for a sophisticated, somewhat Mediterranean style side dish.
Roasting Brussels sprouts is certainly not new to the food world, and I recall my first experience with them 15 years ago at an old job. I worked in a gourmet deli where I passed the kitchen at least 20 times a day. Which meant at least as many roasted sprouts that were destined for the deli case ended up in my mouth as I went by.
For this dish, I soaked and cooked my own Cannellini beans, but you can find these babies canned in any grocery store and make throwing this dish together that much easier.
Thyme Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Cannellini Beans:
(15) medium – large Brussels sprouts
(3) tbsp olive oil for roasting sprouts
(1/2) tsp salt for roasting sprouts
(1-1.5) cups cooked Cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
(1/2) cup soft sun-dried tomatoes (either oil-packed or soft as is)
(1/2) cup feta cheese, cubed (vegans: sub 1/4 cup capers for a salty finish)
(1/2) tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped (2-3 sprigs)
(2-3) tbsp olive oil for finish
black pepper to taste
Start by rinsing the fresh sprouts under cold water and draining well in a colander. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil a flat rimmed cookie sheet with (1) tbsp of the olive oil for roasting and begin to prepare the sprouts. Using a large bowl, trim the butt end of each sprout off and cut them into halves. Peel any rough outer leaves off and discard, along with the butt ends.
Once the sprouts are all halved, toss them with other 2 tablespoons of oil and the salt. You can either add the thyme now to the sprouts or add it after roasting for a slightly different flavour, I have tried them both ways and they are both fantastic. Lay the oil tossed sprouts onto the oiled flat pan and put into the oven once it reaches temperature.
Allow the sprouts to cook for 15-20 minutes before opening the oven to toss them gently and make sure they aren’t sticking to the pan. Once tossed, leave them to cook further for 10-15 more minutes, until soft and showing some brown/blackish spots. Remove from the oven to cool.
While the sprouts cook, prepare the beans, feta (or capers), and tomatoes in a mixing bowl. Slice the tomatoes lengthwise vs. chopping as they look (just a little) prettier (of course totally your call!). Throw in your chopped thyme.
When ready to serve, toss the warm, hot, or room temperature sprouts gently with the rest of the ingredients (I use my hands to make sure I don’t break the feta pieces) and finish with olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve as is with a feast, or as a feast unto itself. I enjoyed this delicious & satisfying combo many times this week and ate it cold, warm, and all things in between. Re-heated quickly on the stove this combo made a wonderful lunch accompanied by a bit of roasted squash (my next post) and a splash of good balsamic vinegar.