Brussels sprouts caramelized with red onion and roasted pecans is a popular dish in my house. It amazes me that I once despised this cute little cabbage-looking vegetable. My mom loved to boil them just like she did cabbage, and insist I eat every one of them that she put on my plate. I hated the bitter taste. They were on my “hate-list” along with beets and turnips. So, when she wasn’t looking, I would spit them in my napkin and throw them away just like I did with my beets and turnips. She insisted that I would created a “taste” for them if I kept eating them. I did finally create a taste for all of my “hate-list” vegetables, but it was only when I learned to cook them properly that my taste buds changed. It was their health benefits that persuaded me to give these super foods another chance.
Those of you that know me have heard me talk about my constant fight to beat the odds with my family’s horrible history of heart disease. This disease has taken away so many of the people I love: my dearest uncles, my aunts, and many cousins. Years ago when my Dad had his first bi-pass surgery, I made a decision to do everything I could to live a healthy lifestyle. I already exercised regularly and I never smoked so all I had left to do was change my eating habits. I started eating less meat and more vegetables. A few years ago, when I still couldn’t lower my cholesterol, I decided to basically go with a plant-based diet.
Lately, with life stresses and worries causing my blood pressure to rise a little and since I’m getting to the age that family members started to experience troubles, I decided it was time to get the heart completely checked out. I even paid an extra $200 to have a calcium score. To my surprise, my heart was in perfect condition and for my age, I performed better than 99% of women in their forties (I’m just days away from fifty). I passed my exercise stress test, my nuclear stress test, and my echo-cardiogram with flying colors. I had a calcium score of “0”. This shocked my doctor. He was prepared to tell me I had very early signs of heart disease, but I had nothing. This was my doctors advice: “keep doing the same things you’ve been doing”. Brussels sprouts are just one of those things I’ve been doing so I have to share my favorite recipe with all my family and friends.
If you still need convincing to add these little cabbages to your diet, here are some benefits: For those wanting to lose weight, they are low in calories. They lower cholesterol, they are a natural antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory, high in vitamin K, and vitamin C. They also reduce the risk of cancer.
And they are just plain delicious!
- 2-3 cups fresh brussels sprouts, sliced in half
- ½ cup pecans, roast them in the oven
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced (I like red onion)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (according to your taste, more or less of this)
- olive oil for sauteing
- splash of brown sugar
- splash of lemon juice
- sprinkle of pecorino or fresh parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Wash and slice the brussels sprouts. If the stems are too long or tough, trim them off.
- Put them in a skillet on low with a little olive oil. Turn the flat sides down to brown them.
- In a separate oiled skillet, add the sliced onion. Cook on low heat until tender.
- When onions are tender and slightly browned, add a sprinkle of apple cider vinegar to finished the sizzling, caramelizing effect.
- Meanwhile, toast the pecan on a pan in the oven for about 5 mins.
- When the brussels sprouts become a bright green, add the caramelized onions.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper, the honey. Stir together and then add the rest of the apple cider vinegar. Stir vigorously until the sizzle goes down.
- Add the pecans.
- After this is spooned onto a serving place, sprinkle with lemon juice (optional) and freshly grated cheese. If you'd like it a little sweet, you can add a small amount of brown sugar.