Thursday, July 18, 2013

the fit beast feasts: roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic vinaigrette

it seriously annoys me that my spell check flags brussels sprouts.  the "s" at the end is correct!  gosh.  anyway.  i am such a fan of these little nuggets of love and think it's funny to see them portrayed as being disgusting and disliked.

i guess the haters have just been eating them wrong all this time and should probably try my recipe!  before i get to the recipe, i wanted to share with you a few reasons why you should be eating brussels sprouts:

  • brussels sprouts can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will use a steaming method when cooking them. the fiber-related components in brussels sprouts do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they've been steamed. when this binding process takes place, it's easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. raw brussels sprouts still have cholesterol-lowering ability — just not as much as steamed brussels sprouts.
  • brussels sprouts may have unique health benefits in the area of dna protection. a recent study has shown improved stability of dna inside of our white blood cells after daily consumption of brussels sprouts in the amount of 1.25 cups. interestingly, it's the ability of certain compounds in brussels sprouts to block the activity of sulphotransferase enzymes that researchers believe to be responsible for these dna-protective benefits.
  • for total glucosinolate content, brussels sprouts are now known to top the list of commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. their total glucosinolate content has been shown to be greater than the amount found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, or broccoli. in germany, brussels sprouts account for more glucosinolate intake than any other food except broccoli. glucosinolates are important phytonutrients for our health because they are the chemical starting points for a variety of cancer-protective substances. all cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates and have great health benefits for this reason. but it's recent research that's made us realize how especially valuable brussels sprouts are in this regard.
  • the cancer protection we get from brussels sprouts is largely related to four specific glucosinolates found in this cruciferous vegetable: glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiian. research has shown that brussels sprouts offer these cancer-preventive components in special combination.
  • brussels sprouts have been used to determine the potential impact of cruciferous vegetables on thyroid function. in a recent study, 5 ounces of brussels sprouts were consumed on a daily basis for 4 consecutive weeks by a small group of healthy adults and not found to have an unwanted impact on their thyroid function. although follow-up studies are needed, this study puts at least one large stamp of approval on brussels sprouts as a food that can provide fantastic health benefits without putting the thyroid gland at risk.
    found ::here::
they're actually pretty cool.  i mean, have you seen how they grow?  the little sprouts form first on the bottom of the trunk and then spread upwards.  eventually the cabbage-like leaves fall off to make way as the sprouts migrate.  when a sprout is picked, another will never grow in its place.  

i buy my sprouts in bulk, but if you purchase them and pick them by hand, make sure you find firm sprouts.  any that are limp and flimsy are likely to taste bitter as it's a sign that they were grown in too hot of a climate.  the best sprouts come from the "fog belt" in the pacific northwest.  

there, now you know a little more about these little creatures and you are one step closer to the recipe.

the old me loved to eat these in a naughty way.  the fit beast me actually enjoys them more in a healthier format.  i hope you will, too.

first, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and get out your best roasting pan.  there's no need to grease or line it.  

prepare your sprouts by washing them and removing any damaged and nasty outer leaves.  cut off the hardened bottom.  i don't cut off too much, just enough to still keep the leaves intact and attached to one another.

cut the sprouts in half.  if you have some bigger sprouts, cut them in quarters or at least until they're a similar size to the smaller sprouts.  you'll want to do this to ensure that your sprouts all cook at the same rate.

next, in a small container, mix up a simple balsamic vinaigrette.  i probably shouldn't give you my recipe because i don't do it the correct way.  i like more vinegar than oil when i make dressings so i usually do 2 parts balsamic vinegar to 1 part olive oil.  season with salt and pepper.

arrange your sprouts cut side up on your roasting pan.  equally drizzle the vinaigrette over the sprouts, ensuring they all are covered in a yummy goodness.  only use about 3/4 of the dressing.

when your oven is heated, place the roasting pan on the middle rack and let the sprouts roast for about 18-20 minutes, or until they're gorgeously browned.

remove the pan from the oven and carefully place the sprouts cut-side down on the roasting pan.  drizzle with just a little bit of the dressing and then place back in the oven.  i've found that the uncut side of the sprout takes less time to roast, so i only leave them in the oven for about 12-15 minutes.

i can never wait until they cool and am fine burning my mouth to eat these.  i don't suggest that you endure any amount of pain, so wait for these to cool a little bit and then devour them.

give them a shot and let me know what you think!!!

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

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