The other day I ran into Trader Joe’s for a few quick things, and I saw something that literally stopped me dead in my tracks. I did a double, and then a triple-take before circling the display table, and then reaching out to make sure they were real. And they were…
The most beautiful, massively huge stalks of Brussels sprouts I had ever seen, with the most perfect, small, tender sized sprouts I’d ever seen.
I know, I really need more of a life, if that’s all it takes to take my breath away. The thing is, we don’t usually have those at the regular grocery store. Brussels sprouts are hardly, if ever, available on the stalk like that, and now that I’m describing this, it really makes me realize I need some more excitement in my life.
Brussels sprouts are one of those love ‘em or hate ‘em vegetables. Most people hate them because they have memories of them being boiled to death, and smelling up the house. The trick is to roast them, so they get a little bit (or a lot) crispy and caramelized, and then they are actually kind of sweet and crunchy/crispy. They’re also one of the healthiest of vegetables, because they fall into the cruciferous category, which have lots of cancer fighting phytochemicals.
I thought they would go really nicely with the delicate squash I had on hand, and a drizzle of balsamic syrup, and I was right. Toss in some fresh cranberries for color and tang, and this is a perfect vegetable side dish for Thanksgiving.
If you haven’t tried delicate squash, please DO! It’s sweeter and milder than butternut, and it has a nice, soft skin, so it’s easy to cut. The skin softens so nicely when it’s roasted, that you don’t even know it’s there, so no need to trim it.
- 4 cups Brussels sprouts ends trimmed and outer leaves removed
- 1 medium Delicata squash halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries about half of a bag
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Rinse all vegetables and cranberries well, pat dry and place in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle olive oil over all, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Toss well to coat with oil and seasoning.
Transfer brussels sprouts, squash and cranberries to a baking pan, so that everything is in a single layer.
Roast for about 30 minutes or until brussels sprouts turn brown and crisp in spots, and squash has golden brown spots. Turn vegetables halfway through roasting, to cook evenly.
While vegetables are roasting, mix balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until mixture thickens and turns to a syrup consistency.
Let vegetables and cranberries cool a bit, and drizzle with balsamic syrup.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving veggie side dish?