Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and asparagus are the three vegetables I get the most complaints about. Here’s an easy recipe for each to learn to love them…
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Brussels sprouts are incredible when roasted—they become crisp outside and tender inside, with a mild, somewhat nutty flavor. I have converted countless brussels sprouts naysayers with this simple dish. If you want to spice it up a bit, sprinkle a teaspoon of smoked paprika on the oiled sprouts before cooking.
1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the brussels sprouts on a baking sheet, and toss them with the oil and salt. Roast until golden brown and crisp on the outside (but still soft and tender inside), which should take about one hour. Serves four. Recipe from So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week (Wiley).
SKILLET MAC & CHEESE & CAULIFLOWER
Combining cauliflower and cheese sauce is a great way to convince cauliflower haters to change their tune—the flavors work wonderfully together.
2 cups 1-inch-wide cauliflower florets
1 ¼ cups whole-wheat bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups cold low-fat (1%) milk
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (5 ounces)
¼ cup shredded Gruyère (1 ounce)
2 teaspoons mustard powder
¾ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 ounces (1 ½ cups) whole-grain elbow macaroni, cooked for three minutes less than the package directs (about three cups cooked)
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Steam the cauliflower over boiling water in a covered steamer basket until just tender, about five minutes, then finely chop.
In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan and oil. In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat while whisking constantly. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, two to three minutes. Stir in the cheddar, Gruyère, mustard powder, paprika, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Whisk until the cheeses are melted and the mixture is smooth, about one to two minutes. Add the macaroni and cauliflower, and stir.
Spray an ovenproof, high-sided 10-inch skillet with cooking spray. Pour the mixture into this skillet, then sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture. Place the skillet on a baking sheet, and bake until the cheese is bubbly, about 35 to 40 minutes. Serves six. Recipe from Comfort Food Fix: Feel-Good Favorites Made Healthy (Wiley).
ASPARAGUS WITH MIMOSA TOPPING
The topping makes the asparagus extra delicious.
2 slices whole-wheat bread, crusts removed
1 hard-boiled egg
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 bunches asparagus (about 2 ½ pounds), woody bottoms removed
1 Tablespoon water
Pulse the bread in a food processor until it becomes fine crumbs. Coat a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray, and heat the pan over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium, add the crumbs and toast, tossing often, until golden brown, five to six minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
Peel, then grate the egg, using the medium holes of a box grater or a medium rasp grater. Combine the egg, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
Place the asparagus in a large microwave-safe bowl with the water. Cover tightly, and microwave on high for three minutes. Drain well.
Put the asparagus on a platter, and sprinkle on the topping. Serves eight. Recipe from The Food You Crave (Taunton).