I never had brussel sprouts as a child. And due to everything you hear about them as a child, I determined to never try them if I was given the opportunity. The opportunity never really presented itself until about two years ago, where I tried them at a lovely restaurant called J. Alexander’s. I had never had anything at J’s that I did not like, so I recklessly thought, why not! Well, I don’t know about all brussel sprout preparations, but these are good! I was determined to always make brussel sprouts this way and make vegetable converts of those around me!
My husband liked them the first time I made them, and convinced his father – who claimed to not like brussel sprouts either – try them. Dad liked them. Yes! My veggie revolution had begun! The secret is in the panko breadcrumbs. They’re bigger than usual breadcrumbs and give a crunch to the dish that could otherwise be another pile of limp vegetables. I carefully studied the simple looking recipe and came up with this copy cat version.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Cauliflower
a lovely side dish serving 4-6
1 head cauliflower
1 bag of brussel sprouts, I prefer smaller ones
Salt & pepper to taste
Parmesan, shaved, shredded, or powdered, optional
I used two types of breadcrumbs this go around, but usually I only use one, the one that makes J. Alexander’s so wonderful. The lovely panko breadcrumbs. You can even get them in whole wheat, so no guilt required!
Preheat the oven to 400 then wash and cut the veggies into bite size chunks.
I sliced the brussel sprouts in half, lengthwise, so they’re bite-size, but don’t fall apart completely. I also chopped any dark end pieces and peeled off any wilty leaves.
Then I threw the vegetables into a bowl that had a lid like so…
added a tablespoon of olive oil, some salt & pepper, and some Italian breadcrumbs. I used these breadcrumbs for the spices it had, but if you’re using plain panko, you could also add italian seasonings, garlic powder, or anything else that you’d like.
Then I put on the lid tightly and shook all the stuff around to evenly coat the vegetables. And dumped them onto a baking sheet with sides.
Shake the rosemary over the whole pan, and add more salt & pepper if you wish.
At this point, liberally shake the panko breadcrumbs onto the veggies, and drizzle with more olive oil to coat the breadcrumbs.
I make this recipe a lot and have to switch it up now and then. Though J. Alexander’s does not do this, sometimes I’ll add some freshly grated Parmesan before popping them in the oven.
Place on the top rack in the oven and roast for about 15-18 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Then, broil for 3-5 minutes. You’ll need to watch the broiling process carefully as seconds too long could scorch the entire pan. You want some outer leaves of the brussel sprouts to be crispy, and some cauliflower pieces to have browned, but what you don’t want is vegetables that taste like coal. Bleck!
You, too, can prove that brussel sprouts are good! Enjoy!