I had something entirely different planned for today’s blog post. Something decadent, yet healthy, and totally written, edited and ready to go. But then. Then I went to the market—an errand I seem to make daily no matter how well I think I’ve planned (#foodbloggerproblems slash #ineverbuyenoughspinach)—and saw fresh pomegranates.
Nature is pretty amazing because just when I think it can’t get any better than gorgeous fresh figs, pomegranates appear and make my heart flutter in new ways. I know you can buy those little pre-plucked and packaged pomegranate seeds pretty much year round, but I encourage you to wait until it’s actually pomegranate season—October through February.
The flavor and color of the fresh seasonal fruit is truly unparalleled.
I had no idea what I was going to do with the pomegranate until I got home and remembered that I had Brussels sprouts galore waiting to be used. My husband is a Brussels sprouts fanatic—he eats those things daily—and so we always have abundance. I love them, too, but not quite as much. Something about the smell gets me. However, I could totally eat these roasted Dijon Brussels sprouts with pomegranate sprinkles and toasted sunflower seeds on the regular.
Yes, I said pomegranate sprinkles—isn’t that the greatest? I wish I could take credit for that but I have to give props to my friend Lindsay on Instagram for that one (check her out @thefitforkfeed). As soon as she said it, I knew it had to be in the recipe title because hello, fresh fruit sprinkles?! The. Best.
This recipe is super simple to prepare and can be used a number of ways.
Eat it as a side dish at dinner
Add it to a nourishing grain bowl with other roasted vegetables
Toss them into a salad, like this one
Top with a piece of grilled chicken or salmon for an easy meal
Add a couple fried eggs and enjoy for breakfast
In fact, that last one may be my favorite way to eat these roasted Dijon Brussels sprouts with pomegranate sprinkles and toasted sunflower seeds because having heaps of vegetables—especially this nutritional powerhouse—at breakfast sets you up for a pretty great day. And, I’m all about getting those 2-3 servings of vegetables at every meal.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS FOR THE WIN
Brussels sprouts get a bad rap, or at least they used to anyway, because of their sometimes stinky cabbage smell. While my mom never coerced my brother and I into eating our vegetables, I know some people attribute their hate of Brussels sprouts to being tortured by them in childhood.
I’ve always been a vegetable lover though my true love will always be fruit and I welcome all vegetables into my life with open arms. Especially Brussels sprouts, which are without a doubt one of the most healthful foods you can eat.
These strange little buds with their cabbage-like leaves are a warming food full of nutrients that support stomach and large intestine function. Considered a mutant in the vegetable world, their origin is not exactly known though they are believed to have come about after some kind of kale developed a spontaneous mutation. Like I said, strange little buds.
A member of the cruciferous family, Brussels are extremely rich in antioxidants and are an excellent source of folic acid, beta carotene, vitamins C and K, and contains loads of fiber. Brussels sprouts are rich in glucosinolates—the cancer-butt-kicking phytochemical.
Seriously, the extracts from this vegetable have been shown to kill more human cancer cells than any other. So even if you are a hater, perhaps this tangy and sweet recipe will convert you to a lover.
POMEGRANATE: A TRUE GEM
I think I love pomegranates more for their little ruby-like appearance than I do their flavor, though that is certainly part of why I adore them. They brighten both the look and flavor of any dish and I encourage you to use them as often as you can now that they are back in season.
Pomegranates are native to Persia and also grow in the Mediterranean and Southern California. Their medicinal benefit stems from a high antioxidant content denoted by their vibrant color, as well as punicalagins—the tannins that lend even more free radical activity. They, too, are known to be effective in fighting cancerous cells.
The pretty little seeds are high in pantothenic acid a.k.a vitamin B5, which is necessary to release energy from the fat, protein, and carbohydrates we consume in our diet. Pantothenic acid also helps reduce stress by enhancing our immune system through the creation of antibody proteins. This vitamin has even been linked to improving acne due to its ability to increase zinc absorption and reduce inflammation.
Plus, they are SO beautiful and delicious.
SUNFLOWER SEEDS: THE OTHER SPRINKLE
In addition to the pretty little pom seeds, this side dish gets a sprinkling of toasted sunflower kernels. I love sunflower seeds for the mildly nutty flavor and the bit of crunchiness that they add here. While high in fat, it’s a blend of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and poly-unsaturated fatty acids, which have both been shown to be beneficial for heart health. They are also a good source of linolenic acid, a powerful antioxidant.
You’ll find more pantothenic acid in sunflower seeds, along with vitamin E (another antioxidant that works wonders for inflammatory conditions), folate (critical for brain function), and selenium (essential for thyroid hormone synthesis, optimal metabolism, immune health, and a potent antioxidant—it’s one of my favorite nutrients).
Basically this recipe is all kinds of AWESOME.
// RECIPE //
ROASTED DIJON BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH POMMEGRANATE SPRINKLES AND TOASTED SUNFLOWER SEED
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 30-35 minutes
5-6 cups Brussels sprouts
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt + black pepper
1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
2-3 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
For the Honey Dijon Dressing:
1/4 cup apple cider or white wine vinegar (ACV will make it more tart)
1-2 tbs raw local honey
1 tsb Dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 400-degrees Fahrenheit and brush a baking sheet with coconut oil.
- Wash Brussels sprouts, cut into halves, and add to a mixing bowl.*
- Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and stir with a wooden spoon to evenly coat.**
- Spread sprouts onto prepared baking sheet and pop into the oven for 30-35 minutes until they are crispy and browned. Stir once half way through.
- While the sprouts are baking, cut open the pomegranate and remove the seeds.***
- To toast the sunflower seeds, place seeds into a small nonstick pan (or stainless steel – whatever you have on hand) without oil – there is plenty of natural oils in the seeds themselves – and heat on medium high. Stir frequently until toasted and set aside.
For the Honey Dijon Dressing:
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
When Brussels sprouts are done roasting, drizzle a bit of the dressing over them and toss to coat. I only used 1-2 tablespoons because I didn’t want to make them too soggy so dress to your liking.
Sprinkle with pomegranate and sunflower seeds and voila! Your superfood side dish is done!
*To remove any tiny insects that may have burrowed into your Brussels sprouts (or cauliflower and artichokes for future reference), soak them in warm water with 2 tablespoons of salt and vinegar for 30 minutes. Admittedly, I usually just roll the dice, but if you have the time this is how you’d do it!
**I’ll usually add half the oil and stir and then add the rest so that it’s evenly distributed.
***To open a pomegranate simply score the outside by taking a knife and running it around the middle of the pomegranate until you reach the original cut. Gently pull the two halves apart (have a bowl underneath as you do this because some of the little red jewels will fall out!). Once opened, take one of the halves and hold it cut side down over a bowl. Using a wooden kitchen spoon and lightly tap the exterior and watch as the fruit falls right out! If it still needs a bit of help loosening up, just break into a smaller piece and gently pull the seeds out by hand. Go ahead and sample a few—they are irresistible!
I hope you all enjoy this superfood side dish, that could easily become the main on the table if you like. And don’t worry, I promise to share the healthy yet decadent treat that I had planned on posting today next week…Or maybe the week after. It’s one of those evergreen recipes and right now I can’t seem to resist playing in the kitchen with all the delicious fall flavors.
Can you blame me?
But seriously, I have to get my food impulse shopping under control. Some people impulse buy clothing, whereas I go to the farmers market or grocery and I’m like, Ooooooh give me all the pretty produce! (And, um, OK also guilty of more than a few impulse purchases at Anthro and Madewell, but I digress.)
What fall impulse food purchase(s) have you made recently?
Please share your photos of this recipe on social media and tag your pic #honestlynourished and #eathonestly. I love seeing your spin on things!