Thanksgiving is almost here, are you as excited as I am? I bet you are! I’m going to keep it short and sweet since I have many recipes to share with you. Say hello to balsamic brussels sprouts. Oh how I love thee.
I love, love the taste of balsamic, especially on brussels sprouts. Have you ever had brussels sprouts this way? Goodness gracious does it make this classic Thanksgiving veggie come alive … the tangy, the sweet, the sour pucker … then drizzled over perfectly roasted sprouts with just a touch of snap for texture. Just goodness. Please ignore my overuse of the word goodness – some habits are hard to break and this really is goodness I tell ya.
So why bother with balsamic glaze when you can just buy a bottle?
A few reasons: a) balsamic contains sulfites – removing this was one of the reasons I overcame fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue years ago (removing amalgam fillings, B vitamins, and exercise helped too) b) 99% of balsamic contains lead c) even if there was a sulfite free, lead free brand hiding somewhere they are insanely expensive d) nutritional benefits the bottled stuff doesn’t have
And how exactly does it taste like balsamic? Tamarind paste! You can find it in most health food stores (near the chutneys in the ethnic food section) or online. I personally find Aunt Patty’s brand to be the best tasting and it’s organic.
It’s not cheap but a little goes a long way, and stores for months in the fridge. It’s also easy to prepare, which makes it an ideal addition to many foods. I specifically measured out the glaze for this recipe yet keep a big jar on hand for a quick tossed salad, glazed chicken breast, braised meat, roasted carrots and fennel … even over fresh strawberries. So good. If you’re a nutrition geek like me, here is a good read on the health benefits of tamarind http://foodfacts.mercola.com/tamarind.html
And for all you veggie chip lovers: I made some brussels sprouts chips (another baking sheet just for these babies since they bake pretty quickly) that are irresistible. I have a hard time resisting the end pieces that fall off the sprouts so why not just make a bunch, right? A good amount of sea salt makes them even better.
- For the Balsamic Glaze:
- Makes about 1 cup (also makes a tasty salad dressing)
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or GF sherry vinegar if sulfites aren't an issue)
- 1 heaping tablespoon tamarind paste
- pinch of kosher salt
- For Roasted Brussels Sprouts:
- Yields about 4 cups
- 4 pounds brussels sprouts
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or spray (I use soy free spray by Pompeii brand)
- pinches of kosher salt, about 1 teaspoon for each baking sheet
- Preheat oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Trim stems and peel away outer leaves. Wash well or soak in a large bowl full of water with 2-3 tablespoons of kosher salt to kill off any microorganisms - let it sit for 20 minutes. Pat dry then cut each brussels sprout in half. Transfer cut sprouts to the baking sheets (it’s okay piled up). Coat or spray with oil then sprinkle kosher salt evenly across. Toss to coat well then spread out into single layers. Bake 25 minutes for brussels sprouts with a bite (al dente) or 30 minutes for softer, well-roasted sprouts.
- Meanwhile, combine all the balsamic glaze ingredients in a small saucepan (I use a 3 cup saucepan) set on medium heat. Once it comes to a rolling boil, continue to boil for 2 minutes. If you are using a tiny saucepan like mine be careful it doesn’t boil over; reduce heat somewhat if it starts to rise up too quickly. Let it cool before glazing, this will help thicken it up to a syrupy balsamic consistency.
- Drizzle over roasted brussels sprouts. Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds, if desired.
- Note: This recipe is freezer friendly, however, par-roast the brussels sprouts for 10 minutes then completely cool and freeze in a tightly sealed freezer-safe container. Thaw, then finish roasting the day of as noted in the recipe then drizzle balsamic glaze just before serving. I don’t recommend glazing the sprouts and then freezing, it makes them lose their snap.
- If making extra balsamic, keep it refrigerated. It will stay fresh in a sealed glass jar for up to a month.
- Brussels Sprouts Chips:
- Before adding avocado oil and salt to the trimmed brussels sprouts, remove as many outer leaves as you like and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly spray with oil (unfortunately drizzling oil will not keep them crispy) and sprinkle a pinch of salt evenly across. Do not mix. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until crispy looking. Sprinkle sea salt, like Maldon over the chips before serving. Best eaten the same day.
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