Brussels Jump to the Favorite List

ALMOND AND OLIVE STUFFED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Almond Olive Stuffed Brussels Sprouts copyAfter watching dinner guests take a pass when plain, steamed Brussels sprouts came to the table, I became aware they were not on everyone’s list of favorite vegetables. But when I stuffed them and served them as an eye-appealing appetizer, they proved their mojo.

This recipe also just happens to be one that’s in my Vegan for the Holidays Vegan Holidays highrescookbook. It’s in the Christmas section, but don’t pay any attention to that. Serve them all season long. They’re perfect for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Years, too!

I’ve also noticed an encouraging new trend in recent years. Attitudes are changing about green vegetables as the vegan message about their health benefits jumps into the mainstream. How nice to see the turnabout, especially for Brussels, a vegetable that used to be left languishing on the plate at the end of the meal.

Today Brussels sprouts have climbed pretty close to the top of the favorite list. At farmer’s markets and some of the more vegetable-savvy groceries, they come to market still attached to their tall, thick stalks and looking very perky and inviting.

Last year, just before Thanksgiving, those 2-foot long stalks showed up at my local Trader Joe’s market. While checking out, I couldn’t help noticing how popular they’ve become. About every third shopping cart had a stalk of Brussels. I bought two of them, knowing this recipe was sitting on my kitchen counter waiting for me to dig right in.

ALMOND AND OLIVE STUFFED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings

20 fresh Brussels sprouts

1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped

1 (13.8-ounce) can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained

20 pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

10 jumbo pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 to 3/4 cup Homemade Parmesan or prepared vegan Parmesan

6 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters, for garnish

 

  1. Fill a 4-quart saucepan two-thirds full with water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, trim the Brussels sprouts stems and discard. Cut the sprouts in half-lengthwise. Plunge the sprout halves into boiling water in batches and boil for 1 1/2 minutes, or until they are just tender but still hold their shape. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels and repeat the process until all the sprouts are tender.
  1. Using a serrated grapefruit or paring knife, carefully scoop out the centers of the sprouts to create a cavity. Reserve the centers for another r recipe.
  1. To make the stuffing, put the almonds in a food processor. Process until they form a coarse meal, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Transfer to a large bowl.
  1. Put the artichoke hearts in the food processor. Process until they are coarsely chopped. Add them to the bowl with the almond meal.
  1. Put the olives, shallot, and garlic in the food processor. Process briefly, just until chunky. Add the olive mixture to the bowl with the artichokes and almonds. Mix well. If the stuffing seems too dry, add 1 to 3 teaspoons of water to moisten.
  1. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the stuffing into the cavity of each sprout half. Sprinkle with the Homemade Parmesan and garnish each with a cherry tomato quarter if desired. Serve at room temperature or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  1. To serve warm, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the stuffed sprouts on the prepared pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or just until heated through. Garnish each with a cherry tomato quarter if desired. Transfer to a serving platter.
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