To continue the semi-healthy kick I’ve been on, we have this really interesting main dish/side dish/salad option, chock-full of different flavors and textures just begging to be devoured. I went the side dish route and made it simply roasted brussels sprouts with cranberries and gorgonzola.
I’d found this recipe on Pinterest a long time ago and always meant to get to it, but then months passed and it just lingered there. I decided to finally give it a try and was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it, though honestly the cranberries were a little too tart for me—I’d consider swapping them out for something else next time.
You’ve got dense brussels sprouts, tart fresh cranberries, salty Gorgonzola, crunchy pecans, and a sweet maple balsamic dressing with a bite. The recipe calls for cooked barley as well, since it’s meant to be a main dish. I didn’t have the time or inclination to do that this time, but will definitely try it some other time.
I also loved this tip from Cookie + Kate…brussels sprouts are best cooked flat-side down because the heat gets trapped inside the sprout and, in effect, steams it. It’s the best way to get crispy flat sides and cooked insides. It’s one of those things you kind of do intuitively, but knowing WHY helps.
Cut the brussels sprouts into halves length-wise. Toss the cut brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt, making sure they’re evenly coated.
My cranberries were frozen, so I thawed them in the microwave for a minute or so.
Preheat your broiler and set a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Let it heat up for two to three minutes, so it’s hot enough that a few drops of water sizzle and quickly disappear after contact.
Dump the sprouts into the hot pan and quickly rearrange them so the flat sides are all face down. Let them cook for three to five minutes without touching them.
You can toast your pecans in a pan for a couple minutes, or in the oven.
Toss the fresh cranberries into the pan and transfer the pan to your oven broiler. Make sure you use oven mitts, the pan will be really heavy and hot!
Let it broil for about three minutes. Check the sprouts for doneness—their tops should be a little browned and the bottoms caramelized. The cranberries should have started popping by now. At that point, pull it out of the oven.
Toss the sprouts, cranberries, cheese and pecans in a bowl and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.
Note, the original recipe calls for cooked barley, which I didn’t have at the time, so if you want to go that route (I will definitely give it a try at some point), see the link at the bottom of the post.
I really enjoyed this dish overall, and loved all the complex flavors and different textures it offered.
As I mentioned at the beginning, there are a lot of variations you could do. I’d like to try it with the cooked barley as a vegetarian main dish, and also would like to try substituting something else for the cranberries (which are a little tart for my taste)—maybe cherries or something? But overall, a great, healthy but still indulgent-feeling and super easy side dish!
Other healthy side dishes you’ll love:
- One-Pot Kale & Quinoa Pilaf
- Brussels Sprouts & Kale Slaw with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette
- Parmesan-Roasted Acorn Squash
- Delicious & Easy Kale Salad
- Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic-Honey Drizzle
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries & Gorgonzola
- 1 pound of brussels sprouts; it’s better to have small sprouts vs. big ones (they’re more tender)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2/3 cup of fresh cranberries (or 1/3 cup dried cranberries)
- 1/3 cup of crumbled Gorgonzola or goat cheese (I used Gorgonzola)
- 1/3 cup of freshly toasted pecans
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
- Preheat your broiler and set a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Let it heat up for a few minutes. It should be so hot that a few drops of water sizzle and quickly disappear after contact. If your fresh cranberries are frozen, thaw them for a minute or so in a bowl in the microwave
- In a medium bowl, toss the prepared Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt. Toss well, so that the sprouts are evenly coated in a thin layer of oil. Once the pan is hot, dump the sprouts into the pan and quickly rearrange them so the flat sides are face down. Let them cook for two minutes.
- Toss the fresh cranberries into the pan and transfer the pan to your broiler. The pan will be heavy and hot so use oven mitts and be careful! Let the Brussels broil for about three minutes. Check the sprouts for doneness—their tops should be a little browned and the bottoms caramelized. How long you should leave them in there depends on your preferences and your oven. The cranberries should have started popping by now, so pull the pan out of the oven.
- Toss the sprouts, cranberries, cheese and pecans in a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Season with salt and enjoy!
Original recipe here
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