Who doesn’t like brussels sprouts? Actually, most people I know. But once they experience my take on these baby cabbages, many naysayers become happy converts. I think I know the reason why.
Something happens to brussels sprouts when they undergo high-heat roasting. They turn from watery, blah-tasting greens into little gems, caramelized on the outside and just cooked through on the inside. Really, all that is necessary is a light coating of olive oil and a good-quality seasoning salt to bring all the flavors together.
I also love what happens to winter squash when roasted. The inherent sweet flavor comes forth and a slightly crisp, browned exterior creates great color and texture. Of all the winter squashes, butternut squash works best in this combination with brussels sprouts.
At a recent signing for my latest book, “Seriously Simple Parties,” Roasted Butternut Squash With Brussels Sprouts was served and was a big hit. When you are looking for color and texture to perk up your table, this is an excellent choice. If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, you can use them to make a jewel of a vegetable salad with a glistening of your favorite vinaigrette. For an extra punch of flavor, add some crumbled, crispy bacon bits just before serving – but make sure there are no vegetarians in the group.
This is a great alternative side dish in the cooler months. The firm, slightly brown brussels sprouts mingle nicely with the creamy, bright orange squash pieces. To gild the lily, you could add some pomegranate seeds for a garnish. Serve the dish in a white bowl to show off the vivid vegetable colors. If you are making this for a crowd, you can double it – but make sure to use two pans.
Diane Rossen Worthington is the author of 20 cookbooks and a James Beard award-winning radio show host. Contact her at seriouslysimple.com