I promised you guys a healthier dish in my last post, which was completely over the top. I know. I’m sorry? I figured we could all squeeze in one more indulgence before heading into the new year with all our bright and shiny new resolutions (or recycled ones).
I, like so many others, re-evaluate my eating and exercise habits every January. Not so much for weight-loss purposes, but more so because I’m interested in the “clean slate” mentality. Instead of focusing on what dress size I need to be or how much weight I want to lose by bikini season, I try to slowly but surely re-vamp the daily habits brought on during the holiday season. The holidays are tough. I mean, they are THE BEST EVER, but also tiring. I feel like I hardly have a second to stop and enjoy them sometimes. Then there’s the food. And the alcohol. It’s everywhere you go! I am not complaining, but it DOES take a toll on our minds and bodies after a while. By the time January rolls around, I’m actually EXCITED to eat kale and whole grains and green smoothies again. See? Clean slate!
Now, I’ve already proclaimed my love of brussels sprouts. They rock my world. Not only are they considered a super food, which makes them perfect for new year transitions, but they are easy to prepare and taste great.
This recipe is a good one for brussels newbies. If you are still on the fence about them, try them cooked this way. We’ve got caramelized onions (win), balsamic vinegar (win), and BACON (um, obviously that’s a win!). Yes, it’s a little bit of a cheat to add bacon to a veggie dish, but hey! At least you’re eating your veggies! Baby steps.
Plus, the new year shouldn’t be about shaming or guilting yourself because you ate some bacon…focus on the bigger picture, folks. A couple pieces of bacon in your diet here and there is not going to ruin your life…or your waistline. Moderation is key! Instead of saying “I am going to ELIMINATE bacon from my life,” say “I am going to MODERATE how much bacon I eat.” You’ll not only set up a reasonable expectation of yourself, but (more importantly) you’ll still get to eat BACON! Be healthy. Watch what you eat. Exercise more. Swap cheese for lettuce on your sandwich. BUT don’t set yourself up to fail before you even start. I think that should be a resolution for resolutions. Hah.
Anyway. Back to the recipe…
The bacon adds a salty bite while the onions and vinegar do their part to balance things out with some sweetness and acidity. It’s a perfect side dish for most things. My husband tends to eat these brussels as his entrée. He says that they are the best brussels he’s had…like EVER.
I think I’m doing OK so far in 2014. Brussels (and bacon) for the win.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Caramelized Onions & Bacon
(makes 4 side-dish servings)
4 cups brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
4 slices of bacon, sliced
1 tablespoon of butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment. Spread the brussels sprouts out on the pan in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10-20 minutes, tossing once or twice, or until the brussels are golden brown and beginning to crisp.
2. Meanwhile, crisp the bacon in a medium skillet. To the drippings, add the butter and once melted, add the onion. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, or until softened and starting to caramelize. Add in the red pepper flakes, sugar, and vinegar. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture is thickened and glossy. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Toss the hot brussels sprouts with the balsamic onion mixture and garnish with the crispy bacon. Serve!