I used to come to the farmers’ market or grocery store armed with a list of ingredients. Now, I throw the list to the wind.
Instead, I look around and see what stands out to me. It could be a gnarly piece of turmeric that I could turn into tea, or a giant hunk of homemade Brie for a panini. Today, it was a basket of brussels sprouts.
I ate some brussels last night at a tapas restaurant in D.C. and it made me want to make my own at home. I decided to buy a few this morning and roast them in the oven with olive oil, maple syrup and sea salt.
Brussels sprouts and maple syrup are one of the ultimate power couples. Adding sea salt into the mix only makes them that much better. When I took them out of the oven, the outsides were slightly caramelized and some leaves that fell off while baking were crispy like potato chips. It took all my will power not to eat the entire tray.
With a little self-control, I managed to save them for the salad. I tossed them with roasted and salted sweet potatoes, sweet pomegranate seeds and heirloom quinoa. There weren’t a lot of ingredients, but the taste was complex. Sweet, savory, caramelized, slightly smoky…It was comforting and reassuring in ways that salads often aren’t. Basically, the food equivalent of a warm fireplace and a blanket.
Here’s a song I’ve been jamming out to recently. I had forgotten about it until I saw it on my sister’s Spotify playlist the other day.
Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts Salad (from me, to you)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed into small pieces
10 large brussels sprouts, cut in half
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp maple syrup
sea salt flakes and pepper to taste
2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
1 cup quinoa, cooked
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Toss the sweet potato cubes in olive oil and a little bit of sea salt in a bowl and spread them on one baking sheet. Then, toss the brussels sprouts in maple syrup, the other tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Put the brussels on the other baking sheet. Put them both in the oven. Keep an eye on things, but mine cooked for about 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the quinoa and get the pomegranate seeds ready. Cut a pomegranate and remove the seeds. Make the quinoa according to package directions. Once it’s done cooking, set it aside to cool.
Take the brussels and sweet potato out of the oven and let them cool slightly. Sprinkle with some more flaky sea salt and black pepper. Then, combine most of the brussels with the quinoa, pomegranate seeds and sweet potato cubes in a large bowl.
Serve the salad on a plate and garnish with more brussels. Enjoy!