Sunday, December 22, 2013

Brussels Sprouts, Zucchini, & Onions

Brussels Sprouts, Zucchini, & Onions

I don't really like veggies all that much. I say that, but whenever I have well-prepared veggies, I love them. Usually that happens at restaurants, and sometimes in the homes of friends or family. The first time I tried brussels sprouts was at the home of my brother and his wife when they lived in England. Heidi made the Brussels sprouts as a side dish to a fantastic Christmas dinner. I honestly don't recall the main dish (sorry, Heidi), but I do remember the roasted potatoes and the Brussels sprouts. I was shocked at how delicious these tiny green cabbagy things tasted. But of course, I never made them on my own, my excuse being that my husband would never eat them.
Fast forward about 13 years, and my husband and I finally tried this little restaurant in the Beaverdale neighborhood of Des Moines, Iowa. It's right down the street from us, but the name, the Flying Mango, elicited images of mango chutney and weird Latin fusion cooking. Mangos, I guess. Anyway, when we finally went there, I realized it did not involve mangoes, or chutney, or Latin food. They have a pretty interesting menu, but the only thing I've tried is the 24-hour brisket sandwich, served on a ciabatta roll (sooooo good), with a side. Their vegetables change daily, I think, and I was lucky enough to go on two days they had these Brussels sprouts. One time they had a few julienned carrots, and the last time was julienned red peppers, but I think they do that mainly for color. Since these ones were made in a hurry, I didn't embellish them with a colorful veggie.
I didn't have the courage to ask them for the recipe, but what I've made here it pretty darned good. I think I need to cook them a little less time next time, but I don't even know when that will be because I think I'm the only person in the house who will eat this. Sigh. Tonight I got to share the dish you see pictured with my husband's family for our Christmas celebration. I'm sure I can scale it down for just me, and I probably will, because, contrary to popular belief, Brussels sprouts are in fact yummy.

Brussels Sprouts, Zucchini, & Onions


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh brussels sprouts
  • 1 medium zucchini (about 1 cup cut)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Trim the ends of the brussels sprouts, pealing off the wrinkled layers of each one. Then cut each sprout in half lengthwise. Place cut sprouts in a colander and rinse with cold water.
Wash and cut the zucchini, trim off the ends, quarter it, and then slice each quarter into quarter-inch slices. Set aside.
Slice the half onion lengthwise into thin julienned strips.
Place the sprouts in a steamer with the bottom containing salted water. Salt the sprouts lightly as well. Steam the sprouts, covered, on high heat for about 3-4 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted meets just slight resistance. Then add the zucchini, salt again lightly, cover, and steam for another minute or two. 
Remove veggies from the bottom of the steamer and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside while you cook the onions.
I emptied my steamer bottom of water and put it back on medium heat. Add the canola oil and the butter. When butter is melted, add the onions and sprinkle with a little more salt. Cook onions until they are soft, but not caramelized, about 5-6 minutes. If they are browning too much, reduce the heat a little bit.
When onions are soft, add the sprouts and the zucchini, stir and toss to mix all three veggies and to heat them all through. 
Makes about 8 servings

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