Who can say vegetables are boring with this platter sitting in front of them? The stars here are the buttery Brussels sprouts and zesty almond cilantro pesto. Essential supporting cast members are creamy sweet potato, sweet red onion, and juicy pomegranate.
This is a roasted vegetable dish that does not disappoint our winter taste buds' need for warm, roasted, buttery, bright and boldly-flavored bites of nourishment. I first made this to bring to a holiday lunch where I was meeting Kimberly of The Little Plantation for the first time. (It's not every day that virtual friends in the food blogging space turn into real life friends!) Even though a few at that lunch confessed they didn't like Brussels sprouts, I think they were convinced otherwise with this dish.
I'm convinced too that we all at the least have the capability to like Brussels. It really depends on the preparation method. When they're served roasted, browned, and caramelized, mixed with other vegetables and textures, and tossed in a bold-flavored sauce like here, it's hard not fall in love with them. So if you're a Brussels sprout-skeptic, I hope you give this a try and see for yourself!
To make this dish accessible any day of the week, whip up the pesto in advance on the weekend. It stores well in the fridge for 3-4 days. Or my favorite, double the batch and freeze all (divided between two containers) or half to have on hand for whenever the mood strikes.
Pomegranate Power + the De-Seeding Myth
Pomegranates offer more than a pretty face. I appreciate their jeweled beauty and the juicy, bright, and sweet-tart flavor contrast they add to dishes, sweet and savory alike. But they're also part of the dark-skinned produce clan rich in flavanoids. Try adding a variety of blue/purple colors to your meals (think berries, beets, grapes, cherries, and purple cabbage and carrots) to up consumption of these phytochemicals that squelch inflammation, boost cardiovascular health, and protect against cancer. I'll use the seeds from half a pomegranate in a dish like today's, and store the rest in the fridge to add to granola, smoothies, and quinoa bowls.
But there's a myth floating around that pomegranates are too messy and time consuming to de-seed. I once thought this myself, but it's simply not true. And I don't want this mental block to stop you from enjoying them either! The quickest and cleanest way to remove seeds is to submerge a halved pomegranate in a bowl of water, peel away the seeds, and strain out the water. This takes a few minutes at most. Check out this video for a quick tuturial.
Roasted Vegetable Platter with Almond Cilantro Pesto
Serves 6 as a side
- 500 gr. Brussels sprouts
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1 large red onion
- Knob of ghee (or coconut oil)
- Cilantro Almond Pesto (recipe below)
- Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate (see video for quickest de-seeding method)
- Preheat oven to 200 C/400 F.
- Trim woody end off Brussels sprouts and halve. Chop sweet potato and onion into chunks the size of Brussels sprout halves.
- Transfer vegetables to a large baking tray and toss with melted ghee, salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes, or until Brussels sprouts are just tender but still have a bite.
- In the meantime, make pesto. Toss half the pesto with roasted vegetables and place on a platter. Topped with pomegranate seeds and dollops of remaining pesto.
Almond Cilantro Pesto
- 1/3 cup (50 gr) almond, toasted
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 green chili or 1/2 tsp. chili flakes (or to taste)
- Half large bunch (20 gr) cilantro (with tender stems)
- Handful spinach (40 gr)
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 Tbsp. water
- 1/2 - 3/4 tsp. honey
- Scant 1/2 tsp. salt
- Place almonds, garlic and chili (if using) in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to a fine crumb.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend into a smooth pesto. Taste and adjust seasoning.