After being on a low carb diet for 5 years now (slow carb and keto), I am definitely a fan of this lifestyle in terms of energy and health (not to mention that I am 3 clothing sizes less than when I started!). There is only one aspect of the diet that I haven’t thoroughly incorporated into my lifestyle, and that is coming up with a more creative vegetable dish on the spot, even when I have a refrigerator full of colorful veggies like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and red peppers. It is really difficult, to get the fiber and micronutrients that you need for health from just the protein and fat that is predominant in low carb diets. Vegetables (especially the leafy greens and the cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts) are the best nutritional supplements you can find for just about any diet.
Creative Vegetable Dishes using Brussels Sprouts can be Easy
It’s not that I don’t love fresh veggies….I do. It’s just not something that I have typically cooked a lot of in the past so it always requires a bit of “thinking”. Thinking tends to go out the window around 6:00 pm when I am hungry and trying to get dinner on the table, so I just default to a protein and frozen bags of vegetables heated up in the microwave.
There’s really nothing wrong “nutritionally” with frozen vegetables heated up in a microwave. It’s just that they are….well….boring. So I’ve recently been on a kick to cook a new creative vegetable dish every Sunday until it becomes a habit that I don’t have to think of anymore. It’s already happened with the skillet saute of some leafy greens (see this post for a great bok choy recipe). Now onto some cruciferous veggies.
One other thing….most of the high-protein-low-carb diets out there right now also herald the inclusion of fat. Olive oil and coconut oil are the fats of choice, but butter has lost its maligned status and is now considered a “good fat” on most low carb diets.
A saying I found interesting from a scientist that works with the high fat aspects of the ketogenic diet relative to cancer research is: “vegetables are a fat delivery system”. Well, that is definitely a plus for butter, but my hope is to enhance the vegetable itself with the golden low carb fat of butter. This recipe does just that.
Recipe for a Creative Vegetable Dish Using Brussels Sprouts
(inspired by Deborah Madison)
- 2-3 peeled garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp.
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup drained small capers
- 3 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts
- 1 small cauliflower
- 1 small head broccoli
- S & P
- Make the butter (can make this ahead of time): Place the garlic cloves and salt on a cutting board and pound it with heavy object until it is a paste. In a bowl, mix the garlic paste with the room temperature butter. Using a microplane, zest the lemon over the bowl of garlic butter. Add mustard, capers, lemon zest and oregano and stir together thoroughly.
- Trim the bottom off of the Brussels sprouts and then slice them in half and place in large pot of water. Bring the pot of water to a boil and cook the sprouts for about 3 minutes. While the sprouts are cooking, cut the cauliflower and broccoli into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the cauliflower and broccoli to the pot of sprouts and boil for another 5 minutes. While the veggies are cooking bring the butter to room temperature if you have refrigerated it ahead of time.
- Using a colander, drain the vegetables, place into a bowl and use a spatula to gently mix the caper butter into the hot vegetables. Salt and pepper mixture to taste and toss again lightly.