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Roasted Brussels Sprouts

One of our favorite vegetables in our house are Brussels sprouts. It’s funny because, as a child, I wanted nothing to do with them. In fact, they made me gag. As an adult, I figured out that it is all in how you prepare them!

Do you have issues getting your husband to eat vegetables? Luckily, as PICKY as my husband is, this is one area I do not have to worry about. If it is for you, well, hopefully this recipe will change things. My secret?

Bacon fat.

Yes, you read that right. If you told me a few years ago I would happily be cooking with rendered bacon fat, I would have looked at you like you had 3 heads. Today, after research I have found that this is one the healthiest and most flavorful ways to roast your veggies. For years, we have been told to avoid the solid cooking fats, sticking with liquid vegetable oils, but unfortunately for those who have religiously followed that advice, it’s the other way around. You will NEVER find canola, soybean, or other vegetable oils in my kitchen. I do still sometimes roast with olive oil, but don’t feel so good about it. Olive oil is best used after the cooking, sautéing over medium heat, or in a salad dressing. Even olive oil can turn unhealthy when heated. And then there’s the whole controversy about olive oil not being what it claims to be! Yikes!

 

Think about how your great, great grandparents cooked? Duck fat, tallow, even lard. The claims about avoiding saturated fats, and well, fats in general was based off of bad science from the 1950’s (which in turn caused us to eat more carbs, sugar, and processed foods, worsening our health).  It’s incredibly important to note that not ALL animal fats are created equal! You are ONLY as healthy as the animal you are eating. So rendering fat from regular ole’ bacon loaded with nitrates, and fed GMO corn and soy is one of the WORST things you could eat. On the other hand, rendering fat from uncured, pastured, organic bacon is the way to go. Using companies like U.S. Wellness Meats or Applegate Farms, or a local farm you know and trust.

5 Reasons To Ditch The Vegetable Oils (and Margarine!):

This includes, canola, soybean, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, vegetable, and corn.

  • Vegetable oils are extracted in a factory, usually from genetically modified crops heavily sprayed with chemical pesticides.
  • Oils such as canola go through extra processing and the end result is very rancid and foul, so they will add fragrance and color to the oil to make it edible. You ever notice how you can small when restaurant food goes rancid in your fridge? That’s most likely the cooking oil they use.
  • Then, there is even additional processing, hydrogenation, (you may have heard of this) if this oil is going to be turned into a solid such as margarine, aka, trans fats.
  • The high omega-6 content in these polyunsaturated vegetable oils cause inflammation in your bodyand this is what leads to high cholesterol, new studies show. We need a healthy balance of omegas-6 and omega-3 fats in our bodies, and animals raised on pasture will give us that. Not overly, factory processed vegetable oils.
  • Vegetable oils will make you fat. It’s true, eating a diet with these processed oils will increase appetite, Omega-6 is known as the cannabis of fats, an imbalance will give you the munchies!

Butter (and ghee!) has definitely made a comeback, and chances are you not only have heard about the amazing benefits of coconut oil, you probably have a jar of it in your kitchen. This saturated fat cooking oil, once demonized by mainstream medical (and still not full accepted by them), is now widely enjoyed, and we are reaping the benefits!

As a rule of thumb, we should be enjoying food as close to nature as possible So doesn’t it make sense when it comes to our cooking fats as well? Butter from grass-fed, pastured cows, coconut oil pressed from coconuts, olive oil (the REAL stuff), cold-pressed from olives, and solid fats from healthy, organic, pasture-raised (and uncured when that applies) animals!

I use coconut oil a lot to roast or cook in high heat, but coconut oil and Brussels sprouts are one thing I am not a fan of together. I can do it, but always preferred olive oil. Until this!

Rendering Your Fat:

So first, you want to start rendering your fat. If you cook your bacon in the microwave, just stop now. Not a good idea. Not as tasty, not as healthy, and you’re wasting all that beautiful fat that can be put to good use! I cook mine up in acast iron skillet until it browns, then I lye the strips on a plate lined with paper towels, one on the bottom, one on top, and it gets super crispy as it cools! Then, I get a bowl, and place one paper towel on top of the bowl, and pour the liquid bacon fat through the paper towel (it is probably a good idea to use a glass pyrex bowl with a lid). It’s as simple as that! Store it at room temperature, just like coconut oil. Melt it before using it to roast veggies and I promise, your husband, boyfriend, former veggie hater will see those greens in a whole new light!!!

The Best Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts Method:

I chop off and discard the stems from my sprouts first. Then, if they are large I cut in quarters, smaller ones I cut in half The more leaves that fall off, the better. This is my favorite part. In fact, I may put Weezy to work one day on removing ALL of the leaves and just roasting those for a snack! Seriously, it’s the first part to go, those little leaves never make it to my dinner plate after they come out of the oven!

Then, I roast them in 1-2 Tablespoons of bacon fat, seasoning with salt and pepper for about 30 minutes. That’s it! Simple.

If I am out of bacon fat or want something different, I will use “Chosen Foods” avocado oil. It is a much healthier choice as far as cooking oils go.

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut stems off sprouts, discard, and then cut the Brussels sprouts in half and place them (leaves that fall off and all) on a baking sheet. Coat with bacon fat or Chosen Foods avocado oil, salt and pepper and roast for about 30 minutes (time depends on how small they are).

Sometimes I add some chopped garlic and it is fantastic! Garlic sticks with me for days, so I have to watch, especially since I teach yoga in a hot room for a living 😉

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