You Will Love Brussels Sprouts
Showing my kids how to eat America's most hated veggie.
In general, if you want to add a new ingredient to your diet, the best way is to incorporate it into your main dish or salad. I've done this in the past with pomegranate seeds, for example—I added them to tabbouleh, instead of tomatoes, and seasoned the salad with pomegranate syrup. Now I looked for a recipe in which the brussels sprouts were not the only main ingredient, so the dish would not be too intimidating.
Some of the recipes I found online sounded delicious, like brussels-sprout gratin, but included either cream or plenty of butter, which I didn't want to use. Some would be perfect at a later stage, like the Sole With Lemon-Shallot Brussels Sprouts recipe from Epicurious.com, but wouldn't work for my kids' grand re-introduction.
For a second, I considered a recipe from the school of the sneaky, deceptive mom cooks—Missy Chase Lapine and Jessica Seinfeld. In their books, you can find recipes that secretly add veggies to innocent dishes, like spinach brownies and avocado chocolate fondue. How about a brussels-sprout cheesecake? This is all supposed to be in the name of feeding your children well, but I figured that cheating my kids on a daily basis was not a good idea. (When the Seinfeld kids find out, will they ask Jerry: "Did you know this all along, Daddy? And the whole country, too?")
I decided to improvise and tried a split pea and brussels sprout soup with a couple of sausages—a whole meal. Initially, I made it chunky, but by the time it was fully cooked, the soup looked so awful that I pureed it until it was completely smooth. In fact, it was creamy and just delicious. The soup carried no trace of that slight sprout bitterness.
I called everyone to the table and announced the dinner menu. The kids were not happy but agreed to try it. To my pleasure, the twins emptied their bowls and admitted it was yummy. I must also confess, though, that their stubborn younger brother ate only half his soup, then pushed his bowl away and said: "How come you make us eat brussels sprouts? You know we all HATE it!" So, two out of three. I'll take it.
Here are links to my recipes for Brussels Sprout and Split Pea Soup and Pomegranate and Herb Tabbouleh. Have you ever made up a recipe to get your kids to eat veggies by skillfully adding or including rather than hiding them? Send non-Jessica Seinfeld entries to email@example.com, with the subject line "Kid Recipe," or to our Facebook page. We'll publish some of your recipes and then ask readers to vote on the best one.
Vered Guttman, a caterer and food writer in Washington, D.C., writes the Modern Manna blog for Haaretz.
Photograph of brussels sprouts by George Doyle/Thinkstock.