After having decided to begin eating a healthier diet in 2017, I created this recipe; a medley of Brussels Sprouts, butternut squash & grape tomatoes flavored with Applewood Smoked Bacon (my one discretion) and minced garlic, bathed in a light coating of extra virgin olive oil and a delicious aged balsamic vinegar imported from Modena, Italy. By leaving out the bacon, this would become an excellent vegan/vegetarian dish (but the bacon is oh-so-good)!
Step 1: INGREDIENTS - (About 3 Servings)
- 3 cups cubed Butternut Squash *(about 1 lb)
- 8 ounces medium-sized Brussels Sprouts
- 8 ounces grape tomatoes
- 4 or more cloves garlic (optional)
- 2 slices thick cut bacon (about 3 1/2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used Whole Foods 365 California EVOO)
- 4 TBS aged Balsamic Vinegar (I really like the syrupy taste of Whole Foods Aged Balsamic Vinegar)
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Salt Sense with Iodine (or Kosher Salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
*NOTE: The butternut squash that I purchased weighed about 2 1/2 pounds. After peeling, seeding, and splitting it, I used 1/2 of the squash in this recipe and froze the other half (in cubes) for use at a future time).
Step 2: PREPARATION (Step 1)
- Prepare the Butternut Squash This is the most difficult step in the preparation of this recipe. You will find good instructions on how to do so at: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_peel_a...
- Rinse, dry, and ;place the whole squash in a microwave oven for about 30 seconds; this will help to soften the skin.
- Remove it from the oven and cut off and discard a thin slice from the top (stem end) and bottom.
- Carefully split the squash in half length-wise.
- Scoop out the seeds with a heavy spoon and discard them.
- Slice the squash halves into approximately 1" square cubes as pictured.
- Set aside and go to next step.
- If you are not going to use the whole squash in this recipe, you can cut each half into cubes, then freeze 1/2 to use at a later date. The best way to freeze the cubes is to place them on a cookie sheet in a single layer; freeze them for a couple of hours, then remove and bag the frozen cubes; then place the bag in the freezer.
Step 3: PREPARATION (Step 2)
Cover a large sheet pan with aluminum foil and place it in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the oven is heating:
- Rinse the Brussels Sprouts and cut off and discard the stem end. Remove any bad looking leaves and split the sprouts in half retaining any good leaves that fall off. Set sprouts aside.
- Rinse and set aside the grape tomatoes.
- Smash, peel, and mince the garlic if using, and set aside.
- Dice the bacon and set aside.
- Mix your spices together and set aside.
Step 4: INSTRUCTIONS:
- Pour the 1/4 cup of EVOO into a large mixing bowl.
- Add 3 TBS of aged Balsamic Vinegar (the 4th TBS used in this recipe will be drizzled over your entree).
- Add the mixture of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if using, to the oil & vinegar and whisk thoroughly.
- Add the cubed squash, split sprouts, and diced bacon to the vinegar/oil mixture and mix until all is well covered (use your hands to toss the ingredients together).
- Carefully remove the preheated sheet pan (it has been in the oven and heated to 400 f) and remove the bacon/squash/sprout mixture from the bowl using your hands or a kitchen strainer with a handle, and layer it over the surface of the aluminum foil in one single layer. (Reserve any of the liquid that has drained off of this mixture in the bottom of mixing bowl. You will need it.
- Return the pan to the oven and roast for about 6 minutes.
While this mixture is roasting:
- Add the grape tomatoes to the mixing bowl (if there is no liquid left in the bowl, add another TBS of EVOO and 1 TBS of balsamic vinegar - I did not find this necessary)/
- Add the minced garlic if using, and thoroughly mix the tomatoes and garlic together.
- After the squash and sprouts have roasted in the oven for about 6 minutes remove the pan (carefully, again) from the oven and pour in the tomatoes and garlic. Stir everything together and place the pan back into the oven. Roast for another 10 minutes; stir and mix one more time, then continue to roast for another 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tomato skins begin split.
Remove the pan from the oven and serve while hot.
Step 5: TIME TO EAT . . .
A plate full of oven-roasted vegetables served with an extra splash of imported aged Balsamic Vinegar, and a glass of chilled white wine! Who could ask for more?
Step 6: NUTRITION:
With just about 465 calories and 15 grams of protein per serving, this dish is already healthy. However, if you are a vegan or vegetarian, you can eliminate the bacon. That will reduce the calories by about 200 units and the sodium by approximately 200 grams; however, this would also reduce the protein by about 5 grams. This recipe is also gluten-free!