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Cranberry Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

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Need some vitamin C? Everyone does this time of year. As the weather gets colder and flu season ramps up, millions of people around the world up their intake to give their immune systems a much-needed boost.

Luckily, you don’t have to take supplements or eat a dozen oranges to get this vital nutrient. You don’t even need to stock up on Emergen-C. All you need is a big bag of brussels sprouts! This cruciferous veggie is brimming with vitamin C. It’s also high in fiber, antioxidants, omega-3s, and vitamin K, so they make a nutritious addition to any diet.

Unfortunately, brussels sprouts tend to get a bad rap because they can taste bitter depending on how you cook them. This recipe brings out the vegetable’s sweeter side, so you don’t have to worry about foul flavors and wrinkled noses at the dinner table.

A Sweet and Savory Side

This recipe for cranberry caramelized brussels sprouts brings out the best of this tasty vegetable, so it’s time to let go of any previous notions you had about texture, flavor, and even smell. Oh, and say goodbye to frozen varieties. Those don’t have anything on fresh, crisp sprouts, especially when you saute them.

As they cook, the olive oil adds a crisp, nutty flavor. The berries bring a dash of sweetness while the lemon zest lends a bit of zing to the dish. In the end, you’re left with a flavorful combination that’s sweet, savory, and sure to impress both family and guests. Bon appetit!

Gather Your Ingredients

Each ingredient in cranberry caramelized brussels sprouts has a purpose. Whether it’s to add texture, flavor, color, or all three, you’ll need them to create a masterpiece. Aside from salt and pepper, you’ll need four more basic ingredients to make this delicious side dish. Odds are good you already have a few — if not all — of them in your pantry or fridge.

1 Pound Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are the star of the show in this recipe, so you must choose the freshest, greenest-looking ones you can. Purchase sprouts that are all relatively the same size, so they cook evenly. Small sprouts are sweeter and more tender than larger varieties. Whichever kind you choose, avoid ones with black spots, which could indicate fungus.

1/2 Cup Dried, Sweetened Cranberries

Craisins or dried cranberries add a sweet burst of flavor to this delicious dish. They’re full of antioxidants and good for your heart, too, so you’re sure to enjoy a healthy boost. Make your own in the oven or buy a bag at your local supermarket. You’ll find them in the snack aisle among the raisins.

Zest of One Lemon

Add a zesty zing to your cranberry caramelized brussels sprouts with lemon zest. This essential ingredient balances out the sweet with a little bit of sour and adds colorful flecks of bright yellow to the dish. Choose a lemon with thick, unwrinkled skin for zesting.

1 Tablespoon (tbsp) Olive Oil

Olive oil is loaded with healthy fats. And if you buy for quality, it’s also full of polyphenols, which are micronutrients that help fight disease and support optimal health. Store your oil in dark glass bottles or opaque tins to preserve its flavor and aroma.

Making Cranberry Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Whipping up a batch of cranberry caramelized brussels sprouts is as easy as one, two, three! So grab a skillet, a knife, and a baking dish and let’s get cooking!

First, heat the olive oil in your skillet over medium heat. While you’re waiting for it to warm, rinse, dry, and halve your brussels sprouts. When the oil is hot and shimmery, add them to the skillet and saute for 10 to 12 minutes. Cooking them this way gives the sprouts a light brown color and an irresistible crunch.

When the brussels sprouts are tender, add the dried cranberries. Cook for another minute or so, then turn off the heat. Zest a lemon over the dish, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Getting Creative in the Kitchen

Brussels sprouts are naturally sweet, which means they pair well with a wide variety of different flavors. Whether you’re serving up seafood, steak, or veggie entrees, this crunchy vegetable is sure to add a sweet, crunchy kick to the dish. Luckily, they’re quick and easy to make, especially if you use this recipe.

Once you feel comfortable carmelizing brussels sprouts, you can introduce some creativity and customize flavors to suit your family’s unique tastes. Do the kids love cheesy, nutty flavors? Substitute some blue cheese and walnuts for lemon zest and dried cranberries. Are you and your partner crazy about spicy foods? Add a dash of red pepper flakes, a bit of honey, and a splash of sriracha sauce. Parmesan cheese, garlic butter, and balsamic reduction are popular toppings, too.

Nutritious and Delicious

Cranberry caramelized brussels sprouts are nutritious and delicious, so you can enjoy them guilt-free morning, noon, and night. Serve them as a side or the main course and get creative with your toppings. When it comes to making flavorful combinations, the sky’s the limit!

Author Bio: Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded, where he writes about food, fitness and more. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates of his work.

Cranberry Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
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