This simple recipe for Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts with Proscuitto is perfect for an easy weeknight side dish. Made with antioxidant rich purple varieties of cauliflower and brussels sprouts, it’s a stunning addition to any meal.
March is National Nutrition Month® 2014 and I’m celebrating with this antioxidant packed Roasted Purple Cauliflower and Purple Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto recipe. This year, the theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,” which to me means two things: (1) eating lots of healthy whole foods, and (2) making sure that whatever I prepare for my family and friends, and share with you all tastes delicious. After all, no matter how healthy any food is, no one’s going to eat it unless it tastes great, right?
I am just in awe that nature provides such beautiful vibrantly colored vegetables. Who knew there were purple brussels sprouts and purple cauliflower? The purple color is due to purple pigments in these vegetables, called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are special types of antioxidants which are believed to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic activity, cardiovascular disease prevention, obesity control, and diabetes alleviation properties.
I like to have fun with my vegetables – adding vibrant colors to our dinner table just seems to brighten things up a bit. Frieda’s Produce sent me some purple cauliflower and purple brussels sprouts to play around with. If you spot colored cauliflower (I’ve found orange, yellow and purple varieties in our local supermarket) or brussels sprouts in your supermarket or farmer’s market, be sure to try them out too. Different colors = different nutrient profiles which is a good thing.
When it’s cold out, our bodies seem to crave heavier foods, meaty foods. This Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts recipe uses prosciutto to add some meaty flavors while keeping this dish on the lighter side. We rarely eat pork these days, especially after I watched Food, Inc. a number of years ago and learned about the way pigs and other animals are raised on commercial farms. In addition, after learning about cancer-causing nitrates in bacon and other cured products, I stopped buying these products too.
However, my youngest son does like bacon, so when I buy bacon, I buy uncured, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, preservative-free bacon made from turkey or humanely raised hogs (now that’s a mouthful!).
Recently, I came across Applegate prosciutto at Whole Foods in the deli section that caught my eye because it was made from pigs that have been humanely raised, without antibiotics, and the product is nitrate free.
Typically, my go-to cauliflower and brussels sprout recipe is simply to toss the vegetables with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper before roasting at high heat. Roasting prosciutto pieces with the cauliflower and brussels sprouts adds nice savory bits along with the sweet roasted onions. There’s definitely a meaty quality to this side dish. I hope you’ll give this a try.
For more health-related posts, read my two recent posts:
PubMed: Anthocyanins: natural colorants with health-promoting properties
The Linus Pauling Institute: The Possible Health Benefits of Anthocyanin Pigments and Polyphenolics