I often like to joke around with people about the way I eat. I’ve heard my fair share of, “that’s gonna kill you!” as I’ve made my way through ketogenic and paleo eating. It usually goes something like this:
SAD Eater 1: “Oh, I’m trying to cut back on all the unhealthy foods. I’m trying to eat less meat and more tofu, whole-grain bread, etc. I’ve got to get my cholesterol down.”
SAD Eater 2: “Yeah, me too. I found this really great recipe for gluten-free muffins made with rice flour and splenda—they’re so good, and healthy too!”
Me: “I put coconut oil in my coffee and consume probably 5 pounds of meat a week. Bacon and butter are pretty much my magic diet pills.”
At this point I get thrown a couple of odd looks and disbelieving laughter, and then continue to eat my cobb salad as they munch on their Subway sandwiches.
In reality, though, I think there exist a good amount of misconceptions about the way we cavepeople and ketoers eat. When people in my office see me bring in a Ball jar of coffee topped with a layer or coconut oil, or when they see me eating a giant salad with bacon, avocados, blue cheese and olive oil, they think I’m stuffing my veins with loads of unhealthy, artery-clogging fats that will leave me face-down on the break room floor. They then proceed to sneak away timidly with their quinoa cakes and gluten-free pizzas.
Most of the time, I just laugh it off. Sometimes I wish I could evangelize the paleo way, but that’s not really my style, and it’s truly a personal choice when it comes to what we put in our bodies.
As such, Josh and I have become increasingly aware of how much meat we eat, and the quality of the meats we’re eating. This has led us to seek out larger portions of side dishes, primarily vegetable-based dishes that can be roasted, grilled or sautéed.
Hence, today’s featured recipe: Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fennel and Onion.
This delicacy has a bunch of wildly aromatic flavors that blend perfectly. The “greenness” of the Brussels blend into the delicate licorice taste of the fennel and the sweetness of the onions. Overall, I think this is one of the best side dishes for cold winter nights, and can be converted for both bacon lovers and vegetarians alike.
Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fennel and Onion
- 8-12oz. Brussels sprouts, washed
- 1 large fennel bulb with the leaves still attached
- 1 large red or yellow onion
- 3 Tbsp olive oil, high-oleic sunflower oil or bacon fat
- 4-6 slices of bacon (optional) cooked to 70%
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 325 F.
- Cut off the tough, stalky ends of the brussels and cut the little bulbs in half.
- Cut the stems with the leaves from the fennel bulb and set aside; slice the bulb into quarters, split the individual layers apart and slice those layers into strips.
- Slice the onion into rounds or diced bits (depending on your preferences.)
- Put all of the cut veggies into a mixing bowl and take half of the leaves from the fennel stalks and mix them in with the veggies. Cut up the stalks from the fennel into little rounds and place them into the bowl.
- If you’re using bacon, cut the cooked slices into thin strips and place them in the bowl.
- Take your fat of choice and dump it into the bowl.
- Add the pepper and salt to the bowl and mix the veggies up thoroughly so they’re all evenly-coated.
- On a roasting pan covered with aluminum foil, spread the veggies evenly so that all have equal exposure.
- Take the rest of the fennel leaves and spread them on evenly on top of the veggies.
- Roast the whole pan for 40-60 minutes. The brussels should get crisp and browned, the onions lightly caramelized and the fennel soft. If you added bacon, it should be nice and crispy.
- Serve fresh from the oven