I thought I didn’t like Brussels sprouts until I turned 21 and one of my early cooking instructors in Penzance, England, Michelle Cowmeadow, showed me how to cut and cook them to reduce their bitterness (cutting them makes all the difference). They’ve been one of my (many) favorite leafy green vegetables ever since! Cabbage and Brussels sprouts are just leafy greens that have grown tightly into a bundle! They still count toward your daily leafy green intake.
I’ve enjoyed Brussels sprouts and shown other people how to cook and enjoy them for more than 25 years.
I like them so much that I cook enough to serve two or three days in a row. The leftovers are a breakfast favorite with eggs and sea vegetables (plus homemade Aioli or Mayo, now) although I also enjoy them at other meals with fish, poultry, or meat. This year, I’ve been roasting them most of the time. Several months ago I started adding turmeric, inspired by one of my doctors––Dr. Jonathan Psenka of Longevity Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ––a key player in my healing journey––that is simply “to live for!”
He helped me tweak the process (now I roast the sprout halves cut side down to get more caramelization). It totally changes the recipe! He also gave me the idea of cooking the sprouts with turmeric, a super antioxidant-rich spice and one I’m always looking for new ways to use. One of the main constituents of this classic Indian spices is curcumin, a compound with a long list of health benefits. You can Google to learn more about it.
If the science of the spice and therapeutic use of it doesn’t intrigue you, skip down to the recipe.
Turmeric kills C. Difficile in lab dish
According to research presented at the American College of Gastroenterology’s annual meeting in San Antonio, TX, on October 21, 2010, turmeric may be a powerful tool for warding off life-threatening infections, such as Clostridium Difficile (C.difficile or C.diff).
“For the last 2000 years people have been using curcumin and we haven’t found bacteria resistant to it,” said Dr. Rattan Patel of the Cedars Sinai Medical Center/VA Medical Center in Los Angelos,” the researcher who conducted the study.
“Dr. Patel and his team found that extracts of regular grocery-store turmeric inhibited the growth of C.difficile in vitro, at concentrations that would be easily obstained in the colon by adding the spice to food or consuming it in capsule form.”
This is exciting news for infectious disease specialists and for the rest of us because C.difficile is resistant to many commonly used antibiotics. “But the new study suggests that turmeric could help prevent these infections in the first place,” says the editor of this article from Reuters. (A doctor friend shared one of the pages from one of his journals with me in four or five years ago so I don’t have other references for it.) He adds that “…studies in vitro [test tubes] and in animals have demonstrated that curcumin also has activity against tumors and is an antioxidant.” *
Other benefits of turmeric & curcumin
There are so many other benefits to be had from consuming turmeric and the concentrated extracts of the curcuminoids in this age-old spice. It acts as a natural liver detoxifier, can be used as an antiseptic for cuts, burns, and bruises (applied as a paste with water), works as a potent anti-inflammatory without the side effects of Rx drugs, can reduce inflammation from hives, swollen glands, arthritis, etc., It can calm an upset stomach. There are so many more benefits that I won’t get into here.
* Note: For the most therapeutic benefit, you will probably want to take curcumin extracts in capsule form, in addition to using the spice in cooking.
Disclaimer: Please consult with your doctor before taking curcumin supplements. The information I’ve presented is accurate to the best of my knowledge and I have presented it for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace medical advice or supervision by your chosen health care provider.
My Naturopathic physician, Dr. Jonathan Psenka of Longevity Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ, inspired the recipe below. One of his specialties is working with cancer patients who are interested in using alternative medicine, whether they want to do only that or combine it with western medicine for an integrative approach. (He works well with oncologists too!) Dr. Psenka has worked with many high risk cancer patients, including women with double and triple negative breast cancer. He’s very savvy about diet and nutrition. His family uses a lot of turmeric and I’m so glad he shared some of his tips to make my recipe even better (and to add turmeric) with me. I plan to make some of the recipe today.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Turmeric
Prep: 15 minutes Cooking: 25 to 40 minutes Yield: 6 cups (6 to 12 servings)
These are crazy good! (They’re even better than the Better Brussels Sprouts in my Garden of Eating Cookbook.) They’re slightly sweet and so delicious that you may have a hard time stopping with them! Even if you’ve never liked the frozen or overcooked fresh ones you’ve eaten in the past, try these––you just might get hooked!
Leftovers are great with breakfast, lunch, or dinner––warmed in a toaster oven or eaten at room temp in a pack lunch.
Cooking for one or two? Cooking in hot weather? Use a toaster oven to prepare half a batch or to make two consecutive batches on a 9x11x1-inch baking trays.
2 pounds Brussels sprouts (fairly similar in size)
1/3 cup avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, coconut oil, ghee, pastured lard or bacon fat
1 teaspoon finely ground Celtic or Himalayan Sea Salt or Redmond Real Salt (reduce if using bacon fat or salted mayo at the table)
2 teaspoons ground turmeric 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 cloves garlic, slivered or coarsely chopped or 4 to 6 shallots, cut into wedges
¼ to ½ teaspoon ground black pepper (don’t leave this out; it boosts absorption of the curcuminoids in the turmeric)
Non-hydrogenated palm shortening, lard, bacon fat, or avocado oil to grease pan
Homemade (mononunsaturate-rich) Mayo, optional
- Preheat oven to 400˚F (up to 425˚F in a regular oven). Lightly grease a large oblong baking pan or rimmed baking sheet with fat or oil or line with unbleached parchment cut to fit (you don’t have to grease this). I use one 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan or two smaller baking pans.
- Cut off the bottom ends of the sprouts (maybe ¼-inch). Pull off and discard any yellowed outer leaves. Cut sprouts in half. Don’t discard the green leaves that fall off. They’re crunchy and delicious roasted––trust me!
- Combine the sprout halves, loose leaves, fat or oil, sea salt, pepper, and optional garlic in a medium bowl. Toss to evenly coat, then transfer to a prepared baking pan, cut side down, spreading the loose leaves evenly across the pan (you’ll remove these before the halved sprouts).
- Cook for about 25 minutes in a toaster oven or 35 to 40 minutes in a full size oven, or until slightly golden and tender. Smaller sprouts will cook even faster. Remove the crispy loose sprout leaves as soon as they start to brown. They’ll taste a bit like potato chips!
- Remove sprouts from the oven and serve immediately, with or without homemade aioli or (MUFFA-rich) mayonnaise. Cover and refrigerate leftovers when cool. Reheat meal-size portions in a toaster if desired or serve at room temp. Use within 72 hours of cooking, or freeze portions as soon as they cool.