I admit, I’ve been sitting on this one a while. Of course, there’s a story.
So in my family we observe the season of Lent (traditionally though of as the 40-ish days preceding Easter). I’ve always made a Lent promise, which can also be called a Lenten sacrifice. Long story short: you give up something you like for Lent.
Now I do not care to debate the merits/demerits or religiosity of this practice. For me, it’s more of a way to recognize the influence that my creature comforts have in my life by giving them up for a few weeks. This year I gave up starches. (Keeping it real, y’all. They were beginning to be a problem!)
My daughter went vegan. Like…vegan vegan.
And her decision mystified me. She’s been “vegetarian curious” for quite a few years now. Oddly enough, chicken tenders are the thing that keeps calling her back to the omnivore lifestyle! But never before had she even expressed an interest in a vegan diet, so I was a bit surprised.
And worried. Cuz I don’t know nothin’ bout bein’ no vegan! I had a lot of questions. Where would she get her protein? Would she get enough? Were there any risks?
At the end of the day, I had to acknowledge a few things:
- She’s 16. Her brain is pretty much fully formed.
- Lent is only 40-ish days. Even if I messed up the nutrients in every meal, she’d probably be ok.
- This was an opportunity to go outside my comfort zone and cook differently!
Now please understand, I did not go vegan with her. Not even a little bit. I do observe Meatless Fridays during Lent, but in the Catholic tradition (I’m not Catholic but I look to Catholicism for all traditions Lent) meatless = no chicken or pork or animals that roam on land. Fish, shrimp, and other seafood? Fair game! But I did try to make a few meals that we could eat together.
One part of being a beginner vegan is that it takes time to know where your options for eating outside the home are. We never did get a good list going and, thus, most of our meals were made at our house. I’m not mad at that, at all. It’s probably a good thing!
Well one day we both wanted something good. Comforting, savory, intensely flavorful.
And we also had these Brussels sprouts.
I love Brussels sprouts. The kid, amazingly, hadn’t had them before. (Guys…she literally loves 99% of veggies so I am not sure how she got 16 years in without trying these). Now…I love Brussels sprouts but I do NOT love them boiled. Who even thought of that? Ew! But roast them…and I will love you forever.
The way I’ve always roasted them is with olive oil and chopped bacon (because…bacon…), but that was a no-go for the kid, so I had to figure out how to recreate the savory, smoky flavor without my favorite food ever. The things I do for this kid. Sigh!
Can we talk about how crazy, stupid, insanely good these things are? Like…I roasted the pan, then I needed to go to the store. I let the kid and the boyfriend both know they were made and invited them to sample them. Walked to the store (workin’ on my steps, y’all!) and got back and…there were 6 sprouts left. Like…6. Which, to them, was being courteous. Hmph.
Now I know Brussels sprouts are a bit advanced. If you are new, you may want to wait a bit. They aren’t the easiest veggie to digest. But for post-ops with Mighty Stomachs (or who are dinosaurs, like me) these are smoky, delicious and FILLING! Give ’em a try.