Quick – it’s cold outside, and you want a veggie side dish that is not a cold salad. What do you do?? Crank up the oven, throw some veggies on a baking sheet, and 30 minutes later, you’ve got happy taste buds and a warm tummy!
If you’re like me, sometimes you crave variety in the way your food is prepared. So even though my instinct is to make a salad or roast whatever vegetable I have in my kitchen, I am always looking for new ways to do the familiar (aka make dinner).
And so, last night we had this warm Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Pomegranate side dish. My little guy happily ate it up – the pomegranate contributed to this, full disclosure, but the brussel sprouts were eaten right along with it! He’s got good taste in fruit, for sure. Luckily for him (and me!), I learned a easy way to separate all the juicy, delicious jewels – they’re actually called pomegranate arils (or seeds) – from the papery, cream colored membrane lining the inside of the entire fruit. Even better, it doesn’t look like a massacre occurred in my kitchen when I’m all done, nor have I ruined any clothing or white kitchen tile grout!
The way I prepare the pomegranate is unique to other fruit. First grab a medium sized bowl big enough to fit both of your hands plus the pomegranate in at the same time while being fully submerged in water. Also, take out a plastic cutting board with a ridge around the perimeter and kitchen knife. Choose plastic instead of wood if you don’t like your board getting stained! Fill up the bowl almost to the top with water warm enough to be a pleasant temperature – no need to have freezing cold hands while doing this! Cut the pomegranate in half; the cutting board ridge will catch any juice which decides to run. Place the pomegranate halves in the bowl, under water. Working on one half at a time, gently peel the pomegranate arils out of the membrane layers while being sure to keep the fruit submerged. The water will prevent juice spatters like a charm! The papery membrane floats to the top of the water, while the arils sink towards the bottom. As a result, skimming off the membrane pieces is a cinch, leaving all the goodness behind!
You could, of course, buy ready-to-eat pomegranate from the refrigerated produce section in your store. However, I find the often cloudy liquid in which the arils are sitting in unappetizing and makes me question their freshness. I’ll stick with prepping my own! When it’s this easy to eat pomegranate, you might find new ways to eat more, too!
Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Pomegranate
- 1-1/2 pounds brussel sprouts, quartered
- 12 ounces bacon, cut into 1" strips
- 1/2 large red onion, chopped
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- On a baking sheet, evenly spread brussel sprouts, bacon, and red onion. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place baking sheet in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brussel sprouts are cooked through.
- Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Cook about 5 more minutes, until brussel sprouts and bacon are browned and crispy. Remove from oven.
- Mix 1 Tbsp olive oil with pomegranate molasses. Drizzle over brussel sprout mixture. Sprinkle fresh pomegranate on top. Serve warm.