These Lemon Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Parsnips look (and taste!) super special and make a fabulous holiday dish- but are simple enough to throw together for a weeknight meal!
Something I am asked often, even before becoming a mom, is for advice on getting kids to eat healthier. I have worked with kids for over half of my life, so I’ve had a lot of time to think about this and try to encourage healthy eating habits.
Last week, I posted a message on Instagram with a teaser shot of this recipe, asking why Brussels sprouts had become demonized. A reader responded, “Lol. Brussels sprouts became demonized because people don’t know how to cook them. Many an unhappy evening was spent being forced to eat boiled unseasoned brussels sprouts. I am slooooowly working on not hating them anymore…”
And I think she nailed it right there. If you want anyone to like something, make it interesting! How many people really like eating boiled, overcooked, unseasoned veggies? As adults, many of us will eat them. We are able to rationalize the benefit of eating them, despite our lack of enjoyment.
But can a child do that? No. Sugar tastes good. Fruit tastes good. Boiled, unsalted, mushy vegetables do not.
My son started eating asparagus and Brussels sprouts at 8 months. I hadn’t even offered them to him. He started grabbing them off my plate. And because I like my veggies to taste awesome, they are always seasoned, roasted, and delicious.
And I think this premise works with adults who want to transform their eating habits as well. If you force yourself to eat plain salads, steamed veggies, plain chicken, sure, you can control your thinking and eat these things, but are you going to want to? Probably not.
If you add interesting flavors and textures to your salads by adding fruit, nuts, and delicious dressings, you just might want to eat healthy. I know I love eating this way– and it’s a combination of loving this food and also knowing that it’s healthier for me than the grilled cheese I might also want to eat.
These Lemon Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Parsnips really couldn’t be easier to throw together. Serve with salmon or chicken, and dinner’s served. I’ve even eaten these over greens with some nuts and called it (an amazing) lunch.
So there’s my advice.
I have more suggestions for stubborn eaters– or even for healthy eaters like my son who go through stubborn phases. I have written an article on this topic for a parenting website, and will share it with you when it’s posted in a few weeks!
Tips for Lemon Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Parnsips
- If you’re like me, and think the crunchy Brussels sprouts leaves are the best, then pull several leaves off each sprout as your clean and cut them. Just watch these little guys if you turn your oven temperature up to crisp- they can go from crispy and charred to black charcoal quickly.
- Make it Ahead: This can easily be prepped ahead of time, and roasted just before dinner. Prepare the vegetables and slice the lemon, and keep in a container or plastic bag until ready to roast. Make sure the pomegranate is ready as well. With this prep, you can put it together in less than 5 minutes, then all that’s left is waiting for it to roast. It could easily bake in the oven after you’ve pulled your turkey out and are carving it and placing things on the table. I know how limited oven space can be on a big holiday!
- Make it Vegan: Use maple syrup in place of the honey, and the sub below for making it dairy free.
- Make it Paleo/Dairy Free: Sub pecans, hazelnuts or almonds for the parmesan. I like to add the nuts during the last 5 minutes of baking so they get nicely toasted but not burned.
Lemon Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 2 parsnips large
- 1 pound brussels sprouts
- 1 lemon large
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup parmesan shaved
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
- Chop parsnips and cut brussels sprouts in half. Thinly slice a lemon.Chop parsnips and cut brussels sprouts in half. Thinly slice a lemon.
- Add parsnips and brussels sprouts to a large baking sheet.Add parsnips and brussels sprouts to a large baking sheet.
- In a small container, add olive oil and honey, and mix/shake well. Drizzle over vegetables, and mix in to evenly coat. Season with sea salt and black pepper.In a small container, add olive oil and honey, and mix/shake well. Drizzle over vegetables, and mix in to evenly coat. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
- Add lemons spaced around the baking sheet.Add lemons spaced around the baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes. If vegetables haven't brown enough, turn oven up to broil, and broil until there are charred bits around the baking sheet.Bake for 20 minutes. If vegetables haven't brown enough, turn oven up to broil, and broil until there are charred bits around the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle lemon juice over the top, and then garnish with shaved parmesan and pomegranate arils.Sprinkle lemon juice over the top, and then garnish with shaved parmesan and pomegranate arils.
Other Special Holiday Veggie Side Dishes:
- Warm Artichoke Salad, by Hip Foodie Mom
- Tomato Parmesan Shaved Brussels Sprouts, by iFOODreal
- Parmesan Stuffed Zucchini, by Let’s Talk Mommy
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Pecans, by Sunkissed Kitchen
- Warm Winter Red Rice, Brussels Sprouts, and Arugula Salad, by Sunkissed Kitchen