The other day I saw some fresh figs at my local market, and I couldn’t contain my excitement. No offense raisins, but figs truly are nature’s candy. Full of iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamins A, E and K, as well as a host of other phytonutrients—figs are the original energy source. Roast them, grill them, blend them into smoothies or slice them atop fresh greens, no matter how you prepare them they are the perfect fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.
And then there is the brussel sprout.
The poor, tiny, cabbage-shaped outcast of the vegetable family. The long suffering sprout has been the bane of many a child’s dinner plate, and despite its nutritional bounty (vitamin C, protein, dietary fiber, and more cancer-fighting flavonoids than you can shake a stick at), the lonely brussel sprout suffered through some seriously bad PR before the Whole Foods generation of today helped its ratings considerably. It turns out the bad rap was just hype: if you’ve ever bothered to roast brussel sprouts you’ll know that they carmelize beautifully and are actually very delicious.
If you marry these two nutritional powerhouses together, the result is nothing short of decadent (minus the fat and calories often associated with decadence). I found a lot of recipes that called for the figs to be made into a rich sauce (hello butter!) to be poured over the sprouts, and while this does look delicious, I was after a lighter option, one less Paula Deen and more Paula Newby Fraser, if you will. In this version, you roast the figs and the brussel sprouts separately, then toss them together at the end. It’s still a good way to satiate your cravings for sweets, but there’s a level of restraint. If you want things sweeter, just add a little more honey to the figs before you roast them.
And yes, brussel sprouts are a winter crop. But I am a San Diegan (San Diegoan? San Diegun?), meaning I can get them year round. Annoying, I know. If you can’t get your hands on some brussel sprouts, just dream of this recipe until December. Or move. Your call.
- 1 pound brussel sprouts
- 6-8 raw figs
- 1/4 chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- Additional olive oil to coat two glass baking dishes
- Salt and pepper
Directions: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.Very lightly coat the bottom of two glass baking dishes (I used a 9″ for the sprouts and a 6″ for the figs) with olive oil. Cut stems off of brussel sprouts, wash and cut each one in half and place in a medium bowl. Stem and cut figs lengthwise and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon agave nectar to the brussel sprouts and toss until they are evenly coated. Place brussel sprouts into one of the glass baking dishes and season with salt and pepper. Add honey to the figs and toss lightly until coated. Place figs in the other baking dish. Place both dishes in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the figs and sprinkle the walnuts on top of the brussel sprouts. Cook sprouts and walnuts for an additional 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven, add in figs and toss lightly together.