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With the recent onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms, I've been trying to decrease the gluten and increase the good for you fruits and vegetables. Brussels sprouts are packed full of great-for-you nutrients that fight inflammation, provide antioxidant and cardiovascular support and help the body detox. So many people give Brussels sprouts a bad rap thanks to icky preparation way back in the day. When cooked correctly, these gems can be absolutely delicious!
One thing that's not good for fighting inflammation; however, is processed meat. I love bacon and sausage, and seriously just about any other meat. If you're like me and not willing to give up these foods you've grown to love - be sure to opt for options without nitrites and nitrates. When looking at the ingredient list - the fewer ingredients the better. And best yet? Go with a chicken or turkey sausage. Sometimes you just gotta go with your favorite plain 'ol unhealthy brand though, so just remember, everything in moderation.
We'll just focus on and feel good about the Brussels sprouts in this dish. :)
Seriously though, you can pair this vegetable side with just about anything. It's so easy to prepare and great with fish, chicken, pork, red meat, whatever! Definitely a staple vegetable to work into your diet at least once a week - and this week we paired it with a super yummy stuffed meatball. The meatball is packed with chopped spinach too so maybe that helps offset some of the not so good qualities of the sausage?
Bonus? It's almost Christmas and this dish is festive as all get out... I realized recently that I make a lot of red and green food, and the trend continues...
32 oz bag fresh Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and halved
2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
1 egg - whisked quickly with a fork
1/4 c. minced red onion
1 c. finely chopped baby spinach
3/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 lb mild Italian sausage
1 T. dijon mustard
4 oz Monterey Jack Cheese - cut into 8 equal pieces
pinch of salt & pepper
1/2 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I use Prego Three Cheese)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix olive oil, salt, lemon juice and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Spread Brussels sprouts over a large baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray (I line mine with aluminum foil for easy cleanup). Drizzle olive oil mixture over the top of sprouts and toss to coat evenly. Spread back into an even layer. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until starting to brown.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine egg, red onion, spinach, parmesan, sausage and dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Mix with a fork or clean hands until well combined. Divide into 8 equal portions.
Take a chunk of Monterey Jack and roll the sausage mixture around it to form a cheese-stuffed meatball. Repeat with the rest of the sausage mixture and cheese to form 8 meatballs.
Heat a large cast-iron pan (or other oven-proof pan) over medium high heat on the stove. Drizzle with vegetable oil if needed- just enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan if it's not well seasoned. Once pan is hot, place meatballs in and brown about 2 minutes per side. Once browned, move pan to oven and bake 15 minutes. Pour pasta sauce over the meatballs and bake an additional 5 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Note: Some cheese may ooze out during the browning or baking process. Without breadcrumbs, these meatballs don't stick together as well as traditional meatballs. If you try to turn them too early when browning, they will fall apart. Just reform with tongs as best as possible and finish baking off as directed. Any cheese on the bottom of the pan will melt up and still be just as good as it is on the inside!