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Crispy and Savory: Paleo-Friendly Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Recipe

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Elevate your side dish game with this irresistible Paleo-friendly recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon. Combining the earthy flavor of Brussels sprouts with the smoky richness of bacon, this dish offers a delightful mix of textures and tastes that complement any main course. Perfect for a cozy family dinner or a festive holiday meal, it’s sure to become a favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 6 slices of nitrate-free bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: a splash of balsamic vinegar or a sprinkle of almond slivers for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the Brussels Sprouts: In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper until they are well coated.
  3. Cook the Bacon: In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon pieces until they are just starting to get crispy. Remove from heat.
  4. Combine and Roast: Spread the Brussels sprouts on the prepared baking sheet. Scatter the partially cooked bacon pieces among them. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts are tender and the edges are crispy.
  5. Finish and Serve: For an extra flavor boost, drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar over the roasted Brussels sprouts and bacon right before serving, or garnish with almond slivers. Serve warm.

This dish not only brings a bounty of flavors and textures but also packs nutritional benefits, making it a perfect embodiment of a Paleo-friendly diet that doesn’t compromise on taste or health.

Why Brussel Sprouts?

Brussels sprouts are a popular choice in health-conscious and Paleo diets for several reasons:

  1. Nutrient Density: Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin K, which is crucial for bone health and blood clotting, Vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports immune function, and folate, important for cell function and tissue growth. They also offer a good amount of fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes gut health.
  2. Low in Calories, High in Fiber: These tiny vegetables are low in calories but high in fiber, making them an excellent choice for weight management. Fiber helps you feel full longer, aiding in appetite control.
  3. Antioxidant Properties: Brussels sprouts contain antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress in your cells and lower the risk of chronic disease. These include kaempferol, which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties, and isothiocyanates, made from glucosinolates, which help counteract cancerous cell growth.
  4. Inflammatory Reduction: The high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds found in Brussels sprouts can help reduce the risk of chronic inflammation, which is linked to numerous health conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
  5. Detoxification Support: Glucosinolates in Brussels sprouts support the body’s natural detoxification process, helping to cleanse the body of harmful toxins.
  6. Versatility in Cooking: Brussels sprouts can be prepared in various ways that fit within a Paleo diet, including roasting, steaming, and sautéing. Their versatility and delicious flavor make them an easy addition to any meal.

Given their nutritional benefits, potential for disease prevention, and versatility, Brussels sprouts are an excellent vegetable choice for those following a Paleo diet or anyone looking to incorporate more healthy, whole foods into their diet.

Why Bacon?

Bacon holds a special place in many diets, including Paleo, for several reasons:

  1. Flavor Enhancer: Bacon is renowned for its rich, savory flavor and crisp texture, which can enhance the taste of a wide range of dishes, from breakfast items to salads and main courses.
  2. High in Nutrients: Despite its reputation, bacon contains nutrients essential for health, including protein, B vitamins (especially B12 and B6), phosphorus, selenium, and other minerals. These nutrients are important for various bodily functions, including energy production, brain health, and antioxidant defenses.
  3. Satiety and Weight Management: The high fat and moderate protein content in bacon can contribute to feelings of fullness and satiety, potentially aiding in weight management. When consumed in moderation, it can be a satisfying component of a balanced diet that prevents overeating.
  4. Compatible with Low-Carb and High-Fat Diets: Bacon fits well within low-carb, high-fat dietary patterns like Paleo and Keto, where the goal is to reduce carbohydrate intake and increase fat consumption to support metabolic health and energy production.
  5. Versatility: Bacon’s versatility makes it a popular choice in cooking. It can be used to add depth to soups and stews, as a crispy topping for salads and baked goods, or as a key ingredient in dishes like the Paleo-friendly Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon.

However, it’s important to choose high-quality bacon that’s minimally processed and free from added sugars or nitrates to align with Paleo principles and support health. Opting for bacon from pasture-raised pigs can also ensure a better nutrient profile, including higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and fewer omega-6 fatty acids, contributing to a more anti-inflammatory diet.

In conclusion, while bacon is not without its controversies, its nutritional content, flavor-enhancing properties, and compatibility with low-carb, high-fat diets like Paleo make it a valued ingredient when consumed responsibly and in moderation.

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