This morning we awoke to the tsk-tsk sounds of sleet falling outside. My dogs, who adore going outside early in the morning in the spring, summer and fall, quickly went back to bed when they saw it coming down. Clearly, winter is coming (a fact that intellectually makes sense, but practically really doesn’t hit you until you see the change in weather).
And when winter comes, my days of salads and sandwiches for lunch are numbered. Frankly, I keep our house pretty chilly (to save on home heating oil), so a warm lunch is pretty much a requirement on cold days. Grilled cheese, soup, chili, reheated leftovers … they all are good for this.
Along with the chilly temperatures comes Brussels sprouts season — and I adore Brussels sprouts. So, when I started working on this recipe, I didn’t want another side dish. I wanted something craveworthy and substantial enough to serve as a lunch. This Olive Brussels Sprouts with Feta, Roasted Red Peppers and Bacon is perfect.
The dish features olive flavor in three forms: chopped kalamatas, kalamata brine and olive oil. So, it’s totally super olive-y. The creamy, salty feta and tender, sweet roasted red peppers are a lovely complement to the slightly sweet roasted Brussels sprouts. And the bacon, it finishes it off perfectly. And considering that you can make this in about 30 minutes or so – start to finish – it’s perfect for lunchtime any day.
What do you like to eat for lunch on a cold day?
- 2 lbs fresh Brussels sprouts, halved
- olive oil spray
- kosher salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp finely chopped kalamata olives, (in a jar -- reserve the brine)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped roasted red peppers
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 tbsp reserved kalamata olive brine, (see above)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Spread the Brussels sprouts out on the baking sheet in a single layer. Spray with the olive oil cooking spray. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, add the chopped kalamata olives, chopped roasted red peppers and crumbled feta to a large mixing bowl. Once the Brussels sprouts are cooked, add them to the mixing bowl too and toss to combine. Add the bacon to the bowl and mix well.
- Whisk together the kalamata olive brine and olive oil. Pour over the Brussels sprouts and toss well to combine.
- Serve immediately.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.