Brussels Sprout Pasta Salad
This is going to be different kind of Thanksgiving than I’m used to I think. A touch of innocence lost or maybe it had been lost long ago and just concealed rather. New family members not so new any more, perhaps they’ve lost their shine. Someone that should be there but isn’t. This is life though, I’ve been riding a high for a while, now its time to experience the other side. Without the low points, we’d get bored, it’s our nature. I think the goal is to keep the lows as short and shallow as possible though, and that’s what’s going to happen. I’m not going to let my life be affected by negative people, they’ll bring you down with them and love it. Actually, I’m doing great relatively speaking. There are some great things going on as well. And I know what works for me now, if I get into a funk.
I’ve realized I’ve been getting stressed more and more the last few weeks. I finally noticed the pattern, I had not been eating so clean, and I hadn’t been nearly as active. I try to be as active as I can, not busy, just active. Of course I get too busy sometimes, everyone does. But usually I go to the gym in the morning, maybe punch the heavy bag for cardio one day, maybe do interval training on the bike. Running the dog after work almost every night. Yoga every Monday and Wednesday, maybe more if I need to de-stress or stretch my back. Trail running every weekend. I stay tired, but its a good tired. I feel fantastic. I look better than I ever have before. And…I have to keep doing it. All of it.
I’m not on a diet, this is how I’ll always eat. There’s no going back to eating fast food or processed junk. Now don’t get me wrong, I crave a greasy fried chicken sandwich or pizza, but I can’t eat it any more. Not only does it make me nauseated, but it really makes me feel terrible for days. It’s very hard to break out of the cycle of eating bad and feeling bad as well. Just recently, I forgot my lunch. Usually that would mean a salad from the cafeteria. Yeah, it’s overpriced, but its fresh and healthy. I had 2 beers the night before when I had gone out with a friend, so I felt a little bad from that. I just wanted something bad for me. I got chicken fingers and onion rings, with ranch and mustard respectively for sauces. So amazing, just what I needed. Then dinner came around, I didn’t want to eat healthy. I mean I already had some shitty food, what’s a bit more going to hurt? This basically continued for a week and a half. Of course I didn’t want to exercise when I ate bad and felt terrible for doing it. So, I didn’t. I don’t remember feeling so bad overall in my life. I really had to concentrate on not eating bad and making myself go running or whatever. But, I was able to pull myself out and get back into what I want to be doing. No, it wasn’t easy. And I still had moments where I did eat something I shouldn’t have or didn’t exercise when I should have. I just had to not worry about it. It’s a slow process, but eventually the sugar/salt cravings will subside and I’ll crave arugula again haha.
Sorry for the rambling nature of this post. It’s been a while and I’ve had things I’ve been wanting to talk about.
Anyway, this is one of my favorite things to eat and will be on the table for every Thanksgiving going forward. This dish has converted more people to liking something than anything else I make. In this case, its Brussels Sprouts. Almost everyone I know that has had them cooked right, loves them. Most people haven’t though, so they hate them. Yeah, they can be a bit bitter, but that is what makes them good. I’m a recent convert as well. I didn’t really know what to do with them. I got some while on sale once, cut them in half, sauteed them, and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. And they blew my mind. A vegetable. Definitely try this out.
My favorite part of this dish is the textures. The crispy Brussels sprouts, the crunchy nuts, and the tender pasta come together perfectly. The taste is rather amazing as well. Butter can be substituted for the bacon fat, but why? Haha, honestly, I make it without bacon usually. It is sooo much better with it though.
- 1 lb Brussels Sprouts
- 2 cloves of garlic – minced
- 6 slices of bacon
- 8 oz Farfalle pasta
- 4 oz walnuts and pecans – roughly chopped
- 2 oz Parmesan cheese – grated
- 2 oz Panko bread crumbs – toasted
Cut the stems off of the Brussels sprouts and peel back as many leaves as you can. Cut a bit more stem off when the leaves get harder to pull off. When you can’t easily pull off leaves, set the heart aside. When all of the sprouts have been processed, roughly chop the hearts and add to the leaves. Chop the bacon and fry in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Remove bacon when cooked, set aside. Remove excess fat from pan, but leave enough to fry the sprouts. Add the leaves to the bacon fat and cook for a couple minutes over medium – medium high heat, tossing every once in a while. Add pasta, nuts, breadcrumbs, and bacon to pan and combine. Cook for a few minutes and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper then add the cheese.