Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Asparagus Medley with a Dash of Blood

  • If your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and exercise more often, you’re going to want to try this recipe.
  • If you have housemates who subsist mostly on carbs and grease and keep stealing all your food, you’re going to want to try this recipe.
  • If you are tired of NOT having a big gash across your thumb and a new scar for life, have I got the side dish for you!


Brussels sprouts and asparagus are both very low in calories and high in fiber, and they’re packed full of essential vitamins and minerals. Both are healthy to eat raw if you like them that way, but cooking your vegetables helps break down the fibers, making it easier for your body to digest and absorb more of the nutrients.


  • Brussels sprouts have been around since the days of ancient Rome. The version we know today was first cultivated in middle ages in the area of Brussels, Belgium, so you should always capitalize “Brussels” when adding them to your grocery list.
  • The amino acids in the asparagus are what makes your pee smell weird for a day or so after you eat it.

Like many vegetables, these can be an acquired taste–they’re, like, actual grown-up food–and not everyone appreciates them at first (and sadly, some people never will). However, their mellow flavors are easily adaptable to all kinds of seasonings and dressings, and they pair well with just about any type of entree, so give them a try. Keep trying.

They are not cheap, unfortunately. (Why does healthy food always cost so much more than packaged crap? Maybe I’ll research that for a future article.) If your budget is tight this week, go for the bagged spinach and celery instead. But when you have a little extra to spend on groceries, you can’t go wrong with Brussels sprouts and asparagus.


  • Brussels sprouts (duh)
  • Asparagus (duh)
  • Olive oil
  • Spices
  • Cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • Baking pan
  • Stirry thing
  • Gauze and band-aids

The roasting is done in two stages, since Brussels sprouts are thicker and take a little longer to cook than the asparagus. There is no one rule for how tough or mushy your sprouts and asparagus should be, other than your personal preference, so I’m giving the cooking times for the way I like it. Remember, too, that they’ll keep simmering for a few minutes after you take them out of the oven, and when you reheat the leftovers later, it will further increase the mush factor.


Brussels sprouts chopped in half, in the roasting pan

Preheat the oven to 400.

Remove any outer leaves that have weird dark spots. Chop the hard little ends off, then cut the sprouts in half bottom-to-top. Some of the other outer leaves will fall off during this process; no big deal. Just put them in loose with the rest of it. Put everything in a pan and drizzle some olive oil over them. You can also just coat the pan with cooking spray first, then spray the top of the sprouts when they’re in there. Add the spices you like. (I use onion powder, lemon pepper, and paprika.)

Brussels sprouts with oil and spices, in the roasting pan

Stir them around so that they are evenly coated with the oil and spices. Stick them in the oven for about 7 minutes. While you’re waiting for the sprouts to warm up, you can get your asparagus ready.


Cut the thick purple ends off. Those are too fibrous to chew easily, and they don’t taste very nice no matter what you do to them.

Asparagus with the purple bottom ends chopped off

Cut the stalks in half, or smaller if you prefer. Or don’t. I don’t care. Hurry up! You’re starving, it’s way past lunchtime, you’ve had too much coffee, and you want the asparagus to be ready to go by the time the sprouts come out! Work quickly! Come on, come ON, COME ON–


Thumb with gauze and bandage, asparagus and knife in background

Click the image above if you want to see the gory details.

Run off and wash that quickly with hot water and soap, cover it with antibiotic ointment, and wrap it in some clean gauze. If the cut is bad enough and you decide to go to the hospital for stitches*, be sure to turn the oven off before you leave.

When the sprouts come out, stick a fork in a couple to see how soft they are. You don’t want to overbake them, or they’ll be mushy: still yummy, but mushy. Toss the asparagus into the pan with the sprouts. If you can find the piece with blood on it, remove it first. (If not, well, I won’t say anything if you don’t.)

Add a little more oil, and maybe some more spices, if you think it necessary. A little oil can go a long way, but you don’t want them to look too dry. Stir everything around again to coat evenly. Put the pan back in the oven for another 5-7 minutes or so, depending on how done the sprouts are already.

Roasted and spiced Brussels sprouts and asparagus

Voila! A low calorie, high fiber, and oh-so-delicious side dish that you will not have to share with very many people because you are the only one in your house who really likes this kind of stuff! (Unless you are cooking for vegans, who will probably be delighted to eat this, so long as you don’t tell them about the blood.)

If you manage cut your thumb all the way off prepping the asparagus, you will have lost about 100g instantly! And you probably worked off one or two entire calories rushing to the bathroom to wash the cut. By making healthy changes like this to your diet and exercise routine, you are well on your way to your goal weight.

*Luckily I did not need stitches, so I was able to finish cooking. (Seriously–carelessness with knives and getting blood in your food are definitely, definitely NOT safe food handling techniques. Stay tuned for my upcoming learned-from-experience article and video about the correct use of sharp kitchen knives.)



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