It’s the saturday after Thanksgiving and I am craving some traditional holiday fare. This year’s celebration while throughly enjoyable forged a rather untraditional direction as far as food went. A cousin and her husband who I hadn’t seen in nearly a decade came to my home for a nibble before setting out to a restaurant in Pittsfield. Chosen by my cousin for it menu which didn’t include traditional holiday’s fixing, it was delicious. Hotel on North and it’s restaurant, Eat on North are a sister to the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and share an executive chef. At this James Beard rated restaurant we started with sharing a dozen Massachusetts oysters, deviled eggs and a black kale and radish salad. The pickled onions on the salad were particularly good and thyme infused. For an entrée we shared a Portuguese-style seafood stew. I doubt the pilgrims would recognize this holiday feast.

Traditional meal or not it was good to spend the holiday with family. Since my mother’s passing in 2011 I haven’t spent the holiday with family and although my New York friends who I had spent the holiday with are family it just isn’t the same somehow as blood relatives even if there are years separating the time between visits. There are generations of history binding us together which is comforting and gives roots, an anchor, to my new beginning in Western Mass.

Besides family and friends, thanksgiving is all about the food. And I missed having some of these conventional, comforting and yes dare I say traditional thanksgiving offerings, especially roasted brussels spouts. Earlier in the week while at River Valley Co-op, one of several food co-ops in the area which has an excellent selection of locally grown organic produce, I picked up some wonderful small jewel-like brussels spouts and equally fabulously looking petit Romanescos. The Romanesco, a psychedelic looking vegetable tastes like cauliflower, because of the small size of these at the co-op I expected they would be extra sweet. I was right.


Last year my contribution to the festivities was a side dish I made which combined two of my favorites, cauliflower and brussels spouts. It was the perfect antidote to my craving. The caramelized sweetness of the cauliflower along with the roasted cabbage-like jewels that are brussels spout are true comfort food for me. Mix these two with a little crushed red pepper for zing and toasted walnuts and bread crumbs for earthiness and I am in vegetable heaven. It doesn’t have to be a holiday to enjoy these vegetables but rather making them makes the meal a holiday.

Chopped Romanseo

Side by Side Cauliflower and BSOn Baking sheet

Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: side
Serves: 4 servings
  • ½ lb. Brussels Sprouts (The smaller the better)
  • ½ lb. Cauliflower
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • ⅓ cup chopped Walnuts
  • ¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper
  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toast the walnuts in a cast iron skillet. Set aside
  3. Clean the brussels sprouts by slicing the bottoms off and removing any discolored outer leave. Slice the brussels sprouts in half and depending on their size into quarter. They should be bite size. Chop the Romanesco or cauliflower florets into pieces the same size as the sprouts.
  4. Place cauliflower and sprouts on baking sheet.
  5. Drizzle grapeseed oil over the mixture.
  6. Mix a couple handfuls of Panko bread crumbs with the crushed red peppers and salt to taste. Sprinkle over sprout mixture and them mix everything together on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until cauliflower and brussels sprouts begin to caramelized and brown on the edges. About half way through stir mixture.
  8. Remove to a serving dish and top with toasted walnuts.