Brussels Sprouts Afelia

by Mara @ What's For Dinner? on April 20, 2012

in family, family recipe, simple recipe, vegetables, vegetarian

Anyone who’s ever dined at a restaurant with my family and I has experienced the fine art that is “ingredient and recipe figuring outing”. My mom and I are particularly intense at this, and have been able to successfully identify some of the most obscure ingredients in some of the most delicious foods.

Think the Top Chef ingredient taste challenge times ten. We’ll sit there, dipping the tines of our forks into droplets of marinade, bits of sauces, and crumbs of dry rub. We’ll allow flavors to linger, and then analyze.

“That’s cumin, cayenne, and… whats the other taste there?” “Cinnamon. Maybe some cardamom.” “Oh! And black pepper!” We make little noises between each sentence, much like the tongue click we make to call the cats over; small little lip-smacking noises that help us identify ingredients in a delicious restaurant dish.

It’s intense, and quite hilarious for the innocent bystander. But, when we get it, we get it.

My mom and stepdad recently took a road trip to Washington, D.C. and had the pleasure of visiting Zaytinya, a modern Mediterranean restaurant formerly run by Top Chef contestant Mike Isabella. A few text messages from my mom told me that she had eaten the most delicious thing ever while there, and she couldn’t wait to figure it out. And figure it out she did!

brussels sprouts afelia

A dish called “Crispy Brussel Afelia” is described as brussels sprouts, coriander seed, garlic yogurt, and barberries. When we had our family “Greek Easter” celebration last weekend, my mom brought her creation, and I believe I demanded the recipe before we even got home that night. She shared, and gave me permission to blog it.

brussels sprouts afelia

The final product is something that could easily be a meal on its own, but makes a perfect side dish for a bigger meal. The way my mom made them, the brussels sprouts had pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, pine nuts, as well as the yogurt and coriander. I substituted the pomegranate seeds and dried cranberries for dried cherries, and left the nuts out all together since they were extremely expensive! I’m posting the recipe as she wrote it, adding in more exact measurements where needed.

2 packages frozen brussel sprouts (I used 1 lb fresh)
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
roasted pine nuts (I left these out)
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted in a hot pan then crushed with the back of a spoon
a few pomegranate seed (maybe 1/8 cup)
a few craisins, soaked in warm water til squishy (I used dried cherries, 1/4 cup)
InstructionsHeat a frying pan until crazy hot. Add a tablespoon olive oil and brussel sprouts, and some salt.
Allow to really blacken and char an both sides- toss them around. This may take 10 minutes or so.

brussels sprouts afelia

Mix yogurt, olive oil and salt together in a separate dish… (this should taste salty and delicious)

brussels sprouts afelia

Allow sprouts to cool.
Put layer of yogurt sauce on a dish… then layer sprouts,roasted coriander, then pine nuts, craisins and pomegranate seed.
Coriander seeds are key to this dish

brussels sprouts afelia
I’m blown away by how delicious this dish is. The coriander, as my mom said, is key. The flavor is unique and complex, the sweetness of the dried cherries (or whatever dried berry you use) along with the slight bitterness of the sprouts, the tartness of the yogurt…
Just try this. Seriously. Even if you think you don’t like brussels sprouts.
brussels sprouts afelia
Thank me later. Make this now. Or at your earliest convenience.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura April 20, 2012 at 10:38 PM

You just made my day with this recipe! I’m completely obsessed with Brussels sprouts AND all the other things in this dish. Taste sensation!


Crystal @ A Lovin' Forkful April 21, 2012 at 12:40 AM

I love story about you and your mom. My husband and I do that too. It’s so much fum. The brussel sprouts look delicious. I love the idea of the dried cherries.
Crystal @ A Lovin’ Forkful´s last blog post ..Skillet Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs


Jenn@slim-shoppin April 21, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Still haven’t tried Brussels sprouts yet! I have to try them soon!
Jenn@slim-shoppin´s last blog post ..Cooking Light’s Jerk Chicken


Biz April 22, 2012 at 3:45 PM

My SIL loves brussel sprouts – I’ll have her take a look at this one and see if she’ll like it! Hope you are enjoying your weekend!
Biz´s last blog post ..Barbecued Pork Steaks


mom April 22, 2012 at 4:10 PM

you got it… I could eat ths every day… the whole is so much more than the sum of its parts.


Diana April 23, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Speaking of trying to figure out ingredients, I just stumbled upon my photos from Chez Panisse! I wish we could go again right now!

Hmm…what’s this? It tastes buttery. It tastes like…butter broth? lol :P
Diana´s last blog post ..Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup {Recipe}


Terry C April 23, 2012 at 5:24 PM

I have had this dish at Zaytinya and it was one of the best things I have ever eaten. So I will be trying this. And sharing with my Zaytinya dining companion. :-)


Mandy July 31, 2012 at 3:40 PM

I was at Zaytinya last week and the waiter told me that the sprouts were blanched first, then roasted-slowly with the olive oil. That is how they were so crispy open. And OMG-they were sooooo amazing!


Mara @ What's For Dinner? July 31, 2012 at 3:49 PM

So good to know!!!! Thank you!!


Michelle March 10, 2014 at 6:55 PM

We were in DC a couple weeks ago and had a wonderful lunch at Zaytinya, including the brussels sprouts. I’ve been dreaming about them ever since so I really appreciate your posting this recipe. (Your photos even look like their brussels sprouts.) One question: is there any garlic in the yogurt sauce? Thanks!


Mara @ What's For Dinner? March 10, 2014 at 6:57 PM

Thanks so much for your compliments! Since my mom a) ate the sprouts at Zaytinya and b) figured out the recipe, there’s no way there’s garlic in it! She’s horribly allergic!


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