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I’ve been vagabonding around Paris of late, staying at one obliging friend’s apartment after another while they’re out of town, house-sitting or cat-sitting or what have you. It’s a great way to experience different parts of the city, to be sure, but it’s also a formula for feeling constantly not-quite-at-home.

There are things I do to make myself feel less like an interloper into someone else’s space: saturating the house with my favorite music; drinking inordinate amounts of tea while staring out of the windows, familiarizing myself with the view; making the kitchen smell like my kitchen.


One of the defining smells of the kitchen in which I grew up is sesame oil. My standard after-school snack when I was a little girl was a bowl of rice mixed with a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil, the distinct nutty smell of the oil amplified by the heat of the rice.

This bowl of greens and grains is like a grown-up version of my carb-bomb after school snack. Delicate Brussels sprouts leaves and crunchy coconut are tossed in an Asian-inspired vinaigrette, walked quickly through the oven just to get them toasty, and served over hot, fluffy brown rice. I know it sounds way too healthy to be exciting, but trust me: this is some seriously addictive stuff, friends.

Roasted Brussels Sprout and Coconut Bowl

Adapted from Super Natural Every Day.

Makes 2 large servings.


2 pounds Brussels sprouts, to yield about 5 lightly-packed cups of leaves
1 cup unsweetened coconut (preferably large flake, but I used shredded here and that works fine)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar (optional)
1 teaspoon mirin or honey (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil
sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

cooked brown rice, quinoa, barley, or or faro for serving.



Heat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Wash and dry the Brussels sprouts and remove any wilted or dirty leaves. Using a paring knife and working with one sprout at a time, peel individual leaves from the sprouts, starting from the outside and working toward the middle. Stop when you get to the core, where the leaves are packed too tightly together to pull any more leaves. Reserve the cores for another use and pile the leaves in a big bowl. Add the coconut to the leaves and toss.

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce and sesame oil. Whisk in the rice wine vinegar, mirin or honey, and sriracha or hot sauce, if using. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly to emulsify the dressing.

Drizzle a little more than half of the dressing over the sprout leaves and coconut and toss lightly to coat. Spread the dressed sprout leaves and coconut on two baking sheets and bake for 15-18 minutes, tossing once along the way, until the sprout leaves are slightly wilted and browned at the edges and the coconut is toasty brown.

Spoon some hot, cooked grains into a bowl and top with a generous mound of the sprout leaf and coconut mixture. Drizzle with some of the remaining dressing to taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Inhale.



This recipe was originally written for kale, so of course you can substitute de-stemmed and torn kale for the Brussels sprout leaves, and that’s just what I’ve been doing recently since Kristen’s mission to bring kale to Paris has been so successful. You can also try it with other hearty greens that don’t wilt too much in the oven, like savoy cabbage.

Music to cook by: Have Love Will Travel [The Black Keys / Thickfreakness]