Sunday, October 26, 2014

Recipe: Maple Roasted Fennel, Kale Sprouts, and Rainbow Carrots

I recently received a copy of the great new book, The 52 New Foods Challenge, to review, and was given the challenge of using the book as an inspiration for my own new food challenge.

We're a pretty adventurous family, food-wise, so many of the foods mentioned as challenges in the book are already favorites for us.  Quinoa?  Love it.  Kale?  Favorite.  Still, there are plenty of other lovely and healthy foods that we haven't tried as a family yet, so I took the challenge to heart.

The book recommends using the Crunch a Color game to encourage adventurous and healthy eating.  We did not do this tonight, because my kiddos are pretty open to trying things without the game, but we do love the idea behind Crunch a Color.

I was a the store and I saw some lovely produce that caught my eye.  Rainbow carrots we are already fans of (I love how the red ones have a yellow/orange core.  So beautiful!), but I also decided to try fennel, which I have always liked, but have never cooked and never served for the kids, and also the new hybrid, kale sprouts.  They grow like Brussels sprouts on a stalk, but are leafy like kale.

Our favorite way to eat vegetables is to roast them.  It brings out the inherent sweetness, and it is easy.
Rainbow carrots, ready to roast
I roasted the vegetables separately, so that we could taste them all on their own, to better appreciate the flavors, and also so that the different vegetables could be taken out when they were done.

Fennel, ready to roast
It's not really a recipe, but more of a method.  I heated the oven the 400 F, and tossed the veggies in olive oil.

Look at how lovely these kale sprouts are!
I added a couple tablespoons of maple syrup to the vegetables when there was about 10 minutes left.

The kale sprouts roasted for about 25 minutes total, the fennel took about 35 minutes, and the carrots (cut into small sticks) took about 45 minutes.

Kale Sprouts, Fennel, and Rainbow carrots - maple roasted
I served the roasted vegetables with pork chops and rice.

The kids tried the new vegetables.  The Boy was not a fan of either the kale sprouts, nor of the fennel, though he loved the carrots.  The Girl loved the kale sprouts, but not the fennel.  My mother came over for dinner, and she and I gobbled up all of the vegetables.  They were wonderful.  Though fennel can have a very anise-tinged flavor, roasting it mellowed that a lot.  I think it was still too much for the kids, sadly.

I will keep trying new things, and will try these veggies again.  Don't give up after the first try!  Sometimes, unfamiliar is bad no matter how you dress it up, so the goal is to make things more familiar, and hope to gain acceptance eventually.

I hope that you will check out this book when it is released.  There are a lot of great recipe ideas, and the challenge could be a really fun one to do, along with your kids.  I love letting the kids pick out new things to try.  Involving them is huge.

What's the last thing your kids surprised you by liking?

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