Featured food: brussels sprouts

brusselsprouts

Some brussels sprouts facts:

  • They’re trendy.
  • They taste a bit like their plant relatives cabbage and broccoli.
  • They available year round, but are most in season in late fall and winter.
  • They’re filling.  One average sprout has almost 1 gram fiber.
  • They’re high in vitamin C.
  • They’re low calorie: 1 average sprout has about 10 calories.
  • They’re a significant source of potassium, folate and vitamin K.
  • The name “brussels” comes from Brussels, Belgium, where the sprouts were first cultivated on a large scale hundreds of years ago.

Do you think of brussels sprouts as mushy, olive-green, boiled-to-death mini-cabbage-like vegetables, with a faintly sulfur smell?  Those are pretty disagreeable, but that’s because the cooking method was all wrong.  Here are some ideas for quick brussels sprout dishes that don’t involve boiling at all.  For all recipes, start by rinsing and cutting off the ends.

10 ways to use brussels sprouts:

  1. Slice in half, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 400 for 15 – 18 minutes, or until done to your liking (oven temperatures may vary).
  2. Leave whole (especially if they’re small sized), or slice in half.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill in a vegetable grill basket until done.
  3. Slice in half and sauté until slightly browned in olive oil.  Add a small amount of water to the pan, cover and steam briefly until done.
  4. Shred (a food processor grater works best), and use raw in salads.  You can make a salad entirely of shredded brussels sprouts, with grated carrot, green onion, minced green pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
  5. Shred brussels sprouts and sauté with onion and pieces of bacon, making a sort of hash.
  6. Steam briefly until just chewy and still green, and garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  7. Use them as a side dish, or add to a grain-based casserole.
  8. Use them in a pasta dish: Toss cooked pasta with olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, roasted brussels sprouts, sautéed onion and pieces of bacon.
  9. Add to vegetable or noodle soups to boost nutrition and flavor.
  10. Eat leftover cooked brussels sprouts as a snack.
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