The bum rap that brussels sprouts get is unfair. You’re not one of those folks who rejects outright this nutrition and fiber-packed little green superfood, are you? If you are, we’re here to change your mind.
These tiny little cabbage-clone vegetables have to shake their reputation as a bitter “nobody likes me” side dish and snack because when cooked properly, they offer a lot more than just the good feeling that comes with adding greens. They are part of the same family of veggies as cabbage, collard greens, broccoli and kale. Cook them simply with a bit of additional flavor and you might find you have a new favorite.
When roasted or steamed, brussels sprouts, which take their name from the capital of The Netherlands, offer excellent levels of vitamins as well as good fiber.
Lauren Cornay, RD, LN, a Community and Clinical Dietitian with Avera Heart Hospital said one cup of this vegetable offers plenty of good stuff.
“There’s only 38 calories in one cup, and that same portion provides 3.3 grams of fiber. That really helps to get to the recommended 25-30 grams a day,” she said. “Consider the fact they are a great source of vitamin C, thiamin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K and you can see why they make many lists as a veggie on the rise.”
The factors that hold back brussels sprouts mostly revolve around their taste – and scent – when they are overcooked. Like many cabbage-family vegetables, brussels sprouts will give off a sulfur-like smell, but this occurs when you’ve gone too far with the boiling or steaming. Some folks complain they have a bit of bitter taste as well. So to avoid those pitfalls, we offer this super-simple approach to brussels sprouts allowing you to customize the flavor while still getting all the good nutrition.
First, carefully rinse your sprouts and then trim the stems and remove any yellow and loose leaves. Next, cut them all in half, and if you have some jumbo ones, consider halving them again. Aim for a uniform collection of halved or quartered sprouts.
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and toss your sprouts in your favorite cooking oil, preferably one with good flavor, such as olive oil. Add a little salt and pepper, or if you enjoy its flavor, a little garlic or other herb concoction.
When the oven’s hot, set the sprouts, cut-side down, in a cast-iron oven-safe skillet or a baking sheet with edges and roast them for about 30-40 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time to guarantee thorough cooking. You can use a fork to test for tenderness. When they’re done, douse them with flavored vinegar, such as balsamic, and add just a touch more salt and pepper.
That’s really all you need to do to add a tasty, tart and oh-so-good for you vegetable to your winter meals.
“Brussels sprouts are one of those veggies folks come back to and find surprisingly good when they cook them with complementary herbs and flavors,” Cornay said. “It’s time for all of us to dispel those bad memories of soggy, bitter sprouts we might remember from childhood.”