Folks either love ‘em or hate ‘em, but there is unquestionably no “middle ground” when it comes to the relatively unattractive cruciferous and stinky vegetable known as — you’ve guessed it — Brussels sprouts! They are odd-looking little green veggies, round and bulbous in appearance with tightly wound ruffled leaves, and when craving a certain food, Brussels sprouts may spring to mind about as often as undercooked liver, unflavored tofu, or slimy oysters. Yes, it’s true that these mini cabbages have been known to be a number one nose wrinkler; but, the good news is that Brussels sprouts are gaining in popularity and are no longer considered the bitter taste of punishment that kids (and adults alike) were faced with a decade or so ago.
In recent years, Brussels sprouts have earned an impressive reputation for being one of the best natural powerhouse foods around, and while the health benefits strongly outweigh the detriments, it is true that Brussels sprouts are swiftly moving onto the preferred menu list with increased gusto and new found respect.
For those looking for something that is hearty but especially low in calories, Brussels sprouts are an excellent choice. One cup of fiber-rich nutty flavor-like Brussels sprouts equals approximately 56 calories, and is packed with more than 200 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin K1, and more than 100 percent of vitamin C. They are also a good source of riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and several other vitamins and nutrients. The potassium content helps the heart rate and blood pressure by balancing the sodium level. Eating Brussels sprouts has been proven to lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.
With due respect to Texas-size “everything”, smaller sized Brussels sprouts offer the most nutrients and goodness and lessen the chances of a strong cooking odor. To avoid the sulfur-like smell that can be derived from cooking Brussels sprouts, it is also imperative not to overcook them. The slight crunchiness of the nutty flavor immersed with a sprinkling of fresh ingredients such as light olive oil, zesty lemon, or the mixture of cinnamon and the sweetness of sweet potato makes the hardiness of Brussels sprouts a newly contemporary mouth watering delight that once may have been overlooked or tossed out like an old shoe. Instead, this robust — yet gentle giant in the world of cruciferous veggies is finding its way to the tables of gourmet chefs, health professionals, and home cooks alike. No longer a bitter pill to swallow, but a savory, sweet, mellow, and vigorously ideal veggie that is satisfyingly the star of many an entree, scrumptious salad, or side dish that never gets overlooked.
There are many delicious recipes to try, but the main thing to remember is NOT to overcook Brussels sprouts. No matter how good they are for you, if they don’t taste good, they won’t get eaten! A few easy serving ideas are to steam them and toss them with Parmesan cheese and olive oil and a little butter; or try roasting them, cut them in quarters and toss them into a salad with red onions, feta cheese, and balsamic vinegar.
For a few more easy and mouthwatering recipe ideas:
Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Dressing
Place Brussels sprouts in a large pot of boiling water and continue to boil for 4 or 5 minutes. (Do not overcook). For Lemon Dressing, you will need the juice of one lemon, salt and pepper, 1/3 cup of freshly chopped parsley, and 2 teaspoons of vinegar. Squeeze lemon juice into a bowl. Add other ingredients and pour generously over Brussels spouts and serve.
Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients: 1 — 2 sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes, ¾ lb. Brussels sprouts, 1 tablespoon butter, ½ cup chicken broth, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts. Boil sweet potatoes in water. Cook until sweet potatoes are tender (or you can insert a fork easily into a cube). Drain and set aside. Cut Brussels sprouts in half and cook in boiling water about 5 minutes. Drain. In saucepan, melt butter. Add the cooked sweet potatoes, cooked Brussels sprouts, and add all other remaining ingredients. Cook several minutes and serve.
Brussels Sprouts and Tomato Bake
Ingredients: Brussels sprouts, chopped tomatoes, chives, nutmeg, plain yogurt, grated cheese, slivered almonds. Cook Brussels sprouts in boiling salted water. Drain and put in casserole dish. Cover Brussels sprouts with ample layer of chopped tomatoes and chives. Sprinkle with nutmeg and light layer of yogurt. Spread grated cheese and slivered almonds on top. Bake in moderate oven until brown.
Brussels, Belgium first cultivated Brussels sprouts during the 16th Century — hence, the name. Also, did you know that nearly all US production of Brussels sprouts is from California?