Brussels sprouts are nutritious vegetables that fall under the same family as cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. In appearance, they resemble tiny cabbages and are green, red, or purple in color. Brussels sprouts have a milder taste as compared to cabbage but a denser texture that makes them perfect for pickling, in soups and stews, as salads and even as a snack. Let us study different ways to cook Brussels sprouts to make your meals exciting.
Health benefits of Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are an essential source of Vitamin K. 100 grams of Brussels sprouts can give you 177mcg of vitamin K. Vitamin K is needed for strong bones and for blood clotting. It is also an important factor in cancer prevention. Deficiency in vitamin K can result in bleeding gums and nosebleeds.
Brussels sprouts can provide you with nearly 0.88 mg of Vitamin E per 100 grams of sprouts. This powerful antioxidant helps prevent diseases and aids in the formation of blood.
A deficiency in folate leads to birth defects as well as problems like diarrhea, hearing loss, weakness, fatigue, and headaches. Pregnant women are prescribed folic acid or folate in order to prevent birth-related issues in the fetus. Adults need nearly 400 mcg folic acid or folate daily and Brussels sprouts can provide nearly 61 mcg per 100 grams.
Brussels sprouts are a rich source of iron and 100 grams of sprouts can give you nearly 1.4mg iron. Iron is needed to prevent anemia and breathing issues. Iron deficiency can also cause severe headaches and yellowing of the skin.
How to select Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts come in three varieties namely dwarf, medium, and tall. The medium varieties are widely sold across North America under names like Diablo and Dimitri. The medium-large or tall varieties fall under Franklin and Hiesta categories.
- Be aware of common problems that affect the cabbage family as they also affect the sprouts. These include diseases, cutworms, and insects and pests.
- Select compact, fresh Brussels sprouts that are about 1 inch in diameter.
- Sprouts can be available as individuals or they can come attached to the stalk.
- It is best to choose the same sized sprouts so that they will cook more evenly.
- Avoid wilted, blemished or yellowed sprouts. Also, avoid puffy and soft sprouts.
- You will find that Brussels sprouts are cheapest and freshest during the cooler months between October and December.
- You can also buy frozen sprouts to keep on hand at all times.
Important conversions to know about Brussels sprouts
- 1 lb sprouts consist of about 24 sprouts.
- 4 cups trimmed sprouts will yield 2 ½ cups of sprouts.
Storing the sprouts
Once you buy the sprouts, try finishing them in a couple of days. They also last for about a week in the refrigerator in a perforated bag. To use the sprouts, wash them under running water and trim the stem, and the outer and the bottom leaves. For your recipes, you can shred or dice them in halves or quarters. If you notice bugs in the sprouts, soak them in cold, salted water for up to 15 minutes.
- Steaming, frying, and roasting are some of the best ways to prepare your Brussels sprouts. Grilled sprouts also taste great.
- Avoid over-cooking sprouts. They turn olive green in color and give off an unpleasant sulfur odor.
How to boil Brussels sprouts?
- Boil the sprouts only long enough to make them tender and crispy (about 5-7 minutes)
- Some chefs also cook sprouts longer, for about 10-15 minutes.
- Frozen sprouts require less cooking time as they have been blanched with boiling water before freezing.
Let us now take a look at some easy recipes using Brussels sprouts…
1. Steamed with butter
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- 1 lbs sprouts
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp caraway seeds
In a microwave-safe bowl, mix all ingredients and cover and cook on high for about 7 minutes. Test the sprouts with a fork to check if done.
2. Sprouts deluxe
- 8 cups Brussels sprouts
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/3rd cup butter
- 1/3rd cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1 hard-boiled egg yolk crumbled
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
Chop larger sprouts in halves or quarters and boil all sprouts. Turn off the heat once they are tender. Drain and sprinkle salt. In a saucepan, brown the butter and add yolk, breadcrumbs and chopped parsley. Pour this sauce over the Brussels sprouts.
3. Garlicky sprouts
This is one of the popular sautéed Brussels sprouts recipes.
- 1 ½ tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves sliced thin
- ½ lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- Salt and pepper
- In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, melt ½ tbsp butter and oil over moderate heat.
- Add garlic and brown, stirring continuously.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a bowl.
- Reduce the heat to low, and arrange the sprouts on the skillet in one layer. Sprinkle pine nuts on top and salt to taste.
- Cook uncovered until sprouts are crisp and the side facing the skillet turns golden brown. This takes about 10-12 minutes.
- With tongs, transfer the sprouts to a plate, leaving the nuts in the skillet.
- Add remaining butter and brown the nuts, until golden; about one minute.
- Stir in garlic and spoon the mixture over the sprouts.
- Adjust seasoning.
4. Lemon dill Brussels sprouts
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp each lemon juice and dill
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ lb Brussels sprouts (about 2 cups) trimmed and halved
- 2 tsp butter
- ¼ cup of water
- Make the sauce using lemon, yogurt, dill, salt, and pepper.
- Brown the halved Brussels sprouts in a skillet with some butter.
- Stir to avoid burning and once they are browned, add some water.
- Cover and steam the sprouts for a few minutes until tender.
- Mix the sprouts with the lemon-dill sauce.
5. Brussels sprouts salad with cranberries and bulgur
- Bulgur – a third of a cup. Add a cup of boiling water and let stand for 30 minutes.
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts rinsed, trimmed and cut into strips.
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup each orange juice and chopped nuts
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 4 ½ tsp olive oil
- Add warm bulgur to a bowl. Combine it with Brussels sprouts strips, cranberries, and nuts.
- Mix oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and orange juice and pour this dressing over the bulgur-sprouts mixture.
6. Wintery salad
Vinegar, horseradish, and butter do great things for this salad. This is a unique Brussels sprout recipe to make in autumn or winters. It consists of steamed Brussels sprouts.
- 1 ½ lb small red potatoes
- 1 lb each – carrots peeled and cut into long pieces and Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- ¾ to 1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges
- ½ lb small turnips peeled and cut into wedges
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp drained horseradish
- 1 ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp minced dill
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a steamer with two racks, steam potatoes and carrots in lower rack and turnips and parsnips with sprouts in the upper rack. (Steam covered for about 24 minutes.)
- Make the sauce by combining melted butter, drained horseradish, vinegar, chopped dill, and seasoning. Toss over steamed veggies.
Cooked Brussels sprouts are great with cream, butter, meat drippings, white sauce, and seasonings like basil, dill, caraway seeds, mustard seeds, sage, and thyme.