1 Oct 2009

Tasty, yes tasty, Brussels Sprouts!

Love them or hate them, Brussels sprouts are good for you and if cooked properly can be very tasty! Like cabbage and broccoli they belong to the Brassica family. They are thought to be native to Belgium, specifically to a region near Brussels, hence their name. Brussels sprouts are generally available all year round but are at their best from Autumn through to Spring especially when there is a light frost.

Nutritionally they are an excellent source of vitamins C and K, a very good source of vitamin A, B1 (thiamin), B6 (pyridoxine), folate (folic acid), manganese, dietary fibre, potassium and tryptophan, and a good source of omega_3 fatty acids, iron, phosphorus, protein , magnesium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin E, copper, beta carotene and calcium. They also contain numerous phytochemicals which include sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol, glucosinolates and phenols. A cup of Brussels sprouts contains +/- 60 calories.

Brussels sprouts, unlike most vegetables, are fairly high in protein (+/-4 gms per cup). The protein is incomplete as it does not provide all the essential amino acids but when combined with whole grains the protein is made complete. Being high in dietary fibre (+/-5 gms per cup) they will make you feel full without loads of extra calories, nourish the cells lining the walls of the colon, and help maintain a healthy colon.

Recent studies have shown that the phytonutrients in Brussels sprouts signal our genes to increase production of the enzymes involved in detoxification, which is the cleansing process through which our bodies eliminate harmful compounds. The high amounts of vitamin A, C and beta-carotene assists the body in fighting against infection and have the added advantage of promoting supple, glowing skin.

On top of that, other studies show Brussels sprouts have significant cardiovascular benefits as well. The phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol they contain lowers liver cells' secretion of the cholesterol transporter, apoB. ApoB is the main carrier of LDL cholesterol to tissues, and high levels have been linked to plaque formation in the blood vessels, causing cardiovascular disease.

When purchasing choose firm, compact, bright green and evenly sized sprouts. The organic Brussels sprouts are best as they have higher phytonutrient levels than conventionally grown varieties. To store, keep unwashed and untrimmed Brussels sprouts in a plastic bag or container in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. They can be kept for around 5 days. If you have to many to use in that period they can be frozen by blanching them first for between three to five minutes. and then freezing.

To prepare, cut the stem from each Brussels sprout and pull off outer wilted or yellowed leaves. Wash them well under running water or soak them in a bowl of water to remove any insects that may reside in the inner leaves. If cooking whole cut an "X" deep into the stem end of each sprout which will help them cook quicker. To preserve the folate and vitamin C it is best to cook them as briefly as possible. This will also prevent the release of the unpleasant smelling suphur compounds which happens when overcooking. Overcooked Brussels sprouts are slimy, smelly and tasteless which is probably why many were put off eating them in the past. Boil or stir fry them for 5-8 minutes or steam them for under 10 minutes.

I hope that the recipes below will help you to enjoy Brussel sprouts as much as I do. Remember do not overcook!!


Brussels Sprout Salad with Almonds and Parmesan
Created by Colin Cowie From

1 cup slivered almonds
2 lbs / 900 gms Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil or 3 tbsps olive oil and 1 tbsp truffle oil
3 tbsps fresh lemon juice
2 tbsps finely sliced chives
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsps Parmesan cheese (optional or use Vegan Parmesan~Jackie)

Preheat oven to 350F / 175C. Place almonds on baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, slice sprouts as thinly as possible. In large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, chives, salt and pepper. Add sprouts, almonds and cheeze. Toss until combined. Serves 10 as side dish.

Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts (1)
By Mayo Clinic staff
In this recipe, quickly caramelized shallots add a sweet note to the sprouts.

3 tsps extra-virgin olive oil
3 shallots, thinly sliced (I use spring onions~Jackie)
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
1 lb / 450 gms Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut into quarters
1/2 cup vegetable stock or broth
1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a large, nonstick frying pan, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until soft and lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in the 1/8 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. In the same frying pan, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and saute until they begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the brussels sprouts are tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Return the shallots to the pan. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, the 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts (2)
From VegBox
This recipe is quick, easy and delicious. It might even tempt committed sprout haters back into the dining room.

Up to 30 Brussels sprouts
1 tbsps sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp sesame seeds

If the sprouts are still on their stem, gently snap them off. Wash the sprouts and remove any yellowing leaves. If you think there might be bugs in your sprouts, soak them in warm, salted water for 10 minutes. This brings the bugs out... Rinse well before cooking. Slice the sprouts in half and dry them thoroughly. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan, until hot. Add the sprouts and cover. Cook, turning occasionally, for up to 3-5 minutes. (Test them after 3 minutes or so. They should be soft, but still with plenty of texture and a little crunch). Add the soy sauce and sesame seeds. Serve immediately. Serves 4 as a side dish.

Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts (3)
From the Vegetarian Times
We’ve paired them with omega-3-rich walnuts and walnut oil, then thrown in some dried cranberries for extra tangy flavour and antioxidant flavournoids~Vegetarian Times

2 tsp olive oil
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1½ lb/ 700 gms Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 medium shallots, halved and sliced (¼ cup)
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
¼ cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries
1 tbsps agave syrup
1 tbsps walnut oil

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add walnuts, and toast 3 to 4 minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer to plate, and set aside. Wipe out skillet, and return to heat. Add olive oil, and swirl skillet to coat bottom. Add Brussels sprouts, and cook 5 minutes, or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add shallots and garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Stir in cranberries, agave, and 1 cup water. Partially cover pot, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated and Brussels sprouts are just tender, but not soft. Transfer to serving bowl. Stir in walnut oil and toasted walnuts, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serves 6.



Mihl said...

Thank you so much for this post! I always want to include more Brussels sprouts into my diet but have no idea what to do with them. This is great.

Lidian said...

THank you for the fabulous recipes! I love brussels sprouts and eat them often, so need some new ways to cook them.

Rita T. said...

This is great! I grew a lot of Brussels sprouts in our garden this year and was looking for recipes in which to use them. Thanks!

LJP said...

I'm glad you included some stir-fry recipes. In my opinion this is the best way to have brussels sprouts.

Anonymous said...

I love Brussels sprouts but wasn't very creative about serving them. Thanks for the great suggestions. Now, what about lima beans...

Anonymous said...

I created a Vegan site at

Alisa - Frugal foodie said...

ooh, I'm going to have to sneak some brussel sprouts in the cart when the hubby isn't looking :)

Bryan said...

Haven't tried Brussel Sprouts yet but because of this article of your, I will surely give it a try. Thanks for the sharing the recipes to us!

Farty Girl said...

I always make brussels the exact same way... roasted with oregano and evoo... had no idea you could EAT THEM RAW! Thanks!!!

Marion said...

I tried the stir fried brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving dinner the other night, Jackie and it won rave reviews.

I love them anyway they come, but this is a really good one...thank you!

Lacey said...

cool blog! i think you might like can get free vegan food and products!

Chatterbox said...

I have seen fresh Brussels stocked in our local grocery markets since a long time. But I had no clue how to cook them. Thanks a lot for sharing this informative post with cooking ideas.

I'll give the Brussels a try soon for sure.


aTxVegn said...

I love Brussels sprouts! I think they taste best when sliced thin or shredded. I've never had them raw - I'll have to try that salad.

Rita said...

I love brussels sprouts, but barely ever eat them. thanks for the great recipes!

Roy said...

Nice post,,i also agree with you,,Brussels sprouts can help me in order to do vegan diet. i think Healthy Vegan Diet is a Low-Fat Diet. A vegan diet is naturally low in fat. we also know that A Vegan Diet is High in Fiber. By its very nature a vegan diet is high in fiber. Animal products have absolutely no fiber. I want a vegan diet that are prepared for you with meals normal people eat - nothing gourmet. And it has to be nutritious; based on what my body needs; I want all this and a plan that's easy.