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Brussels Sprouts: The Most-Hated Vegetable in America

According to a 2008 research study by Heinz, Brussels sprouts are the most-hated vegetable in America. Your Hy-Vee dietitians would tend to disagree! Not only are Brussels sprouts one of the most powerful foods in fighting disease and providing nutrients, but they are one of the tastiest vegetables available.

According to Forbes magazine, Brussels are making a comeback as one of the Top 10 Food Trends for 2014 and for good reason. They are packed with nearly all your daily needs for vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting and bone health. They are a member of the cruciferous vegetable family and contain cancer-protecting compounds and glucosinolates, which stimulate the body’s natural detoxification system. As a matter of fact, their total glucosinolate content has been shown to be greater than the amount found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and broccoli. Brussels are also an excellent source of vitamin C which helps maintain a healthy immune system, and they contain lutein and zeaxathin, two nutrients important for healthy vision.

Chefs and culinary experts will agree that Brussels sprouts are a fun vegetable to experiment with in the kitchen because they are extremely versatile. Try them oven-roasted, steamed, sauteed, candied, boiled, grilled or raw. Even the frozen varieties are delicious!  If you’re looking to try Brussels sprouts and want a quick preparation method, we suggest roasting them. Roasting is a terrific way to prepare vegetables. It’s easy, quick and improves flavor. All vegetables have a small amount of naturally occurring sugar; roasting at high temperature caramelizes those sugars and causes chemical reactions that reduce bitter flavors. If you over-cook some vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, the sulfur compounds (which taste bitter) go through another chemical reaction which causes even more bitter compounds and stinky flavors. Try our Caramelized Brussels Sprouts or Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipes below!

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4

All you need:

  • 12 to 14 large Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
  • fresh orange juice or minced fresh ginger, optional

All you do:

  1. Slice Brussels sprouts very thinly until they resemble a mound of feathery ribbons.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high in a large skillet and saute the garlic for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the Brussels sprouts and continue sauteing for another 4 to 5 minutes, until bright green and tender.
  4. Add sea salt and brown sugar and toss together. Stir in toasted nuts. If desired, squeeze a few tablespoons of fresh orange juice or stir in some minced fresh ginger for some extra heat. 

Nutrition facts per serving: 110 calories, 8g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 15mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 4g sugar, 3g protein.

Daily values: 8% vitamin A, 80% vitamin C, 4% calcium, 6% iron.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4

All you need:

  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 cups halved Brussels sprouts
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Gourmet Garden Mediterranean Herb Blend (or 2 minced garlic cloves plus 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh herbs, such as thyme, parsley, oregano)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 6 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 to 2 tbsp balsamic glaze, such as Colavita Balsamic Glace

All you do:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line two large roasting pans with aluminum foil; spray with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper and vermouth. Evenly spread about 4 cups of vegetables on one prepared pan. Evenly spread the remaining 5 cups on the other prepared pan. Spread in an even layer so vegetables are not crowded together. They need space for air to circulate and for caramelization to occur.
  3. Roast the vegetables for 12 minutes. Remove pan with 4 cups vegetables and set aside for Roasted Brussels Sprouts Pizza. If you are not making the pizza, continue preparing both pans as directed in step 4.
  4. Sprinkle the vegetables on the other pan with Parmesan and toss gently. Continue roasting until vegetables are well browned, and just fork-tender, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.
  5. To substitute frozen Brussels sprouts: Microwave 3 (16 oz each) packages frozen Brussels sprouts in a microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 3 minutes on power 6; toss to redistribute. Cover and return to microwave; cook for another 2 minutes on power 6 or until thawed. Cut in half and proceed with step 1 in recipe.

Nutrition facts per serving: 250 calories, 12g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 720mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 9g sugar, 7g protein.

Daily values: 220% vitamin A, 200% vitamin C, 15% calcium, 10% iron

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Reduce Food Waste

Leftovers are a great way to use foods in your fridge that otherwise would go to waste. Try to plan one meal per week that involves leftovers.

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