Brussel Sprouts – Who Knew?

One word: YUM.

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Shocked? Me too. I am a big huge fan of sauerkraut, so imagine my surprise when I chomped into my first slice of Brussel sprout only to find a hint of kraut upon my tongue! Being a relative of cabbage gives them a similar, yet milder taste to their fermented friends. I had no idea I had been missing out on this yummy treat until my girlfriend served them during a post-bouldering, paleo feast of roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower with meatloaf balls, a dinner I replicated for my family a week later and one they gobbled up.

The next amazing detail to note about Brussel sprouts is that they grow right out of a thick, spikey looking stalk creating a visual feast. This is also how I prefer to purchase them, rather then packaged in containers already removed from the stalk. If you do buy them already packaged, open it up when you get home and remove any yellowed or soft sprouts so they don’t ruin the entire bunch. These sprouts will also give off a sour odor, perhaps a reason for their bad reputation.

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Also potential cause for a bad rap may be in the preparation of the delicious little buggars. If you cook them whole, cut an X in the bottom of each sprout to allow for more internal/even cooking – whether you steam or roast. An undercooked sprout is hard, an overcooked sprout is mushy and stinky, who would enjoy either of those options at dinnertime? I would suggest slicing or dicing these balls of magic, tossing in coconut oil or pastured butter, a little salt, perhaps some garlic and onions and roasting them in the oven alone or with a buddy. I’ve been roasting ours with carrots because I know my girls will eat them. I also just found a recipe pairing them with diced bacon, tossing every 10 minutes for about 30 mins at 350 degrees. This will be on tomorrow night’s menu, guaranteed. Another recipe I look forward to trying is Brussel Sprout Slaw, found in Paleo Comfort Food. I’m drooling just thinking about all the possibilities. (While I have your attention, are any of my readers currently borrowing this book? I’d love to have it back soon for this recipe and others.)

Image More spectacular facts about Brussel Sprouts:

  • One of few vegetables originating in Northern Europe
  • Introduced to America through the French settlers in Louisiana – most are now grown in California
  • Best harvested in the Fall through Spring
  • Related to cabbage, broccoli and kale
  • Contain significant amounts of protein, Vitamin A, C and nitrogen compounds that may prevent some cancers (boiling voids most of this, so try steaming for 6 mins or roasting for 30)
  • A stalk costs $4.99 at GIANT in season and has fed my family of 4 through 3 dinners.

In short, finding out that Brussel sprouts aren’t repulsive little vegetables was similar to the day I learned relish is just chopped pickles, my head almost exploded. I could weep at the thought of missing so much time with these delightful options. I hope everyone continues to try new and old foods alike. Our taste buds, like other sensory cells, wear out as we age which can alter our taste preferences and allow room for more additions to our diet. You never know what might become your new obsession.

I’d also like to extend a special thanks to Wendy for sharing the delight of a roasted, sliced Brussel sprout with me for the first time and also to my husband, Chris, for educating (and making fun of) me about relish, after 30 years of fearing these foods based on name and reputation alone.

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13 Comments on “Brussel Sprouts – Who Knew?”

  1. nicole deibler says:

    I want to like brussel sprouts but I just can’t 😦 I will give your recipe suggestion a try and see if I change the mind of my taste buds!!

    • Nicole – Why ‘can’t’ you? Defeatism will get you no where. Also, you don’t ‘have’ to like Brussel sprouts to eat healthy 😉 It’s just something I found recently that I’m in love with. Goodluck!

  2. Beth K. says:

    Yummmm. I freeze single slices of bacon and pull out one each time I come across brussel sprouts. BTW, brussel sprouts grow awesomely here. Don’t pull the plants after the spring harvest and you can harvest throughout the fall.

  3. Andrea says:

    Even though we aren’t going Paleo, I’m finding a lot of your recipes totally suitable for our life! Delicious and easy! I’m really enjoying all of the info, and who knows, maybe Paleo could be right for us at some point in time! I am interested for sure!

  4. Sprouts are perhaps the most maligned of vegetables. I think a generation of kids force fed less-than fresh or frozen sprouts ruined it for everyone after.

    I didn’t even try them until last fall – and now love them!

  5. Wendy says:

    SOOOO excited to learn we can grow them here! I’m definitely giving that a whirl!! Another great way to eat them is to shred them in a food processor – then saute w/ garlic, olive oil, and throw in toasted walnuts… this was a BIG hit at this year’s thanksgiving dinner!! Great post, Erin!!

  6. Dad says:

    Well written and entertaining as usual. Good publicity for the gaseous little balls. Brussel sprouts are easy to grow in backyard gardens. They don’t take up much space and each stalk produces hundreds of sprouts. With six stalks in our garden we eat them almost every day and can’t give them away fast enough to keep up with production. Buy plants in early spring. They are hardy (survive late frosts and produce until Thanksgiving). The first crop takes a while (you can harvest tender sprouts in June if planted by March). We prefer the small sprouts. They are most tender and tasteful.

  7. […] was truly disappointed when I went for a stem of Brussel sprouts and they were out of stock at the grocery today. I’m not sure what else I will be preparing, […]

  8. […] must know by now my obsession with all things cabbage, after all, our Brussel Sprouts post is the most popular on the blog. Last week when I was perusing the stands at Farmers on […]


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