Monday, November 15, 2010

Market Foodtraining: Bright Sides

As promised, each week this month Market Melissa (Melissa Oshea) will bring you a veggie superstar she feels should make it onto your Thanksgiving table. This one is personal favorite that even made it onto her bio. This week we're talking Brussels sprouts.

Ever wonder where the name came from?  Brussels sprouts were originally cultivated in Belgium and therefore given the name “Brussels.” This is a little strange to us since most foods names do not include the city of origin. When it comes to Brussels sprouts, people can be separated into love ‘em or hate ‘em groups.  Many “hate ums” associate Brussels sprouts with something they were forced to eat as a child and therefore avoid now. However, how you cook vegetables, Brussels sprouts included, can make or break your experience. I’m not saying your mother wasn't a good cook way back when but rather that you may want to revisit certain veggies. John Lennon wanted peace, all we are saying is Give Brussels Sprouts a Chance!

Brussels sprouts are usually sold in small containers but you can also find them in stores still attached to the stem. You won’t find them on the “clean” or “dirty” produce lists (based on pesticide levels), so they aren’t a must to purchase organic. Just make sure to wash them really well to remove any dirt that may be trapped in between the leaves. Brussels sprouts are in season now making them easy to find in stores.

 In terms of health, Brussels sprouts are one of the strongest anti-cancer vegetables. Sulforaphane in Brussels sprouts signals the liver to release enzymes that can neutralize carcinogens. Sulforaphane shows promise with breast cancer as well; it can stop the production of breast cancer cells.  Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of Vitamin C and surprisingly contain Omega-3 fatty acids. With 4g of fiber per cup, your digestive system will also reap benefits from consuming these veggies. Interestingly, there is more protein in these Brussels sprouts, 4 grams, than most veggies, which tend to have 1-2 grams per cup.

While you can steam Brussels sprouts, I think roasting is by far the best and tastiest way to go. Just don’t overcook them, as this will bring out their sulfur content and make them quite stinky and taste rather bitter (hate ‘ems take note). You can store unwashed and untrimmed sprouts in a plastic bag for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

So for all of you Brussels sprouts haters, try my simple way cooking suggestion and let me know what you think.

  •  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Wash, trim and cut sprouts in half.
  • Toss with olive oil and kosher salt.
  • Roast cut side down on a baking sheet at 400F for about 30-35 minutes, until tender and slightly browned – remember not to overcook.
  • Shake the pan a few times during cooking so they brown evenly.
  •  If I ever have leftovers, I like throwing them into a salad the next day or eating them cold as a snack, yes we said snack.
Here are some other recipes that are great too:
Brussels sprout leaves
Brussels sprouts with walnut and lemon vinaigrette (Eating Well)
Brussels sprouts hash (Organic Authority)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with shallots
Are you a love 'em or a hate 'em? If you're a hate 'em have to tried them as an adult? What is your fave Brussels sprout recipe? What "bright sides" are you serving for Thanksgiving?


  1. love brussels sprouts YUM enjoy skiiing :-) Rebecca

  2. I adore brussels sprouts. I might even call it an obsession!

  3. Glad to see we are not alone in the love 'em group! Any good recipes you love, using Brussels Sprouts?

  4. Brussels are my absolute FAVE! I roast them just as you mentioned. My husband loves them burnt to a crisp, me, not so much. I always love seeing them at the farmer's market on a huge stalk. Quite impressive!

  5. Don't love em and don't hate em. I don't eat em much, but recently had some roasted ones and they were pretty good! I think I'm going to try the brussels sprouts hash recipe. Clydes was one of my favorite restaurants when I lived near DC! Thanks for sharing!