Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
3 Jan

Smart Fuel: Brussels Sprouts

400px Brussels sprout closeupWhile the effects of Brussels sprouts aren’t likely to win you any friends—unless you’re interested in hanging with the lads at the local fraternity—these cruciferous little devils pack a serious health punch.

Once considered a delicacy in Belgium—and since named Britain’s least favorite food, according to one recent poll—Brussels sprouts are loaded with compounds that disarm cell-damaging free radicals and help detoxify the body. In fact, less than a cup a day of the little critters is thought to reduce the risk of cancer—particularly those affecting the breast, liver, colon and bladder—and reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 71% in men and 59% in women, according to one recent study. In addition, Brussels sprouts’ off-the-charts vitamin C content—which clocks in at 4 times that of an orange—can help shore up the body’s immune response and give your skin a healthy glow (but not in a freaky Paris Hilton-esque fake-and-bake way!)

If you’re still conjuring up images of a childhood spent avoiding sprouts, step away from the steamer and instead try roasting the sprouts until crisp and brown. If masking the taste is what you’re after, consider adding a touch of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and course ground pepper, or shredding and then sautéing them for inclusion in casseroles and other comfort foods.

Now that’s a super fuel worth tooting your horn about!

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  1. I like to grill them in a “Grill basket”.
    Some olive oil and sea salt.
    Hated them as a kid.

    tatsujin wrote on January 3rd, 2008
    • I cut brussels in half, toss them in a bit of EVOO, salt and pepper. Then add chunks of bacon! Cook them until crisp and brown….and it’s the best side dish. Yum…

      awells wrote on May 20th, 2011
      • Try sautéing Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and Bacon with some coconut amminos. It’s a staple side dish, known as “Triple B” in our house!

        PaleoJay wrote on August 19th, 2014
  2. Coincidence- we just tried this recipe for sprouts last night. They were so easy and so damn tasty they’d probably wind up in regular rotation as a side dish just on that alone.

    Tip in general: whether you steam them, roast them, or grill them, slice them in half so as much of the interior is exposed as possible. Most of the bitter compounds that make sprout-haters out of children will readily leach out into the cooking medium (oil or water) that way.

    LabRat wrote on January 3rd, 2008
  3. I guess I’m strange. I went to a Catholic school as a kid where the nuns would make sure you cleaned your plate. I used to eat other kid’s spinach, brussel sprouts, and lima beans so they could make it to recess. But I did stick the brocolli inside a a milk carton to get past Sister Mary Aquinas!! :-)

    Dave C. wrote on January 3rd, 2008
  4. I love Brussels sprouts!

    I was never the biggest fan of vegetables growing up. I can only recall eating Brussels sprouts once as a child and disliking them heartily. My wife cooked some up for her and my daughter a few years back, and I tried them for the first time since childhood. I couldn’t believe how rich and flavorful they were! I wolfed them down like they were chocolate bars (a guilty pleasure of mine. They are one of the only vegetables that I actually crave. Just thinking of a bowl full of Brussels sprouts makes my mouth water. I’ll have to check the freezer when I get home. I think Brussels sprouts may be on the menu tonight!

    Mike Drew wrote on January 3rd, 2008
  5. Amen! I second the 101cookbooks recipe. It’s one of by absolute favorite things to eat. They’re rich and nutty and almost obscenely delicious.

    surplusj wrote on January 3rd, 2008
  6. My favorite way to cook brussel sprouts? Cook them in a pressure cooker, and then toss them a little bit of cream and salt. AMAZING!

    Megan wrote on November 10th, 2011
  7. I crave brussel sprouts daily! I cannot get enough! I sautee them with some canola oil (good for the heart), butter and when I have it I add some chopped up bacon. Sometimes I’ll throw some onions into the mix too. I slice them a few times and then fry them till the outsides turn crispy brown or black, then cover them in sea salt and some fresh ground pepper. Mmm mmm mmm!!! When I wolf them down I barely come up for air!

    strawberryeve wrote on December 17th, 2011
  8. They are great saute’d in coconut oil!!! Yum!!

    Bonnie wrote on June 9th, 2012
  9. Mark, could there be any relation to gout attacks with the consumption of Brussels Sprouts? I was having frequent gout attacks in the Spring and I was eating these at least once a week and sometimes twice. I love them.

    Claudette wrote on December 4th, 2012
  10. I hit upon a great way to serve up Brussels by accident recently. I overlooked both Brussels and cauliflower in the pressure cooker and was left with a pretty unappealing looking dish. So I tossed them both into a large bowl with butter and nutmeg and proceeded to whip them into a creamy mash with the electric mixer. Added a wee bit of cheddar cheese and some mulched almonds. Turned out awesome and even our daughter, who has inherited my long-ago distaste for Brussels, dug in – twice!

    BrynsterD wrote on April 11th, 2013
  11. Problem with Brussels sprouts is overcooking, when overcooked it releases a sulfuric tasting chemical. So cook (boil) about 10-12 min with sea salt and try one, they should have a little crunch to it, if too hard cook longer. When good drain, half the sprouts, fry in a little olive oil, add some pepper, maybe a glove of garlic(don’t burn the garlic), some caramelizing (browning) and good to go. Tip add some broiled pancetta…

    EdgarC wrote on August 1st, 2014

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