Last week – I wrote about a very popular vegetable. It is rare that carrots are not loved by young and old. So, today – let’s change that up a bit – and, perhaps, a ‘not so favorite’ vegetable.
Today’s ‘farmaceutical’ – Brussels sprouts!
Brussels sprouts are not always loved. But, when cooked correctly – they are an incredible addition to any nutritional plan. If I had to guess – if you don’t like them – you object to the pungent, sulfur-like smell that they have when they are overcooked. However, well-prepared sprouts have a delicate flavor!
Brussels sprouts most likely get their name because they were popular in Brussels, Belgium in the 13th century. And, that popularity spread throughout Northern Europe during the 1500 and 1600’s. They were brought to North America in the 18th century and are now mainly grown in coastal areas of northern California.
Brussels sprouts are small compact buds that look like miniature cabbages. They are part of the Brassica family and related to – you guessed it cabbage. They are also related to broccoli, collard greens, and kale. Brussel sprouts are generally a cold weather crop and prefer cool weather for growing conditions. It is actually said that Brussels sprouts taste sweeter when they undergo a light frost.
Brussels sprouts have 45 calories per 100 g serving. They are high in fiber (3.8 g per serving) and full of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. For example, one serving of the vegetable contains 142% of your daily Vitamin C needs. They are also a good source of Vitamin A (25% RDA) and Vitamin K (147% RDA). They are also a good source of B-complex vitamins and minerals like manganese and iron. Finally, they are a great source of numerous anti-oxidants (indoles, lutein, zea-xanthin and so on).
What does this mean – they help protect from cancer (prostate, colon, lung, oral mucosa, endometrial) by killing pre-cancerous cells and scavenging free-radicals. The Vitamin A helps in preventing age-related macular degeneration and the Vitamin K helps to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimers. PLEASE NOTE: If you are on warfarin – you may need to steer clear of Brussels sprouts as they will impact the potency of the drug – AND – if you have thyroid disease, Brussels sprouts can be goitrogenic which may impact thyroid function. Check with a nutritionist or doctor first!
So, what do you look for when choosing Brussels sprouts? Fresh sprouts should have dark green, compact and firm heads. You don’t want sprouts that are turning yellow or are showing signs of loose leaves. Remove any loose outer leaves and store them in the refrigerator. They can generally be stored for a week in a plastic zip top bag.
There are many ways to cook them – boiling, steaming, roasting, stir fry. You can even shred them and use them as a substitute for cabbage in a coleslaw. Generally, if you are cooking them – try to ensure that the sprouts are of an even size to allow for consistent cooking. I also trim the stem end. Wash them in water and get ready to cook!
My favorite way to eat Brussels sprouts (and, I had this at a restaurant in Maui as an appetizer) – is to boil them for about 5 minutes and then, wok-roast them in a very hot wok. They are then served with a truffle oil infused mayonnaise. It is SO good!
Try them, you may like them!!!!
Wok Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Truffle Aioli
- 1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, outside leaves removed and stem trimmed, halved lengthwise (if super-small, leave whole; if super-large, quarter)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or avocado oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (home-made with olive oil is best)
- 1 – 2 tsp. black truffle olive oil
Fill a wok with salted water and bring to a boil. Boil Brussels sprouts for 2 minutes, pour into a colander, rinse with cold water and drain well (don’t worry if some of the leaves fall off). Dump sprouts onto a kitchen towel and blot dry.
Heat wok over high heat (note: keep the heat really high during all of the stir-frying) for 1 minute and add the oil. Add Brussels sprouts to pan with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, tossing constantly, for 5-7 minutes, until they’re roasted and tender. Don’t overcook
Mix the mayonnaise with the black truffle oil. Start with the smaller amount first and add more to suit your taste. Truffle oil can be strong so let your taste be your guide.
Serve the Brussels sprouts with the dipping sauce on the side!