It’s a new year, and most folks are resolving to get a bit healthier, or at least give it the old college try for a few weeks. If part of that “healthier” living involves your eating, then I have a treat for you: Brussel sprouts, a member of the Brassicas family. They kind of get a bad rap. They’re constantly brought into conversations about things people would rather not do… “I’d rather eat brussel sprouts than (enter completely unpleasant experience here, i.e. root canal).” Sometimes I feel a little pity for these bright green beauties, but I guess if most other folks turn up their nose, then that’s more for the rest of us!
The Bad Rap
So, why is there such a strong aversion to these green gems? I know living here in the south, there simply wasn’t a lot of exposure to them when I was growing up. Brussels sprouts thrive in places where they get at least one good frost, and I don’t know anyone who grew them in gardens when I was growing up. So perhaps people only like what’s familiar (and there’s totally science to back this up. Check out Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit if you want to be blown away by habits you didn’t even know you had!) And even if people are adventuresome enough to try a new vegetable, there’s always the question of how to cook them. I know this has stumped me quite a few times when a new leafy green shows up in my CSA box. What is this? What in the world do I do with it? (Sometimes new and different things simply end up as chicken feed around here.) So we have to be willing to break out of our frozen-pea-as-side-dish routine and find recipes to bring in new foods for our families to try. (Even if they seem reluctant!)
The Great News
If you’ve never really tried Brussel sprouts, but are basing all experience on that one time in the 3rd grade when you licked one and decided you didn’t like it, then I challenge you to let go of your childish (or adultish) picky habits and give them a go. Here are some great reasons why you totally should:
- Vitamin C! Step off orange juice, which only has 71% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C per serving (and don’t get started on how you’re ignoring the rest of the fruit just to get the juice). Brussel Sprouts pack over 100% (85mg) of your daily recommended intake in only 3.5 ounces. They’re like a vitamin powerhouse! The same is also true for vitamin k in these awesome sprouts; who needs to take vitamins now?
- Calories Shmalories-That same 3.5 oz. portion of Brussel sprouts only has 43 calories, which is definitely a win for those watching their figures. Even with some olive oil for roasting, these sprouts are an excellent side dish choice.
- Sulphoraphane- You can impress your friends and neighbors by spouting off this word the next time you’re in conversation. (Try to ease it in real casual like…) Basically, this is a phytochemical that recent research has shown has anticancer properties. While boiling your brussel sprouts may decrease this chemical, roasting and stir frying do not. So warm up the oven and get to roasting!
- They’re Delicious! Maybe you’ve had them before and would rather lick the sidewalk than eat them again, but I promise you, if prepared well (and not overcooked to oblivion), they’re super tasty. Try them simply roasted with olive oil and garlic or go a bit fancier by starting them in a skillet for some crispy edges, then moving them into the oven to finish them off. The ideas are endless (and so are the Pinterest posts)!
Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my super easy Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Walnuts recipe, so be sure to check it out. It will give you a slightly sweet start to your long future with this fabulous vegetable! And I’ll also post about growing brussel sprouts in your own kitchen garden like we were able to do this year.
I’d love to know your favorite way to eat b-sprouts! I know I wasn’t always a huge fan, but I’ve been won over. Even the little gardeners gobble them up when they’re served with dinner. Have a great week and happy gardening!