A Much Maligned Vegetable

BRUSSEL SPROUTSIn my family, the traditional vegetable for both Christmas and Thanksgiving is brussel sprouts. Did I catch you turning up your nose? Then I ask you, what is it about this vegetable that people hate?

Let me start by assuring you that no, we don’t cook them until they turn gray, soft, and, well…smelly. When cooked in water, I just boil (or steam) them until the little sprouts are a bright green. That’s it. Really, just a few minutes of cooking. I then top them with salt and pepper, or some lemon juice, or even a light cheese sauce, and they’re fantastic. But there are so many other ways to prepare brussel sprouts that are truly delicious.

A recent favorite of mine it to roast the sprouts, after tossing them with some olive oil and assorted seasonings; I usually use salt and pepper, and sometimes add a bit of onion powder. I then cook the sprouts on a cookie sheet at a relatively high temperature, around 400f, until they turn just a toasty brown. Depending on your oven, the time can vary from 20 to 45 minutes. I find I have to keep a close eye on them, to avoid burning.

My second favorite way to prepare brussel sprouts, is a variant on a recipe I saw years ago on the old Frugal Gourmet series on PBS. You drop the sprouts into boiling water, and cook them until they turn bright green. Immediately scoop them out of the boiling water and drop into a bath of ice water, so the cooking stops. I then saute an onion or two (usually red onions) in olive oil until they’re soft. At this point I add in some garlic, and cook it a few minutes more. Then, I add the brussel sprouts in with the cooked onion, stir things up, and cook for just a few more minutes, at which point I add some balsamic vinegar, stir things around again, and they’re ready to serve. Truly delicious!

So where do you stand on brussel sprouts? Do you love them? Do you hate them? And if you love them, what are some of your favorite preparations?

15 thoughts on “A Much Maligned Vegetable

  1. Susan

    I love them. They are like little cabbages. I am the only one in the house who does so usually pick up about 10 sprouts for myself.

    My favorite way is to cook them is after cooking, cut in half, then add them to cooked wheat pasta, toss with a little butter, add some pepper and fresh parmesan cheese. Very tasty! Well, at least I like it.

  2. Rike

    I adore Brussels sprouts, so there! I usually fry them with a bit of onion and bacon, then add some water and boil/steam them. Delicious!

    My husband used not to like them at all, and while they’re not his favorite food yet, now he quite enjoys them, too. I believe it’s all a matter of neither boiling them to death nor smothering them in a creamy sauce.

  3. LeeB.

    I like them too and I’m a really picky eater. ;) I like them boiled/steamed with some butter/oleo. Perfect and simple.

  4. Missie

    Love Brussels sprouts. I always try to keep some in the freezer for a quick side for hubby and me. One of our favorite ways is to boil them just ’til done, then drizzle some light Italian dressing on them and maybe a wee sprinkle of Parmesan (‘though the dressing I currently have on hand has a bit of Parm in it, es well)…quick, simple, but full of taste.

  5. LinnieGayl AAR Post author

    Wow! Those are some great ideas. Susan, I just know I’d love them with wheat pasta. I’m definitely trying that.

    Missie, I’ve never tried them sprinkled with dressing, which is crazy, because I’ve done that with lots of other veggies. Will be giving that a try as well.

    Rike, that’s interesting, so you fry them just a bit first, then add water. I’ll have to try that way.

    Lee, simple, but delicious!

  6. Anne Marble AAR

    I used to hate brussel sprouds until I learned a recipe at WeightWatchers. Just roast them in the oven with olive oil and seasoning, and you’ll find that you have a whole new vegetable. They also look so neat when you buy them at the store — especially if you can find the ones that still come on little branches. :)

  7. Missie

    Anne Marble AAR: Of course, I mean brussel sprouts. Not sprouds. :\ If you see a store selling sprouds, run away screaming.

    I dunno, Anne…a store selling shrouds, yeah, I’ll skedaddle away from there, but one selling sprouds? I might have to investigate a bit more, just to check out the nature and origin and use of sprouds! ;-)

  8. Marcella

    Love them!
    I always drop them in boiling water too, so they remain bright green and taste better.
    But my favorite way of eating them is from the wok: in halves or quarters (depending on size), with chicken (or beef), garlic and ginger. Finish with ginger syrup, soy sauce and cashew nuts. And rice or noodles of course.

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