Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

Written by: Beth Blessing

Brussels sprouts look just like tiny cabbages that grow on a large stalk topped with a crown of leaves. They are in the Brassica family and related to broccoli, kale, cabbage, turnips, and collards. They were developed only a few centuries ago, close to Brussels, in Northern Europe from a variety of wild cabbage.

Like all members of the Brassica family, Brussels sprouts are nutritional winners providing an excellent source of vitamins C, folate, and potassium. They also contain vitamin B6, iron, thiamine, magnesium, vitamin A, phosphorus, and niacin. The Brassica family has been recommended by the National Cancer Institute for cancer prevention. This family contains dithiolthiones, a group of compounds which have anti-cancer, antioxidant properties; indoles, substances which protect against breast and colon cancer; and sulphur, which has antibiotic and antiviral characteristics.

Brussels sprouts should be cooked rapidly to prevent them from becoming pasty. A tip that helps ensure quick, even cooking is to cut a shallow “X” in the stem before heating. This helps bring the heat to their centers more quickly, and also allows them to better absorb their tasty sauces and dressings. Cutting them in half or quarters will also do the trick, and will cut down on the cooking time, as well.

Brussels sprouts go well with butter and olive oil; cream, coconut milk, béchamel, crème fraiche, Parmesan cheese; mustard, capers, garlic, lemon, vinegar; curry spices, caraway, parsley, and dill.

Try incorporating this week’s Brussels sprouts into these recipes:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction, Dried Cherries, and Almonds

Braised Brussels Sprouts with Local Folks Foods Mustard and Local Honey

Curried Brussels Sprouts Braised in Coconut Milk

Chicken and Brussels Sprouts over White Bean and Rosemary Puree