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Brussels Sprouts: Small But Mighty Source of Nutrition

Posted 7/23/2018 by UHBlog

Are Brussels sprouts the next culinary superstar? Learn why this healthy, delicious veggie is popping up all over

Homemade roasted green brussel sprouts in a bowl

Brussels sprouts prove the adage that good things come in small packages. These little green power balls are sprouting up in fine dining establishments, kitchens and backyard grills just about everywhere.

“The creative preparation of Brussels sprouts by restaurant chefs and home cooks – coupled with their health benefits – have contributed to this small, but mighty, vegetable becoming today’s superstar,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and board-certified sports dietitian Amy Jamieson-Petonic, M.Ed., RDN, CSSD, LD. “That’s great because Brussels sprouts are a wonderful source of essential vitamins and minerals.”

Brussels sprouts provide ample amounts of vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber and even plant-based omega-3 fats, Ms. Jamieson-Petonic says. And there’s more.

“Researchers are discovering Brussels sprouts’ anti-inflammatory capabilities, improved triglycerides and blood sugar control, and even some cancer-preventative properties,” she says.

Brussels Sprouts’ Roots

That’s not too shabby for a vegetable that has had a bad rap since its cultivation in Belgium in the 16th century, mostly due to cooking methods.

Brussels sprouts were either overcooked by boiling, which left them mushy and smelling like rotten eggs, or undercooked, making them hard to chew and tasteless.

Fortunately, delicious, savory Brussels sprout recipes have turned these overlooked veggies into today’s culinary rock stars.

“Brussels sprouts are absolutely delicious when cooked properly,” Ms. Jamieson-Petonic says. “I like to serve them roasted with just a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and black pepper.”

What to Look For at the Store

At the grocery store, you will find Brussels sprouts sold loose and by the pound, bagged in bundles or still attached to a large, sturdy stalk. Picked at their prime, Brussels sprouts should have a vibrant green color and be firm to the touch. The smaller the Brussels sprout, the sweeter and tenderer it will be.

At home, keep unwashed and untrimmed Brussels sprouts stored in a plastic bag in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for up to 10 days. To freeze Brussels sprouts, steam them first for three to five minutes. They will keep in the freezer for up to one year.

And for those who are watching their weight, one full cup of Brussels sprouts has only 38 calories.

“Nowadays, you can find fresh and frozen Brussels sprouts year-round,” Ms. Jamieson-Petonic says. “Their growing and harvesting season is late August through early March.”

Brussels sprouts are easy to cook and can be roasted, grilled or sautéed to bring out their nuttiness and sweetness. They pair well with bacon, balsamic vinegar, mushrooms, toasted walnuts, gorgonzola or parmesan cheese and currants, and are a great side dish or mix-in for steak, pasta and scallops.

Here are a few recipe ideas from Ms. Jamieson-Petonic:

Crispy Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Rinse sprouts in cool water and then chop off the tough ends. Chop sprouts in half.
  3. Whisk together oil, half the balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle it over the chopped sprouts and then toss to combine.
  4. Spread the sprouts out evenly over the baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the sprouts are tender-crisp.
  5. Drizzle with the remaining vinegar and sprinkle with salt to taste.

Source: Slender Kitchen

Easy Asian-Style Brussels Sprouts

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • About 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp. vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Steam or boil Brussels sprouts for about seven to 10 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a medium-size pan, heat a very small amount of olive oil and add the garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the Brussels sprouts and mix well. Let cook for a few minutes, until the Brussels sprouts absorb the sauce.

Source: Creative Healthy Family

Amy Jamieson-Petonic, M.Ed., RDN, CSSD, LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and board-certified sports dietitian at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. You can request an appointment with Jamieson-Petonic or any other healthcare professional online.

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