Brussels sprouts are the subject of much debate: some love them, and some can't even stand to be in the room with them. Admittedly, when not cooked or seasoned well, Brussels sprouts can be a bit bland and bitter. But when given care and attention, their bitterness becomes more muted, and their sweet nuttiness comes through. They emerge from the oven with a crisp exterior and tender interior that is simply sensational.
If you’re looking to make Brussels sprouts that will wow even the pickiest of eaters, oven-roasting them is the way to go, as in our ghee-roasted Brussels sprout recipe. Roasting Brussels sprouts allows them to brown and get ultra crispy. A drizzle of maple syrup and sprinkling of sea salt makes them absolutely addictive.
Brussels Sprouts Nutrition
Brussels sprouts boast a broad range of nutrients and health benefits. These mini cabbages are a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, and B vitamins including B1, B2, B3, and B6. They also are notably rich in folate, manganese, fiber, potassium, phosphorus, omega-3 fats, and iron, among other minerals.
In addition to providing the body with essential vitamins and minerals, Brussels sprouts also aid the body in detoxification and support the cardiovascular and digestive systems. The compound sulforaphane is responsible for these benefits (as well as for their sulfur-like smell and taste).
While Brussels sprouts can usually be found year-round in grocery stores, they are a cold-weather vegetable. Their peak season is from September to mid-February.
Brussels sprouts are not on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list, nor are they associated with high pesticide residue. (In fact, cabbage features on the Clean Fifteen!) That means that it is safe to buy conventional Brussels sprouts, but for maximum health benefits, go for organic Brussels sprouts whenever possible – they are, after all, more nutritious.
Where To Buy Brussels Sprouts
In their peak season, fresh Brussels sprouts can be found both at farmers markets and grocery stores, on the stalk or loose. This is also when they are most affordable.
If you aren’t able to find fresh Brussels sprouts, then go for frozen Brussels sprouts, which retain their nutrients and are a healthy choice.
Brussels Sprouts Cooking Tips
The key to cooking delicious Brussels sprouts is counteracting their bitter sulfur flavor. You can do this by adding a touch of sweetness for balance in the form of pure maple syrup, caramelized onions, raisins, or a tangy balsamic reduction.
The most important thing to avoid when cooking Brussels sprouts is overcooking, which makes them mushy and heightens their sulfur aromas. Cook them until they are just fork-tender so that they remain nutty and sweet.
Another tip to step up your Brussels sprouts game is to make them visually appealing. After boiling or steaming Brussels sprouts, drain them and then transfer them to a bowl of cold water for about 15 seconds, which will perk up their green color.
How To Prepare Brussels Sprouts
Before you start cooking your Brussels sprouts, you’ll need to clean and prepare them. Start by removing the two or three outermost loose leaves with a paring knife (like this one from Zwilling) and discard. Then add the Brussels sprouts to a colander and rinse well. Transfer to a cutting board (Made-In's butcher block is one of our faves) and trim off the stems. Then, halve them down the center. They are now ready to be cooked.
How To Cook Brussels Sprouts
There are several methods that work well for cooking Brussels sprouts – all you have to do is choose your favorite!
Boiling Brussels Sprouts
Boiled Brussels sprouts are super quick to prepare – they be ready to eat in under ten minutes. Half a cup of boiled Brussels sprouts contains approximately 28 calories, 0.4 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.
To boil Brussels sprouts, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add halved Brussels sprouts to the pot, and boil for about five minutes or until just fork tender. Drain and then serve.
Steaming Brussels Sprouts
While roasting Brussels sprouts may be the tastiest cooking method, it is not the ideal method for obtaining maximum nutrients. That honor falls to steaming.
To steam Brussels sprouts, fill a pot with enough water to reach the bottom of a steamer basket (like this one from Zwilling). Bring to a low boil and add the halved Brussels sprouts. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for about six minutes. Serve immediately.
Roasting Brussels Sprouts
Roasting Brussels sprouts results in caramelized, smoky flavors that’ll leave you salivating. Half a cup of roasted Brussels sprouts tossed in oil contains approximately 104 calories, 7.3 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, and 2.9 grams of protein.
To roast Brussels sprouts, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat. Place one pound of halved Brussels sprouts into a large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons safflower oil (or other high-heat cooking oil) and a teaspoon of sea salt.
Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes then toss using a spatula. Return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes, or until Brussels sprouts are fork tender and lightly browned.
Broiling Brussels Sprouts
Broiling Brussels sprouts results in a similar flavor to roasted Brussels sprouts but is quicker and adds more charring. This method results in a similar nutrition to roasted Brussels sprouts, so see above for approximate values.
To broil Brussels sprouts, preheat the oven on the broil setting or to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a baking sheet with safflower oil. Place one pound of halved Brussels sprouts into a large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons safflower oil and one teaspoon sea salt.
Transfer to the baking sheet. Broil for about 12-15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Brussels sprouts should be lightly charred and fork tender.
Sautéing Brussels Sprouts
Sautéing is a quick and healthy way to cook Brussels sprouts. Half a cup of Brussels sprouts in olive oil contains approximately 81 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and 1.5 grams of protein.
To sauté, heat two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat in a heavy-bottomed pan like an enamel sauté pan (the ones from Caraway are non-toxic and naturally non-stick). Add two minced garlic cloves and sauté for one minute. Add one pound halved Brussels sprouts to the pan. Raise the heat to medium, and cook for about ten minutes, or until fork tender. Season to taste and serve.
As for our fave? See below!
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, stems and outer leaves removed
- 2 tablespoons safflower oil
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet (we love this one from Made-In) with parchment paper or a baking mat. Add Brussels sprouts to a large bowl with the safflower oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt. Toss until Brussels sprouts are thoroughly coated.
- Transfer to the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Serve immediately and enjoy!