, its origins, and how Brussels sprouts are prepared
Ah, Brussels sprouts – the name conjures images of table-side debates about the division of these small green vegetable globes among family members at meals. Although some may have a long and difficult relationship with them, Brussels sprouts can actually be quite delicious when cooked properly.
What are Brussels Sprouts?
Belonging to the same species of wild cabbage, Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables that come from the same family as kale, cauliflower, and cabbage. The tightly packed buds of the plant grow on long stalks ranging anywhere from two to four feet in height. These stalks can be harvested and eaten whole and raw, typically lending a mild and nutty flavor.
Origin of Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts get their name from their city of origin, Brussels, Belgium. While some historians believe they’ve been around since Ancient Roman times, more concrete evidence shows that they have been grown in Belgium since the 1600s. From there, they made their way across Europe and eventually gained popularity in the United States and other parts of the world.
Nutritional Benefits of Brussels Sprouts
In addition to their unique and delicious taste, Brussels sprouts also offer a host of health benefits. Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and dietary fiber. Additionally, one serving (about half a cup) of Brussels sprouts contains 1.3 grams of protein, 3.2 grams of carbohydrates, and .3 grams of fat. This makes them a great accompaniment to any diet and an excellent way to get in a few more daily nutrients.
How to Prepare Brussels Sprouts
Naturally, the best way to experience Brussels sprouts is to prepare them correctly. There are a multitude of ways to do so, depending on the end result.
One popular method is roasting Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt to create a crispy and savory side dish. Typically, the Brussels sprouts are cut into halves or quarters and combined with a few cloves of garlic and some herbs before they’re tossed in the oil and roasted in a 450-degree oven until they’re nicely browned.
For a lighter option, Brussels sprouts can be steamed and served with a drizzle of lemon juice or balsamic reduction for additional flavor. To do this, trim off the tips of the sprouts and steam them for about six minutes or until they’re tender.
Another great recipe is the classic Brussels sprouts and bacon. For this, the bacon is cooked until crisp and the Brussels sprouts are cooked for about five minutes in the bacon fat. The sprouts are then topped with the cooked bacon pieces, a sprinkle of salt, and served.
Finally, a dish that’s perfect for the summer months is shredded Brussels sprouts. For this, the sprouts are thinly sliced and added to a hot skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil and a few cloves of garlic. Once softened (usually within a few minutes), they’re ready to be served with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Whether the goal is to make a savory side dish or a crisp and crunchy salad, Brussels sprouts can make a delicious addition to any meal. With a variety of preparation options and many nutritional benefits, it’s easy to see why these tiny green veggies have become so popular.