Not everyone loves Brussels sprouts; in fact, they are kind of disrespected when they’re sitting on the Thanksgiving table. These cute little “miniature cabbages” are a cultivar of the same species that includes cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, lake and kohlrabi.
Here’s a little background: Brussels sprouts were first produced in the United States in the 18th century when French settlers brought them to Louisiana. In fact, Thomas Jefferson grew them at his home, Monticello, in Virginia. The first plantings in California’s Central Coast began in the 1920s and increased significantly in the 30s. Most of the production in this country remains here, due to the ideal combination of coastal fog and year-round cool temperatures. A small percentage are also grown in Washington, and not too far from the Capital Region on Long Island.
If you haven’t acquired a taste for them, perhaps you should for health reasons. They contain good amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and fiber and are believed to help prevent colon center because they contain sinigrin. And, when steamed, they can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits. The fiber-related components in them do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. This binding process makes it easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is lower cholesterol levels. Raw Brussels sprouts also have cholesterol-lowering ability.
There is no disputing the value of these cute little veggies, so don’t be afraid to try the inspiring recipes below. One rule for all the recipes is to wash and trim leaves.
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (great with Thanksgiving Turkey)
- 3 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved
- Salt and pepper to your taste
- 1 cup chicken broth
Brown bacon and drain. Add olive oil to the pan and turn. Add shallots and sauté a few minutes. Add Brussels spouts and coat in oil. Season them with salt and pepper. Cook sprouts 2 to 3 minutes until they begin to soften; add in broth. Bring broth to a bubble, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook 10 minutes, until tender. Serve topped with the bacon bits and serve!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe with Balsamic, Parmesan
- 1 lb. russels sprouts, trimmed and cut into quarters
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 T Parmesan cheese (preferably fresh grated)
- Toasted pine nuts or walnuts, optional
- Toss prepared sprouts with vinegar
Arrange sprouts in single layer on roasting pan and roast at 450 F for about 20 minutes, or until they start to brown and crisp on the edges. Toss with Parmesan, sprinkle with pine nuts and serve hot.
Steamed new potatoes and Brussels sprouts
- 1/2 lb. smal red potatoes (2 oz. each), washed and quartered
- 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts (about 12), trimmed with X cut in base
- 1/2 c. chicken broth or water
- Dash freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives or green onion tops
Combine potatoes, Brussels sprouts and broth in 2 quart microwave safe casserole. Cover tightly with lid or plastic wrap turned back slightly on one side. Microwave on high 4 minutes. Stir. Cover again. Microwave on high 3-6 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Let them stand, covered, 5 minutes. To serve, sprinkle vegetables with pepper, parsley and chives.
Recipes courtesy of Cooks.com