Brussels Sprouts: Recipes & Cooking Tips

Brussels Sprouts

By Cat, Feb 2018 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

I love brussels sprouts, but this has not always been so. When I was a child, I got a stomach flu and puked all over my bed; what came out was sauerkraut that I’d eaten earlier. After that, I would not eat any kind of cabbage because I was reminded of that horrible experience. In my early 20s, I was able to eat raw cabbage (as in cole slaw), and soon after I tried brussels sprouts when I was invited to dinner at a friend’s house. Oh my! What pleasure I’d been missing!

I usually sauté them in my casts iron pan, or slow cook them with a pot roast, but I’m always interested in trying other options.

  • Includes: 1. Tips for preparing & cooking Brussels sprouts; 2. Cooking in a pan on stove top; 3. Boiling them; 4. Steaming them; 5. Oven-Roasted Brussels sprouts; 6. Balsamic-drizzed, oven-roasted Brussels sprouts; 7. Grilled Brussels sprouts
  • See also: 1. Foods About (menu); 2. Side Dishes menu

Tips for preparing & cooking Brussels sprouts

The following is from a Mercola post, augmented with my own experience.

Cleaning them:

Use lukewarm water (better at removing dirt and chemicals than cold water); if not grown organically, add some baking soda which, according to one study, can remove 96% of toxic pesticides on most produce (such as the fungicide thiabendazole and the insecticide phosmet) help remove pesticides.

There are two washing options as listed below. I usually use the second option,  which is better at dislodging dirt and chemicals throughout the veggie. But when I don’t have time to let them dry thoroughly, I use the first option.

  • Running them under the tap; or
  • Submerging (soaking) them in water in a bowl for 10 minutes.
  • If adding baking soda to the soak. use 1 tsp baking soda for every 2 cups of water, then gently scrub. (2)
  • If soaking them, they can become waterlogged. If you plan to sauté, grill or roast them, allow them to dry first (I arrange them on a paper or cotton dish towel).

Trimming, cutting them

First, trim a bit of the tough stem off, to make them more tender, but don’t remove too much – no more than ⅛”, or the leaves will fall apart while cooking. Using a ceramic knife is best, according to Mercola, but I don’t have one so use a stainless steel paring knife. Afterward, remove any brown or yellow leaves, as they’re already wilted.

If they are less than 1½” in diameter, you can leave them whole but cut an X-shape into the top of the sprouts. This helps them to cook more thoroughly and evenly.

If more than 1½” in diameter, you may want to cut them in half or quarters, so that all that will be cooked together are about the same size (3)

Various cooking methods

Cooking in a pan on stove-top

  • ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1½ Tbsp raw, real butter, preferably from pasture-raised cows
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts (optional)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced  (optional)
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • Equipment:
  • sauté pan or cast iron skillet
  1. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a pan with the coconut oil, over moderate heat. Add garlic and cook until about one minute. Transfer to a small bowl.
  2. Reduce heat to low and arrange the sprouts in the pan, cut sides down, in one layer. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Let cook, without turning, for about 15 minutes or until the undersides are golden brown and crisp tender.
  3. Transfer sprouts to a plate, browned sides up. Add more garlic and remaining ½ tablespoon butter to the pan and let cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the nuts are more evenly pale golden, about one minute.
  4. Spoon this mixture over sprouts and sprinkle with pepper

Boiling them

I don’t recommend boiling vegetables, as so many of their nutrients are lost to the cooking water. Instead, I steam (see below) or braise them. But here’s the boiling method, should you choose to use it.

  • 1 quart Brussels sprouts, washed and prepped
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp raw, real butter, preferably from pasture-raised cows
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • Equipment:
  • 2 or 3 quart saucepan, with lid
  1. Place the sprouts, salt and water in a saucepan, until completely submerged. Add more water if needed.
  2. Cover the pan and boil sprouts gently, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crisp tender.
  3. Drain and season with butter pepper. Serve while hot.

Steaming them

Steaming makes them tender but not overcooked, waterlogged or soggy. This is a preferred way if you don’t want to use oil or butter. However, I must note that cooking them in oil/butter makes their valuable minerals more bio-available.

I use a steaming basket when I want to steam them, or place them directly in a pan with water.

  1. Direct Steaming Method:
  2. Fill the pan with a half-inch of salt water and let boil.
  3. Add the sprouts, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let cook for five minutes or until sprouts have become tender to the bite or the water has evaporated.
  4. OR using a Steamer Basket:
  5. Place an inch of water in a pan and let boil.
  6. Place the sprouts in a steamer basket and place over the boiling water. Let steam for five minutes or until tender to the bite.

Oven-roasted Brussels sprouts

Mercola adds: “a great ingredient that will add a depth of flavor to oven-roasted Brussels sprouts is balsamic vinegar.” See also my version (below) of his Balsamic Drizzled Brussels Sprouts recipe (1b), which is a variation of oven-roasting.

  • Brussels sprouts, prepped and halved or quartered
  • Coconut oil
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • Herbs and spices (optional) 
  • Pine nuts or almonds (optional)
  • Cheese of choice (optional
  • Equipment:
  • bowl
  • roasting pan
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Toss prepped sprouts with salt, pepper and coconut oil, and any herbs or spices you might like. Make sure the vegetables are thoroughly but thinly coated so they will not dry out.
  3. Place the sprouts in a roasting pan, in a single layer and into the oven. Let cook for 35 to 40 minutes until they are nicely browned. Halfway through cooking, stir them. You can also add in pine nuts, cheese or almonds.
  4. Serve and enjoy.

Balsamic-drizzed, oven-roasted Brussels sprouts

This version of the above recipe is from a different Mercola article (1b). The photo on that page is mouthwatering.

  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Large pinch (about 1/16 tsp) Himalayan or other unrefined sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp filtered water (optional)
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, or to taste
  • Equipment:
  • large, rimmed baking sheet or large shallow casserole dish
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. On a large rimmed baking sheet or in a large casserole dish, toss the Brussels sprouts with oil, garlic, salt and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper.
  2. Roast until tender and slightly golden, approximately 25 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Testing the Balsamic-Brussels sprouts recipe, 2/25/18: I made this recipe to accompany a grilled steak with  mushroom, gorgonzola and mushroom sauce. The Brussels sprouts were delicious and a good accompaniment for the steak. However, because they were small, I didn’t cut them in half; next time, I’ll cut them in half, and add just a tad of water to the pan, as they got a little too dry. I’ve updated the recipe accordingly.

Grilled Brussels sprouts

  • 16 oz of Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 Tbsp raw, real butter, preferably from pasture-raised cows, melted
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • pinch of unrefined sea salt
  • 1 lime, halved
  1. Brush butter over the sprouts and season with pepper, garlic powder and salt.
  2. Place the sprouts on the preheated grill and let cook until tender, and have grill marks. This would take about 10 minutes.
  3. Before removing from the grill, squeeze lime juice over the sprouts. Serve while hot.

 

References:

  1. Mercola: 1a.  recipes.mercola.com/how-to-cook-brussels-sprouts.aspx 1brecipes.mercola.com/balsamic-drizzled-brussels-sprouts-recipe.aspx
  2. Science Daily, October 25, 2017 (sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171025090237.htm)
  3. Epicurious, February 1999 (epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pan-browned-brussels-sprouts-100868)

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