by Meghan Bohny
Brussels sprouts –people either love them or hate them, and there seems to be no in between. However, if a little care is taken when preparing these small cabbage-like vegetables, they can add both flavor and nutritional value to any meal! But be careful not to overcook the sprouts. If overcooked, Brussels sprouts release a sulfur-like odor and take on a bitter and sour taste 1.
Brussels sprouts are most commonly served with roasts as part of various holiday feasts, but if you missed that opportunity to try them, do not worry! Brussels sprouts are a cool season biennial meaning they are considered in-season from late September to early March, so there is still plenty of time to give these nutritious vegetables a shot 1,2.
Whether you choose to purchase the stalk or pre-picked and packaged form, these miniature cabbage-like vegetables will add a dose of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and fiber to any meal without adding many calories 3,4,5. For 38 calories, 100% of the RDA for vitamin K, almost 100% of the RDA for vitamin C, and 3 grams of dietary fiber you can eat an entire cup of Brussels sprouts 4,6.
With all of these vitamins and minerals comes a plethora of benefits. Consumption of Brussels sprouts can boost your immune system, which is especially important during the winter months. Additionally, these cabbage-like sprouts can promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation, a common complaint with the rich, holiday comfort foods. They can also prevent neural tube defects in infants and improve the blood’s ability to clot 7. Is it a coincidence that these veggies are in-season and provide the nutrients our bodies need to tackle the winter months?
Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts (recipe courtesy of Ina Garten)
- 1 ½ lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
- 4 oz pancetta or bacon, diced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan.
- Add the pancetta, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the sheet pan and toss with hands before spreading out into a single layer.
- Roast for about 20-30 minutes, until they are tender, lightly browned, and until the pancetta is cooked. Toss once during roasting.
- Remove from oven and toss with balsamic glaze.
- Serve hot.
- Brussels sprouts. New World Encyclopedia Web site. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Brussels_sprout. Published July 6, 2016. Accessed January 1, 2018.
- Eat Brussels sprouts. Eat The Seasons Web site. http://www.eattheseasons.com/Articles/brussels_sprouts.php. Accessed January 1, 2018.
- Key nutrients in fruits and vegetables. Fruit and Veggies More Matters Web site. https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/key-nutrients-in-fruits-and-vegetables. Accessed January 1, 2018.
- Brussels sprouts, raw. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28 Web site. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2879?manu=&fgcd. Updated May 2016. Accessed January 1, 2018.
- Vitamin K. MedlinePlus Web site. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002407.htm. Updated December 21. 2017. Accessed January 1, 2018.
- DRI tables and application reports. USDA National Agriculture Library Web site. https://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/dri-tables-and-application-reports. Accessed January 1, 2018.
- 11 wonderful Brussels sprouts benefits. Organic Facts Web site. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/brussels-sprouts.html. Accessed January 1 2018.