We know what you’re thinking: Grayish-green, mushy, mini cabbages our parents forced us to eat as kids at the dinner table? Not so! Once underestimated, Brussels sprouts have gained popularity and earned a spot on menus at restaurants nationwide.1 Trust us, once you master this foolproof way to enhance the natural flavor profile of Brussels sprouts, you will want to serve them on a regular basis.
Many home chefs routinely resort to steaming or boiling Brussels sprouts, which quickly breaks down the cell walls, whereas other cooking methods cause them to release sulfur compounds, and in part, an unappetizing smell and texture.2 Roasting cruciferous vegetables not only improves taste, but also preserves antioxidants, water soluble vitamins, like vitamin C, and glucosinolates, water soluble compounds linked to reduced risk for cancer.3, 4 The National Cancer Institute recommends the consumption of 5 – 9 servings (2 1/2 – 4 1/2 cups) of fruits and vegetables daily,5 specific recommendations for cruciferous vegetables have not been established yet. However, many studies suggest aiming for weekly servings of cruciferous vegetables would be beneficial for improving health.6, 11, 12
Brussels sprouts are part of the Brassicaceae family, which includes cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, and collard greens. All are excellent sources of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A and folate, as well as fiber, potassium, iron, vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, and thiamin.7 Brussels sprouts are high in sulforaphane, a chemical linked to anticancer properties,8 and were recently reported to improve the behavioral challenges associated with autism.9
This versatile roasted Brussels sprout recipe will teach you the foundation of how to properly roast them, and achieve their delicious flavor profile. However, as you experiment with different variations, consider topping the finished side dish with chopped, fresh parsley or rosemary, freshly ground black pepper, lemon zest, toasted pine nuts or sliced almonds.
Serve roasted Brussels sprouts underneath poached eggs for breakfast, or as a hearty side dish to accompany a roasted turkey breast for your family’s Paleo meal. As richly dense vegetables, they also make for a satisfying snack all by themselves.10
- 3/4 lbs Brussels sprouts (small to medium sized)
- 1 tsp of olive oil
1. Available at: . Accessed on October 14, 2014.
2. Available at: . Accessed on October 14, 2014.
3. Ismail A, Lee WY. Influence of cooking practice on antioxidant properties and phenolic content of selected vegetables. Asia Pacific J. Clinical Nutrition, 13(Suppl.), 2004: S162.
4. McNaughton SA, Marks GC. Development of a food composition database for the estimation of dietary intakes of glucosinolates, the biologically active constituents of cruciferous vegetables. British Journal of Nutrition. 2003;90:687-97.
5. Available at: Accessed on October 14, 2014.
6. Michaud DS, Spiegelman D, Clinton SK, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of bladder cancer in a male prospective cohort. J Natl Cancer Inst.1999;91:60513. [PubMed]
7. Available at: . Accessed on October 14, 2014.
8. Available at: . Accessed on October 14, 2014.
9.Available at: . Accessed on October 14, 2014.
10. Available at: . Accessed on October 14, 2014.
11. Giovannucci E, Rimm EB, Liu Y, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC. A prospective study of cruciferous vegetables and prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2003;12:14 03- 9. [PubMed]
12. Feskanich D, Ziegler RG, Michaud DS, Giovannucci EL, Speizer FE, Willett WC, et al. Prospective study of fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of lung cancer among men and women. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000;92:18 12-23. [PubMed]