Monday, February 23, 2009

In Defense of Brussels Sprouts

Growing up, I always associated brussels sprouts with repulsive, tasteless, overcooked mini-green cabbages that were force-fed to all the naughty little children deserving of the most severe punishments. These soggy blobs epitomized grossness and represented everything that the Cookie Monster did not. So when I decided to taste brussels sprouts for the first time last year, a daring endeavor on my behalf, I was pleasantly surprised that they were not only tolerable, but . . . dare I say it . . . actually quite delicious. I now eat them regularly, sometimes as a side dish but often just as a snack.

brussels sprouts are very healthy and, despite what many may think, can be delicious as well
photo by Dana Robinson

After the taste of brussels sprouts corroded my long-regarded impression, I decided to research whether they were actually as healthy as I previously assumed. I found that these cruciferous vegetables, sharing the same family as cabbage, collared greens, and broccoli, lived up to their mighty reputation. They are infused with countless cancer-fighting agents. With more Vitamin C than oranges, these sprouts help sustain your immune system, and the Vitamin A nurtures healthy, glowing skin. Brussels Sprouts also contain an ample supply of fiber and protein, which curb your hunger and keeps you satiated for extended periods of time. They are also believed to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and defend the body against infection.

With all these health benefits, why have we all created such a strong aversion to this vegetable? Part of the reason is due to the unpleasant sulfur odor that is released when overcooked. Also, many people don’t like the taste of plain, over-boiled brussels sprouts. Since overcooking these veggies detracts some of the Vitamin C and other vital nutrients anyways, other cooking methods should be utilized to bring out the savory flavor of the sprouts. By cutting them into halves, spreading them over a greased foiled tray, adding a touch of oil (PAM spray works as well) with some sprinkled salt and pepper, these brussels sprouts can be roasted in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes for a crispy, tasty treat. They can also be cut up, flavored, and stir-fried with your favorite vegetable and/or protein combination (like chicken or tofu).

The time has come to give brussels sprouts another chance; don’t let your childhood reluctance control your palate. Why instill your trust in a garbage-dwelling monster puppet anyway? Take the plunge. Taste a brussels sprout and you may also find yourself addicted to this super-nutritious vegetable.

1 comment:

  1. I have the same childhood dislike of brussels sprouts. Your version sounds so good, I'll pick up a handful next time I'm in the store & give them another try.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe & info! ;o}



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