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March Veggie of the Month: Brussels Sprouts

March Veggie of the Month: Brussels Sprouts

Did you know

Brussels sprouts (a mini cabbage look-alike) get their name from Brussels, Belgium.

In the past, Brussels sprouts got a bad wrap. It’s likely they were served overcooked—which can make them a bit mushy and bitter. Luckily, new cooking methods have given them another chance.

Brussels sprouts are a great source of Vitamins A, B, and C, niacin, iron, and calcium. They contain about 30 calories per ½ cup serving. One pound of Brussels sprouts makes about 6 servings, so load your plate with this leafy goodness!

To maximize flavor, broil, steam, braise, or boil Brussels sprouts for a maximum of 7-10 minutes (less if you like your veggies on the crunchy side). Be sure not to exceed this time. If they have lost their bright green color, they may be overcooked and have lost most of their nutritional value.

When oven roasting, sprinkle with olive oil and salt. If the sprouts are larger than 1½ inches in diameter, cut them in half for cooking.

Tips for buying and preserving

  • Purchase sprouts that are bright green and uniform in size to allow for even cooking.
  • Small, firm, compact sprouts are the best choice.
  • To freeze, trim and remove the coarse outer leaves. Wash thoroughly and blanch 3-5 minutes depending on the size. Cool in a bowl of cold water and ice cubes, also referred to as an ice bath. Then drain and package, leaving no head space (meaning release as much air from the package as possible). Seal and freeze.
  • Make sure your sprouts are dry before you freeze. Getting rid of excess moisture will help keep them from getting mushy when thawed and recooked.

Fun fact: Not sure what blanch means? Check out this great 1 minute video on how to blanch vegetables from the American Heart Association.

Oven-roasted Brussels sprouts

  • 1-2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim Brussels sprouts, then wash and pat dry. Place in a large resealable plastic bag with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Seal tightly and shake to coat. Or, toss in a bowl and coat with an even layer of oil.

Pour onto a baking sheet and place on center oven rack. Roast for 20-40 minutes (depending on your preference) stirring frequently to prevent burning. Serve immediately.

Brussels sprouts salad

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-pound Brussels sprouts, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Whisk together the first 4 ingredients. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Place Brussels sprouts, onion, and cranberries in a large bowl. Toss with dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Stir in pecans just before serving.

Learn more with this video from Penn State Extension about how to buy, store, cook, and enjoy Brussels sprouts.

Resources: USDA Snap-Ed, MSU Extension, University of Illinois Extension, Penn State Extension, American Heart Association

Can’t get enough fruits and veggies? Be sure to check out Harvest of the Month, a downloadable educational program designed to make learning about fruits and veggies easy, tasty, and fun!