These recipes with brussels sprouts will blow you away! Whether you love them roasted, smashed, shredded, sautéed, or air fried, you will love this list of the BEST Brussels Sprouts Recipes!
What are Brussels Sprouts and why should I eat them?
Brussels sprouts are in the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale (the Brassica oleracea species). While they’re at their best between August and March, they’re often available in grocery stores all year round. They’re very hearty and can withstand shredding, stir fries, and very high temperatures. You’ll get the best flavor when using dry cooking methods like roasting, sautéing, and air frying.
Brussels sprouts can have a bit of a bitter taste (which is no surprise given the other foods in its family). They pack a huge nutritional punch — A 100 g serving gives you more than your daily recommended dose of vitamins C and K while only having 43 calories and 5 net carbs (9 grams of carbohydrates – 4 grams of fiber). Sprouts are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients that are believed to help promote healthy cell growth and reduce chronic inflammation that can lead to other health issues!
How do you prepare brussels sprouts for cooking?
Brussels sprouts look like mini cabbages, and they require just a little prepping to get the best taste and texture. First you want to trim the base of the sprouts to just below where the leaves are attached. If you trim too much, all of the leaves will separate and fall off. If you don’t trim enough, each bite of sprouts will include a very tough stem. A paring knife is easiest for this task.
Next, you want to remove any loose or yellowing leaves. If the outer leaves already look like they’re drying out, you want to leave these out of your recipe. Discard loose, thin leaves as these will likely burn before the remainder of the sprouts are cooked through.
Finally, you have to decide if you are cooking the sprouts whole or sliced. Small brussels sprouts can cook whole without any problem, but the larger they are, the more difficult this can be. If you prefer them less bitter, I recommend slicing them in half so that more of that bitter taste in the center can be cooked out.
Raw, untrimmed brussels sprouts can last up to 2 weeks while trimmed and sliced brussels sprouts will last up to 3 days in an airtight plastic bag in the fridge. To freeze brussels sprouts, trim them and then parboil for 4 minutes before plunging into an ice bath. Dry brussels sprouts very well, then spread out on a plate or baking sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours. Finally, transfer to a freezer-safe container and enjoy within 10 months.
Common Brussels Sprouts Problems
You may not like brussels sprouts simply because you’ve not had them at their best! By choosing the right sprouts and the right cooking method, you can avoid many of the classic complaints.
Why are sprouts bitter?
Brussels sprouts have a reputation for tasting bitter, and this comes from their self-defense compounds called glucosinolates. These compounds protect the vegetable from insects, slugs, and even birds. They’re also responsible for a lot of healthy benefits of sprouts like antioxidants and cancer fighting properties.
Over the last several decades, many farmers have been producing more and more mild varieties. If you’re enjoying the flavor of brussels sprouts more now, it may be because they actually are grown specifically to taste better!
There are a few tricks to getting a milder taste from any brussels sprout, no matter what variety you’ve picked up from the store. Slicing or smashing sprouts so that the center of the sprout is exposed allows much of that bitter taste to cook out, leaving you with a delicious savory flavor with some hints of sweetness. Choosing smaller (1-1 1/2 inch in diameter), vibrantly green brussels sprouts with tight leaves will help as well — The larger, looser leaf sprouts tend to taste more bitter. Avoid any that are yellowing or beginning to brown as well.
How do you prevent brussels sprouts becoming mushy?
If you remember having mushy, gross brussels sprouts as a kid, it makes complete sense why you’d avoid them later. Steaming and boiling brussels sprouts became popular for a time because these two cooking methods are so healthy. However, those two methods are not good for sprouts!
Boiling and steaming are very wet forms of cooking, and the increase in moisture leads to the sprouts becoming super soft. It also makes it super easy to overcook them, leading to a very strong (often described as “disgusting”) scent. Avoiding this is so easy — Just stop boiling or steaming your brussels sprouts! Instead, opt for dryer cooking methods like oven roasting and air frying.
Why are my sprouts still hard after cooking?
While having too much moisture during cooking can ruin your brussels sprouts, so can having too little moisture. If you’ve roasted, seared, or air fried your brussels sprouts only to find that they are still hard, you likely didn’t have enough oil. As brussels sprouts cook in the oven or air fryer, the tender leaves can easily dehydrate if they’re not given any oil to soak up.
To achieve perfectly tender brussels sprouts, make sure to add an adequate amount of oil. There should be just enough that there’s a “shine” on the sprouts, and it should be able to seep into the layers if your sprouts are cut. This provides enough moisture to allow the sprouts to soften but not enough that they will become mushy.