Easy (and Delicious) Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
If the very words "Brussels sprouts" had you wrinkling your nose and tempted you to avoid reading further, this message is for you.
Yes, that's right. I'm here to tell you that there is hope for anyone who hates all-things-green but wishes he could make peace with these delightful, nutrient-rich treats. I just have a few questions before I begin to convince you to try these mini-cabbages (as I like to think of them).
Question 1: When was the last time you tried Brussels sprouts? As it turns out, kids have way more bitter taste receptors than adults. And -- let's be honest -- Brussels sprouts are bitter. Buuut tastes do change. Individual taste cells turn over every 10 days, and an entire new taste bud is born every 2 weeks! Don't like a food? Try it again in a month!
Question 2: How was the last Brussels sprout you tried cooked? If your answer is either "steamed" or "boiled," then this recipes is about to rock your world. The cooking method used makes a huge difference on how your food tastes. Sautéing, roasting or grilling vegetables is the best way to cut the the bitterness and enhance the flavor. It happens with a little food science: at high heat, two beautiful chemical reactions take place -- Maillard browning and carmelization. These browning reactions convert some of the starches and protein in the vegetable into sugar, thus making the flavor richer, sweeter, and all-around better.
So, if it's been a while since you've tried Brussels' best, keep an open mind and consider adding these to your next meal!
Brussels sprouts are one of my back-up vegetables. I always keep a couple packages of frozen sprouts on hand for times that I need an easy veggie to make a quick dinner. When I cook, I make dinner for my husband and myself, plus enough for leftovers for each of us the next day. Two packages (12-oz each) of frozen sprouts is enough for two of us for two meals (gotta make half your plate full of veggies!).
I will say -- fresh Brussels sprouts are better. They are more crunchy from the start and when you buy them fresh, you have the chance to pick out smaller, younger sprouts, which tend to be less bitter. So, if you (or your kids) are really averse to Brussels sprouts, you might try fresh ones -- that is, if you can find the small, young ones in the store. Not all sprouts are created equal.
Add two tablespoons of canola oil to a sauté pan and heat until shimmering. Add your two packages of frozen Brussels sprouts -- no need to thaw! -- to the pan.
Sprinkle a half teaspoon of coarsely ground salt over your sprouts and stir to coat. I prefer coarsely ground salt when I sauté or roast my vegetables; I find that the bigger chunks of salt give a tasty "pop!" of flavor.
As a side note, I am not partial to sea salt (it's really not any healthier than regular table salt, but that's another topic for another day). It just happened to be the cheapest type of coursely ground salt I found at the store that day.
Cook Brussels sprouts gradually over medium to medium-high heat and stir every five to 10 minutes to make sure they don't burn, but are nicely browned on all sides.
Check your sprouts after about 30 minutes. They should be soft enough to poke with a fork and their leaves should be slightly brown.
Voilà! Hello, delicious Brussels sprouts!
You can experiment with how well you like your sprouts cooked. If you use raw Brussels sprouts, you'll find them to be a little more crunchy to begin with (like the texture of raw cabbage). Frozen sprouts will be more tender from the start. Just make sure you don't let your Brussels sprouts become too mushy!
I served mine with venison burgers topped with cheddar cheese and a side of whole-wheat spaghetti with olive oil and parmesan cheese. Simple, balanced, delicious. Enjoy!
Easy (and Delicious) Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
2 (12 oz) packages frozen Brussels sprouts
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground salt
Add two tablespoons of canola oil to a sauté pan and heat until shimmering.
Add two packages of Brussels sprouts (okay to leave frozen). Sprinkle salt over sprouts and toss to coat evenly.
Cook Brussels sprouts over medium to medium-high heat, stirring every 5-10 minutes, for about 30 minutes. Sprouts should be soft enough to poke with a fork and leaves should be slightly brown.
Serves 6 - Serving Size: 1 cup - Nutrients per serving: 101 calories -- 5g total fat -- 0g saturated fat -- 0mg cholesterol -- 210mg sodium -- 11g total carbohydrates -- 4g fiber -- 4g protein