I don't understand why Brussels sprouts get such a bad rap: they are delicious if you cook them right! The trick: roast them (with plenty of healthy fat), don't steam or boil them. And did you know that you can make chips from the tough outer leaves? Major bonus! 1 lb of Brussels sprouts = 1 big side dish + 1 yummy appetizer or snack. Get the recipe for making chips here. I think Brussels sprouts chips blow kale chips out of the water. They are SO good!
Brussels sprouts, like other cruciferous vegetables, provide us with some serious nutrition. Eating just 100g (about 5 sprouts) gives you 175% of you daily vitamin K (phylloquinon - K1) and 103% of your daily vitamin C. In addition to being a very good source of those vitamins, Brussels sprouts are also an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, folate, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber and a good source of thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper (source).
Crucifers get their distinctive pungent aromas and bitter flavors in part due to sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates. Chopping, chewing, and digestion render glucosinolates into the biologically active compounds indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates, and these have been the subject of quite a number of scientific studies with regard to their chemopreventive (anti-cancer) benefits. Indoles and isothiocyanates in particular have been shown in animal studies to inhibit a wide range of cancers, including esophageal, lung, bladder, breast, liver, stomach, and colon and some human trials show possible benefit for lung, colorectal, prostate, and breast cancers. According to Cancer.gov, possible mechanisms to explain these effects include:
- protection of cells from DNA damage
- inactivation of carcinogens
- antiviral and antibacterial effects
- anti-inflammatory effects
- inducing apoptosis in cancer cells (programmed cell death)
- preventing tumor angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth) and metastasis
If you are interested to learn more, please read the following articles:
- The Linus Pauling Institute's Micronutrient Information Center: Cruciferous Vegetables
- The National Cancer Institute's Fact Sheet on Cruciferous Vegetables
- The World's Healthiest Foods: Brussels sprouts
Enough science, let's get to the recipe! As usual, the printable version is at the end of the post.
Start by preheating your oven to 375F. Then, rinse your Brussels sprouts and let them drain.
Next, peel off the tough, dark green, outer leaves. There are between 2-4 leaves to peel from each sprout. Save the leaves to make chips later (here's my recipe). These outer leaves take longer to cook than the rest of the sprout, so it's a good idea to remove them for even cooking.
Cut the hard stem off of the base of each sprout and cut each in half lengthwise.
Place sprouts in a single layer in a baking dish and coat with fat of choice (I used responsibly harvested red palm oil -- one of my favorite fats! --- ghee, coconut oil, lard, bacon grease, or tallow all work well, too).
Roast for 25-35 minutes, flipping each sprout about halfway through. The sprouts will be slightly browned and easily pierced with a fork when done. Add fresh black pepper and salt to taste and enjoy these beauties!
Simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25-35 minutes
Total time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 2 Tbsp fat of choice (ghee, lard, tallow, bacon grease, red palm oil, or coconut oil)
- unrefined salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Rinse Brussels sprouts and drain.
- Peel tough, dark green, outer leaves from each sprout (about 2-4 per sprout). Save in a covered container in the refrigerator to make chips from the leaves (recipe).
- Cut the hard stem from the bottom of each sprout and slice each in half lengthwise.
- Gently coat each sprout half with fat of choice and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish.
- Roast for 25-35 minutes, turning sprouts over about halfway through.
- Sprouts are done when slightly browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper and unrefined salt and enjoy!
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