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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 22, 2014

Brussels sprouts: The most hated vegetable in America

By DEE SANDQUIST, Hy-Vee Dietitian | Mar 13, 2014

According to a 2008 research study by Heinz, Brussels sprouts are the most-hated vegetable in America.  Brussels sprouts are one of the most powerful foods in fighting disease and providing nutrients and they are one of the tastiest vegetables available.
According to Forbes magazine, Brussels are making a comeback as one of the Top 10 Food Trends for 2014 and for good reason. They are packed with nearly all your daily needs for vitamin K, which is essential for blood clothing and bone health. They are a member of the cruciferous vegetable family and contain cancer-protecting compounds and glucosinolates, which stimulate the body’s natural detoxification system.
As a matter of fact, their total glucosinolate content has been shown to be greater than the amount found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and broccoli.  Brussels are also an excellent source of vitamin C which helps maintain a healthy immune system, and they contain lutein and zeaxathin, two nutrients important for healthy vision.
Chefs and culinary experts will agree that Brussels sprouts are a fun vegetable to experiment with in the kitchen because they are extremely versatile. Try them oven-roasted, steamed, sautéed, candied, boiled, grilled or raw.  Even the frozen varieties are delicious. 
If you’re looking to try Brussels sprouts and want a quick preparation method, we suggest roasting them.  Roasting is a terrific way to prepare vegetables. It’s easy, quick and improves flavor. All vegetables have a small amount of naturally occurring sugar; roasting at high temperature caramelizes those sugars and causes chemical reactions that reduce bitter flavors. If you over-cook some vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, the sulfur compounds (which taste bitter) go through another chemical reaction which causes even more bitter compounds and stinky flavors. Try our Caramelized Brussels Sprouts or Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipes below.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
serves 4
All you need:     
• 12-14 large Brussels sprouts          
• 1 tbsp olive oil              
• 2 cloves garlic, minced            
• pinch sea salt             
• 2 tsp brown sugar                                            
• 1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
• Optional: fresh orange juice, minced fresh ginger
All you do:
1. Slice each Brussels sprout very thinly until you have a mound of feathery Brussels sprout ribbons.
2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high in a large skillet and sauté the garlic for 30 seconds.
3. Add the Brussels sprouts and continue sautéing for another 4-5 minutes, until bright green and tender.
4. Add sea salt and brown sugar and toss together.  Finish by adding toasted nuts. Optional: squeeze a few tablespoons of fresh orange juice over dish or add some minced fresh ginger for some extra heat. 
5. Serve and enjoy.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts        Serves 4
All you need:
• 1 red onion, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
• 6 cups rinsed, drained, halved Brussels sprouts, rinsed, drained and halved
• 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 minced garlic cloves + 2 ½ tablespoons fresh herbs, such as thyme, parsley, oregano)
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon pepper
• 3 tablespoons dry vermouth or dry white wine
• 6 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
• 1-2 tablespoons balsamic glaze,
All you do:
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line two large roasting pans with aluminum foil; spray with non-stick spray. 
2. In a large bowl, toss the onion, Brussels sprouts and carrots with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper. Mix well.  Divide between pans and spread in an even layer so vegetables are not crowded together (they need space for air to circulate and for caramelization to occur).  
3. Sprinkle with the vermouth or dry white wine.  Place in oven and roast the vegetables for 12 minutes. Sprinkle each pan with half the Parmesan and toss gently. Continue roasting until vegetables are well browned, and just fork-tender, about 5-8 minutes longer.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze.  Serve.
*To substitute frozen Brussels sprouts: Microwave three (16-ounce) packages frozen Brussels sprouts in a microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap.  Microwave for three minutes on power six; toss to redistribute. Cover and return to microwave; cook for another two to three minutes on power sixor until thawed. Cut in half and proceed with step two in recipe.
The information is not intended as medical advice.  Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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