How To Cook Brussels Sprouts That Taste As Good As They Do In Restaurants

Your prep routine matters.

November 21, 2017
Brussels sprouts nutrition and how to use
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The Brussels sprout is the comeback kid of the veggie world. Thanks to a ~trendy~ resurgence of the fall veggie, we're actually begging for them on our plates. Who woulda thought that we'd actually crave the vegetable that used to be the stuff of childhood nightmares?

"Traditionally, Brussels sprouts are a fall-winter veggie that are going to show up on fall holiday menus," says Diana McClean, director of marketing at Ocean Mist Farms. "That’s when our grandparents are used to eating them." They generally are at their best between September and February. Luckily, thanks to global produce growing and distribution, we can get our hands on them year-round.

Here's everything you need to know about fall's favorite crazy-versatile vegetable.

Brussels sprouts
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How to select brussels sprouts

In the supermarket, look for firm, bright green sprouts. "If a sprout is puffy, it means it's been on the stalk a little too long," says McClean. And to make sure your Brussels sprouts sauté evenly, make sure you choose sprouts that are all about the same size.

Related: Exactly What You Should Eat If You’re Trying To Lose Weight

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How to store brussels sprouts

Once you get them home, keep them away from water, which will just make them decay faster, says McClean. "The best thing for any fresh produce is to store it unwashed in your refrigerator. Put brussels sprouts in a plastic or paper bag to give them a little more cooling protection."

Once in the fridge, a whole brussels sprout will last about a week. If they're shredded, make sure to use within a couple of days.

Use this simple recipe for all of your leftovers after Thanksgiving:

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How to prep brussels sprouts

There are a dozen ways to use Brussels sprouts in the kitchen but they all start with some basic prep. "If you’re starting with a whole Brussels sprout you’ll want to trim a little off the bottom of it," says McClean. "Any veggie that’s cut will darken and seal itself back up, so you’ll want to get rid of that." If some of the outer leaves fall off, that's okay—just toss.

Once you've gotten rid of the tough stuff, you have a few options: roast whole, slice and caramelize, or shred.

"If you’re going to prepare them whole, some chefs have told us to make a little cross mark in the base of the sprout to help it cook more evenly," McClean says. But that's not the only way to roast. "We prefer to cut sprouts in half when roasting or sautéing, to allow caramelization on the cut sides," says Marilyn Seeley, marketing manager at Ippolito International.

Finally, you can also shred them into little leafy bits using a regular kitchen knife or mandolin (just watch your fingers!).

Related: 7 Foods I Prep Each Week To Make Sure I Eat As Healthy As Possible

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How to cook brussels spouts

Brussels sprouts are surprisingly versatile, with chefs using them for side dishes, salads, and even desserts. 

For a salad alternative, top shredded Brussels sprouts with cilantro-avocado dressing and chopped apple. Let it sit overnight in the fridge, and it becomes a fall-friendly coleslaw. "That’s fantastic on its own or on top of a slider," says McClean.

Finely shredded, you can also use them to bake in any recipe where you would traditionally use zucchini—think breads, muffins, or even a baked frittata. This healthy swap adds a bit more texture "and of course more nutrition and a little more flavor," says McClean.

And of course, you can't go wrong with a classic: roasted Brussels sprout halves. "I’ll sauté them until I get a nice sear with an onion or a shallot. Maybe throw in a bell pepper. Then top with a balsamic glaze," McClean says. "That's a fan favorite."

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What is the nutritional value of brussels sprouts?

But in addition to being delicious, Brussels sprouts, a cousin of cabbage, are also super nutritious. "Brussels sprouts are a great source of vitamins C, D, K, B6, B1, folate, potassium, phosphorus, choline, manganese and omega-3 fatty acids," says Seely. They're also high in fiber and low in calories. All the more reason to use them in your cooking this fall!

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The article This Is How To Make Brussels Sprouts That Taste As Good As They Do In Restaurants originally appeared on Women’s Health.