Little Red has been asking me for weeks and weeks to cook Brussels sprouts for her. Evidently they have featured on an episode of Peppa Pig. Or she’s drunk. Either way, I seized the opportunity to bring them into the family home at the start of winter and I haven’t looked back. (I have looked in the bin though, because that’s where the children – including an entirely disenchanted Little Red – keep depositing theirs. And my husband. Do you see what I’m working with here?!)
I love Brussels sprouts. Am I a freak? Maybe, but I’m a healthy freak and you should try them. We’re not talking those boiled up cabbagey pieces of sponge your mother used to feed you with your weekly lump of liver when you were a kid. I’m not that mean. But you can do great things with Brussels sprouts and you should.
Because the humble Brussels sprout is one of the healthiest foods around. They:
- can lower your cholesterol (especially if you lightly steam them)
- can help protect against endometrial, prostate and colon cancer (because they contain glucosinolates: glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiian. Glucosinolates are important phytonutrients for our health because they are the chemical starting points for a variety of cancer-protective substances.)
- contain crazy amounts of vitamin C – which takes care of those pesky free radicals (damn you, free radicals – when will you just conform like the rest of us!?), and vitamin K which is great for your brain and can delay the onset of Alzheimers Disease. Cool.
- contain Zea-xanthin, which can protect you against retinal damage
- contain loads of folate for those of us who are mad enough to still be having babies.
For more awesome benefits of eating Brussels sprouts, check out http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/brussel-sprouts.html
So really, the message here is that you should eat Brussels sprouts or you might die. Oh, not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.
How to cook Brussels sprouts
The most important thing to remember is not to overcook your little friend. That’s when it emits that ghastly sulphurish stench that has led to my husband refusing to let one pass his lips. He blames boarding school. I blame his inner petulant teenager who just won’t let it go.
My favourite way to eat them is in a breakfast hash. I add a little bit of olive oil to a hot pan and fry off some garlic, chorizo, Brussels sprouts, and Swiss brown mushrooms. Add a splash of tamari and some chilli flakes if you’re feeling wild. Then just stir that sucker around for a few minutes until the mushrooms and sprouts start to soften – but before they get gross and whiffy!
Add some avocado and spinach leaves and give it a stir, then make a couple of holes to crack some eggs into. Fry until the yolks are as you like them. I think it works best when they’re pretty runny, but that’s the kind of girl I am.
You can find other great recipe ideas here:
Brussels sprout, grated egg, red onion and bacon salad (I’ll admit, I’m sceptical on anything that champions the grated egg, but it’s by Not Quite Nigella and I trust her so…)
Or check out the Guardian’s 10 best Brussels sprouts recipes. I am including this one purely for the Brussels sprouts with anchovy butter recipe. This excites me beyond what is natural. “Anchovy” and “butter” are two of my favourite words.
Do you love a good sprout? What’s your favourite way to cook them?