Seasonal Eats: 6 Ways to Enjoy Brussels Sprouts

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Brussels Sprout Stalks at the Hollywood Farmer's Market (Heather Parlato/LAist)

Brussels sprouts are a cool weather cultivar of cabbage, though shaped quite differently: a thick, main stalk covered with helical patterns of buds that resemble tiny cabbage heads. They grow in cooler climates, which make them ideal for the winter season in Southern California. Though it is said that their earliest cultivation took place in what is now modern Belgium, hence the name, it's also said that this assertion is lore, and that early cultivations started in ancient Rome. In any case, we have arrived at these tiny cabbages that have stumped home cooks and terrorized children for ages. But occasionally, you can turn the lifelong naysayer into a brussels-sprout-o-phile, which describes my experience.

As with many cruciferous vegetables, brussels sprouts contains sulforaphane, a compound that exhibits anticancer, antidiabetic and antimicrobial properties, and one that is not diminished by cooking. Brussels sprouts are also a good source of Riboflavin, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorous, and a very good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium and Manganese. So, find a way to enjoy them because they're darn good for you!

6 Ways to Enjoy Brussels Sprouts

A simple, healthy sauté that rounds out their natural bitterness with balsamic vinegar: garlicky balsamic brussels sprouts.

Hearty and tasty, if you're a mushroom lover, try this recipe with any of your favorite seasonal or farmed mushrooms: brussels sprouts with shallots and wild mushrooms.

Roast them up in the oil of your choice and use this as the basis for the recipe of your choice, or follow this one to its Vietnamese-style finish: roasted brussels sprouts.

Enjoy them raw as a thin-sliced slaw: shaved brussels sprouts salad with fresh walnuts and pecorino.

Ever considered brussels sprouts for breakfast? Consider this: brussels sprout potato hash.

Store them up for summer or enjoy with other marinated vegetables on an antipasto plate: pickled brussels sprout halves.