Healthy New Year’s Resolution: Eat Your Brussels Sprouts

Every year I make some healthy New Year’s resolutions: such as eat more vegetables. I got off to a good start when my mother-in-law came to visit. She raved about a Brussels sprouts recipe–the best she’d ever eaten–and bought me two pounds fresh Brussels sprouts at Cosco’s to make the point.

Fresh Brussels Sprouts - IMG_1680_1

In the Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe, the sprouts are tossed in olive oil and seasonings and roasted in the oven until tender. The cooked vegetable is seasoned and delicious! Two pounds is alot of Brussels sprouts but they were hard to resist.

Brussels sprouts is an interesting vegetable. They are small buds that grow on an upright stalk between the leaves–the leaves have been cut off in this photo. Here are fresh Brussels sprouts for sale at the Rochester, New York, farmer’s market in October.

Brussels Sprouts farmers market - 2 - IMG_8096

Health Benefits

The Brussels sprout is a very healthy vegetable. Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable of the family of Brassicaceae; the same family of vegetables as cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower. These cruciferous vegetables are high in sulfur compounds which gives the strong taste as they cook.

Brussels sprouts are very high in phytochemicals which are being studied for cancer prevention qualities. These are the largely related to four specific glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts. In fact, Brussels sprouts are higher in these phytochemicals than most other vegetables in the cabbage family according to “The Worlds Healthiest Foods” web site. The cancer protection of Brussels sprouts seem to be related to effects on stability of DNA and anti-inflammatory effects.

Although Brussels sprouts have not been studied individually, a recent research study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that women who ate more foods from the cruciferous group had lower circulating levels of inflammatory factors in their blood stream. The research studies these days have become very sophisticated with ability to measure trace levels of factors in the blood stream.

Brussels sprouts are good sources of many vitamins including Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folic acid, Vitamin B6, many minerals and soluble fiber

Brussels sprouts are good source of soluble fiber. This gives a lowering effect on cholesterol through ability to bind bile salts. Steamed and cooked Brussels sprouts are better for this effect than raw ones.

Be careful if you are taking anticoagulants such as warfarin(Coumadin). The high Vitamin K content of Brussels sprouts can interact with the warfarin in your stomach and prevent its absorption into the blood stream which then results in lower levels of the anticoagulant in your body.

Making the Recipe

Here are most of the ingredients (pepper is missing) for the recipe. The recipe is a simple one to make. Mix everything together, spread on a baking sheet and roast in a hot oven until tender.

Ingredients for Roasted Brussels Sprouts - IMG_1683_1

I made several ingredient substitutions. The original recipe calls for the Italian bacon, pancetta. My mother-in-law substituted a little chicken and beef bouillon for seasoning. She likes the crystal bouillon; the cubes, crushed, worked well. I did not have a shallot so used a red onion.

The Brussels sprouts are roasted in a hot (425) degree oven for 20-30 minutes until they just begin to char. These are roasted for 30 minutes (a little too long–I got sidetracked). Spreading parchment paper on the baking sheet made for easy clean up.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts - 2 - IMG_1686_1

Favorite Kitchen Gadget: Herb Stripper

This recipe gave me the chance to use one of the handy kitchen gadgets I’d received as a gift over the holidays: a Herb Stripper. It works great for getting the leaves off the stems of herbs such as thyme and rosemary.

Herb Stripper - IMG_1787_1

Recipe

Roasted Brussels Sprouts by Jeanne Samuels

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved vertically
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced (I substituted 1/4 red onion)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp beef bouillon crystals
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or water (optional)
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese, pomegranate seeds, toasted walnuts or pine nuts (optional)

Method and Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in center of oven. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Toss together the Brussels sprouts, olive oil, shallot, garlic, thyme, chicken bouillon, beef bouillon and pepper on a sheet pan until everything is combined and coated with the oil.
  3. Spread the mixture in a single layer and roast until the Brussels sprouts are browned and charred in spots: 20-30 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and stir the wine into the hot pan (optional).
  5. Serve warm with a scattering of Parmesan cheese, pomegranate seeds or toasted nuts.

I was surprised at the wealth of research which points to a strong association of eating cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower–and other similar foods such as bok choy, napa cabbage) and lower incidences of many cancers, cardiovascular diseases and other chronic diseases.

Brussels sprouts are one of the highest in these protective compounds; so plan to eat plenty of Brussels sprouts. And enjoy them, too!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts - IMG_1719_1R_1

Resources

What’s New and Beneficial about Brussels Sprouts.  he World’s Healthiest Foods in © 2001-2015 The George Mateljan Foundation, All Rights Reserved whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=10

Cruciferous vegetables, wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruciferous_vegetables

Brussels Sprout, wikipedia.org/wiki/Brussels_sprout

“Cruciferous Vegetable Intake is Inversely Correlated with Circulating Levels of Proinflammatory Markers in Women” by Yu Jiang and et. al. in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. May 2014.

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