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What is good to put on brussel sprouts?

Brussels sprouts are a highly nutritious vegetable that can be prepared in many delicious ways. When looking for ingredients to pair with brussels sprouts, there are many great options that complement their flavor profile wonderfully. In the opening paragraphs, we’ll provide a quick overview of some of the best things to put on brussels sprouts.

Balsamic Vinegar

One of the most popular and delicious ways to dress up brussels sprouts is with a high-quality aged balsamic vinegar. The sweet, tangy flavor of balsamic vinegar balances beautifully with the earthy, slightly bitter taste of brussels sprouts. Simply drizzle some good balsamic over roasted or sauteed brussels sprouts just before serving. The vinegar will lightly glaze the sprouts, adding flavor depth and complexity.

Bacon

It’s hard to go wrong pairing brussels sprouts with everyone’s favorite fatty, smoky, salty cured meat – bacon. Chopped bacon adds delicious umami savoriness and crisp texture contrast when cooked together with brussels sprouts. Try roasting halved sprouts and bacon pieces tossed in olive oil until browned and lightly crisped on the edges. The bacon fat in the pan will also lend great flavor as the sprouts roast.

Chestnuts

For a more elegant and seasonal take on brussels sprouts, try roasting and serving them with chestnuts. Peel and roughly chop roasted chestnuts and add them to roasted or sauteed brussels sprouts in the last few minutes of cooking. The chestnuts will lend a sweet, earthy flavor and pleasing crunch. Drizzle with honey or pomegranate molasses for extra seasonal flair.

Lemon

Bright, fresh lemon juice and zest make an excellent match for brussels sprouts’ robust flavor. Try squeezing fresh lemon over shaved raw brussels sprouts for a vibrant slaw salad. Or add lemon zest and juice to hot roasted sprouts – the heat will help release the lemon oils for amazing flavor. Lemon brings out and highlights the sprouts’ fresh, green flavors.

Parmesan

Nutty, salty Parmesan cheese makes a perfect flavor complement to brussels sprouts. Try shaving Parmesan over roasted sprouts just before serving for an Italian-inspired dish. Or top sprout halves with breadcrumbs mixed with Parmesan before roasting. The cheese will melt and caramelize on the sprouts for delicious flavor and texture contrast. Parmesan adds savoriness and depth to brussels sprouts.

Honey

Sweet honey is a great match for bitter brussels sprouts. Drizzle over shaved raw brussels sprouts or roasted warm sprouts. The honey will create a lovely glaze and balance the sprouts’ earthy bitterness with sweetness. For extra flavor, use a boldly flavored honey like wildflower, chestnut, or buckwheat. Honey brings out brussels sprouts’ subtle sweetness.

Pomegranate Seeds

For a festive seasonal twist, add fresh pomegranate seeds, also known as arils, to brussels sprouts. Their sweet-tart juice and crunchy pop of texture pairs excellently with roasted sprouts. Simply roast halved sprouts until caramelized, then toss with pomegranate seeds before serving. Their vibrant red color looks stunning against the sprouts’ green hue. Pomegranate seeds add fruity flavor and visual appeal.

Pancetta

Pancetta is an Italian cured meat similar to bacon that makes a delicious match with brussels sprouts. Chop pancetta and cook until crispy, then add to roasted brussels sprouts. The salty, umami flavor of the pancetta enhances the sprouts’ inherent savoriness. Or wrap each sprout with a thin slice of pancetta before roasting for amazing results. The rendered pancetta fat also adds incredible flavor.

Walnuts

Toasted walnuts pair wonderfully with brussels sprouts for flavor and texture contrast. Roughly chop toasted walnuts and sprinkle over shaved raw or roasted brussels sprouts. You can also toss sprouts with a walnut oil-based vinaigrette for a delicious salad. Walnuts complement brussels sprouts with their earthy crunch and faint bitterness.

Curry Powder

Warm curry powder is an excellent match for brussels sprouts’ robust flavor. Try tossing halved sprouts with olive oil, curry powder, salt and pepper before roasting. The curry adds exotic warmth, intrigue and depth of flavor. Or sprinkle curry powder over shaved raw brussels sprouts for a tasty slaw-style salad. Curry powder brings out brussels sprouts’ savory qualities.

Dried Cranberries

For a festive flair, add dried cranberries to brussels sprouts. Their sweet tartness balances beautifully with sprouts’ bitterness. Toss roasted sprouts with dried cranberries to liven up the classic Thanksgiving side dish. Or use cranberries in place of raisins in a brussels sprouts slaw salad. Dried cranberries lend festive color and fruity flavor.

Conclusion

Brussels sprouts offer a robust, versatile flavor profile that pairs well with many ingredients. By cooking them with acidic, sweet, salty, nutty or savory flavors, you can bring out their very best qualities. Balsamic, bacon, chestnuts, lemon and Parmesan are just a few classic options. Honey, pomegranate, pancetta, walnuts, curry and cranberries also make creative combinations.

Experiment with different add-ins to find your favorite way of serving delicious, healthy and satisfying brussels sprouts.

Nutrition Info Per Serving of Brussels Sprouts

Here is a table summarizing the nutrition information for a 1/2 cup serving of cooked brussels sprouts (about 78g):

Nutrient Amount
Calories 28
Protein 2g
Carbohydrates 6g
Fiber 2g
Fat 0g
Vitamin C 48mg
Vitamin K 95μg
Folate 47μg
Potassium 229mg

As you can see, brussels sprouts are low in calories and fat, yet packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. This makes them a nutritious addition to a balanced diet.

Selecting Fresh Brussels Sprouts

When shopping for brussels sprouts, look for sprouts that are:

  • Bright green in color
  • Compact and firm to the touch
  • Tightly closed with no yellowing leaves
  • Free of brown spots or wilting
  • Around 1-1.5 inches in diameter for best flavor

Smaller sprouts tend to be sweeter and more tender compared to larger sprouts. Avoid any sprouts that are yellowing, cracked or soft.

Storing Brussels Sprouts

To store fresh brussels sprouts:

  • Leave loose sprouts on the stalk if possible, or trim off any damaged outer leaves
  • Place sprouts in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator
  • Wash just before using
  • Use within 3-5 days for best quality

Keeping sprouts on the stalk helps preserve freshness. Stored properly in the fridge, they will remain fresh for several days.

Preparing Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts require very minimal preparation before cooking. Simply:

  • Rinse sprouts under cool water
  • Trim the brown ends of the stems
  • Remove any loose or discolored outer leaves
  • Cut larger sprouts in half vertically through the stem

This readies the brussels sprouts for any cooking method without over-handling them. Leave smaller sprouts whole for better texture.

Cooking Methods for Brussels Sprouts

Some popular cooking methods for brussels sprouts include:

  • Roasting – This caramelizes their flavor at high heat. Toss halved sprouts in oil, season, and roast at 400°F for 35-40 minutes.
  • Sauteing – Cook over medium-high heat in oil or butter until tender-crisp. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, shallots, etc.
  • Steaming – Steam whole sprouts over boiling water for 5-6 minutes until bright green.
  • Braising – Simmer sprouts in broth until very tender. They soak up the delicious flavors.
  • Grilling – Grilled sprouts develop a delicious char. Toss in oil and grill in a basket for 15-20 minutes.

Roasting, braising, sauteing and grilling all bring out the best in brussels sprouts. Experiment to find your favorites!

Tips for Preventing Overcooked Sprouts

It’s easy to overcook brussels sprouts, making them soft and bitter. Follow these tips for perfectly cooked sprouts every time:

  • Don’t overcrowd the pan when sauteing or roasting
  • Cut sprouts to uniform size for even cooking
  • Use high heat to caramelize and develop flavor
  • Cook just until fork tender with a bite left
  • For boiled sprouts, shock in ice bath to stop cooking
  • For roasted sprouts, avoid charring the edges black

Properly cooked brussels sprouts are tender on the inside while still retaining their shape and a slight bite. They should never be mushy or soft all the way through.

Recipe Ideas for Brussels Sprouts

Here are just a few delicious recipe ideas for enjoying brussels sprouts:

  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Parmesan
  • Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Lemon Dressing
  • Brussels Sprouts Fried Rice with Bacon
  • Creamy Braised Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts
  • Brussels Sprout Fritters with Curry Aioli Dip
  • Grilled Brussels Sprouts and Apple Skewers

With so many options for flavors and cooking techniques, brussels sprouts make a tasty addition to any meal. Let your imagination run wild!

Serving Suggestions for Brussels Sprouts

Here are some delicious ways to serve cooked brussels sprouts:

  • As a side dish to roasted or grilled meats like pork, chicken, or steak
  • In salads, grain bowls, soups, pastas, frittatas or omelets
  • Topped on flatbreads, nachos or pizza
  • In sandwiches, wraps, tacos or burritos
  • Over creamy polenta, mashed potatoes or risotto
  • Stirred into risottos, frittatas, quiches and stratas

With their versatile flavor, brussels sprouts pair wonderfully with cheese, eggs, grains, meat and more. They make a nutritious addition to so many dishes.

Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

Some of the many health benefits provided by brussels sprouts include:

  • High in antioxidants like kaempferol to reduce inflammation
  • Packed with vitamin C and vitamin K for immune function
  • Great source of folate, manganese and potassium
  • Fiber aids digestion and gut health
  • Contain compounds that may lower cancer risk
  • Nutrients like vitamin C boost iron absorption
  • Low calorie and low carb while very filling
  • May support heart health by lowering LDL cholesterol

With their stellar nutrient profile, brussels sprouts provide so many benefits. They are one of the healthiest veggies you can eat!

Conclusion

Brussels sprouts offer many virtues – they are nutritious, delicious, versatile in the kitchen and pair well with a wide variety of ingredients. Balsamic vinegar, bacon, nuts, cheese, lemon, and other savory add-ins bring out brussels sprouts’ very best qualities. Roast, saute, braise or grill for optimal flavor and texture.

Served as a side or incorporated creatively into main and side dishes, brussels sprouts make a healthy, tasty addition to any meal. Their many health benefits, ease of preparation and culinary versatility make brussels sprouts a vegetable worth enjoying regularly.