When you hear the word “Brussels sprouts,” you probably don’t have many great memories. You may think of small greens that are overcooked with an incredibly strong smell. Unfortunately, Brussels sprouts have gained infamy among most people.
However, brussels sprouts can be very tasty. The reason they have become so disliked is that many do not know how to prepare them properly. They are often overcooked and under-seasoned, leaving a soggy and smelly veggie. This post dives into how to make Brussels sprouts taste good.
WHAT ARE BRUSSELS SPROUTS & WHAT DO THEY TASTE LIKE?
Brussels sprouts are a vegetable related to cauliflower and kale. They are cruciferous and are usually cooked whole or in half.
The taste of Brussels sprouts depends on how they are cooked. When they are overcooked, brussels sprouts take on a strong bitter taste. When boiled for the proper amount of time, they taste similar to cabbage.
Many people roast Brussels sprouts, which gives the vegetable a lovely sweet, and nutty taste.
TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE BRUSSELS SPROUTS TASTE GOOD
Be mindful of cooking time
The main flavor killer when it comes to Brussels sprouts is overcooking them. Not only does overcooking Brussels sprouts give them a bitter taste, but it makes them have a strong smell. And not a good strong smell! Depending on how big the Brussels sprouts are, you may have to cook them for a longer or shorter period of time. So, it is best to keep an eye on them while cooking.
Most Brussels sprouts take about 20-40 minutes to cook, depending on what cooking method you are using. Pay attention to the recipe and the Brussels sprouts while cooking to make sure they don’t get overcooked. Once you get the cooking time down, feel free to experiment with seasonings and flavorings.
Roast the sprouts
Boiling or steaming Brussels sprouts can be difficult to perfect. Luckily, roasting them is an easy method of cooking Brussels sprouts to perfection. The heat from roasting gives the veggies a lovely caramelized exterior and amplifies their naturally sweet flavors. The outside of the Brussels sprouts gets nice and crispy as well, so the Brussels sprouts are an all-around delight to eat.
To roast Brussels sprouts, cover the greens in oil, salt, and seasonings of your choice. Place them onto a baking sheet and put them in a preheated oven at 400°F. Allow them to bake for about 20 minutes, giving the sprouts a good shake every few minutes. They’ll be ready to serve when the outside of the sprouts turns brown. Top it with cheese, garlic, or other toppings for a delicious side dish.
Once you try roasted Brussels sprouts, you’ll see just how delicious they can be!
Sauté the Brussels sprouts
Similar to roasting, sautéing Brussels sprouts are a wonderful method to make Brussels sprouts taste good. Sautéing helps to caramelize the vegetable and bring out its sweet flavors easier.
The key to sautéing Brussels sprouts is to not have too many Brussels sprouts in the pan at once. Overcrowding will steam the greens rather than caramelize them. So, you’ll get soggy sprouts instead of crispy ones. It also may help to cut the Brussels sprouts in half or quarters for this tip.
To sauté Brussels sprouts, you can do the following steps:
- Heat a skillet on medium-high heat, and add a tablespoon of oil.
- Add in the sprouts and sprinkle sugar and salt on top of them.
- Let them cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once they have turned bright green and have a bit of char, the Brussels sprouts are ready to serve.
- Add any toppings you like, and enjoy!
Add lots of seasoning
Roasting and sautéing Brussels sprouts helps give the veggies a nice flavor, but adding lots of seasonings really takes them to the next level. Experiment with different seasonings to see which you like best, but below is a list of seasonings and toppings that work well with Brussels sprouts.
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Minced Garlic
- Grated Cheese
Cook the Brussels sprouts with fat
Cooking with fat is super important. Fat adds a ton of flavor to whatever you’re cooking and can make veggies like Brussels sprouts taste much better. Using fat to cook sprouts helps cut the bitterness of the veggie and make it more palatable.
You can add fat to the sprouts by cooking them in oil or by cooking them with bacon fat. The bacon fat will give the Brussels sprouts a nice meaty flavor that will make them the star of the dinner table.
Mix in contrasting flavors
They say opposites attract, and that is definitely true in cooking. The best way to combat the bitterness of Brussels sprouts is to mix them with a contrasting taste. By adding a sweet or tangy ingredient, the sprouts won’t taste as bitter. It’s a simple, easy way to balance out the flavors of the Brussels sprouts and make a delicious dish.
Some sweet things you can add are:
- Maple Syrup
- Dried Cranberries
- Fruit Juice
Some sour ingredients you can use are:
- Lemon Juice
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
Cover them with cheese
Sprinkling some freshly roasted Brussels sprouts with grated cheese makes them taste so much better. Depending on the cheese you use, you add fattiness, saltiness, and creaminess to the sprouts. All these flavor notes help distract from the subtle bitterness of Brussels sprouts. There really is nothing a bit of cheese can’t fix! Some great cheeses to pair with sprouts are cheddar, parmesan, ricotta, or goat cheese.
Don’t cook them
Getting the right cooking time on Brussels sprouts can be difficult. The easiest way to deal with this issue is to skip cooking altogether! Rather than cooking Brussels sprouts, shred them thinly and turn them into a salad. Thanks to its similarities to cabbage, you can easily make a Brussels sprout slaw. It will taste great as a side dish or as a topping with sandwiches.
Raw Brussels sprouts slaw is refreshing, creamy, and crunchy. With all the other toppings, you won’t notice the bitterness of the Brussels sprouts at all!
Sprinkle in some bacon
If you have ever ordered sprouts at a restaurant, you have likely seen them paired with bacon. That is because bacon adds a ton of flavor to Brussels sprouts. Each bite is filled with a nice meaty bite that gives the sprouts a nice smoky flavor you can’t get enough of. The fat from the bacon helps bring out the sweet notes of the Brussels sprouts as well. You can never go wrong with a bit of bacon.
Other types of fatty meat can be used to get the same end result. Leaner cuts of meat can be used as well, but they may not give off as much flavor as fattier meats. However, lean meat could be good for those who are trying to watch their fat intake or cholesterol levels.
Roast the Brussels sprouts with other veggies
Sometimes Brussels sprouts taste best when sharing a plate with other veggies. When you combine Brussels sprouts with other tasty vegetables, you can’t taste them as much. The easiest way to do this is to roast Brussels sprouts with other vegetables that are in season. Not only will the Brussels sprouts get nice and caramelized, but all the other vegetables will also be caramelized.
Brussels sprouts are in season during the Fall months, so it is best to pair sprouts with other Fall veggies. Some great options are sweet potato, squash, or pumpkin. These are all sweet, so they will combine well with the subtle bitterness of the Brussels sprouts. It’s an awesome way to add sweetness to the sprouts without adding sugar! If you are trying to eat healthier, then this could be the perfect solution. Experiment with other vegetables to see what you enjoy best.
Use a bit of cream
Whether you roast or sauté the Brussels sprouts, this tip will elevate the sprouts even further. Drizzle a bit of cream or a creamy sauce over the Brussels sprouts to make them absolutely decadent. A hint of cream can add notes of tanginess and richness that will turn the humble sprouts into a luxurious side dish.
You don’t have to drown the Brussels sprouts in cream to make them taste good, but even a tablespoon’s worth can make the sprouts taste better. Feel free to use other types of cream like avocado cream, sriracha cream, or a béchamel to switch up the flavors of the sprouts. This is an awesome tip for picky eaters!
Hide the sprouts!
What better way to eat Brussels sprouts than by hiding them in other foods? You may not enjoy Brussels sprouts on their own, but they can blend quite easily into other recipes. One of the best ways is to mix them into soups and stews. There are plenty of fantastic online recipes to check out, so try combining some sprouts into your next soup.
They can also taste good mixed into a lovely quiche. Baked in with some eggs and other vegetables, you won’t notice the Brussels sprouts hiding inside.
How long do Brussels sprouts last in the fridge?
Storing Brussels sprouts last approximately one week if stored in the refrigerator and 3 days if stored at room temperature. They can last up to 3-4 months frozen.
How to freeze Brussels sprouts
According to The Spruce Eats and HGTV, the most common way to freeze Brussels Sprouts is to blanch them first. Choose firm, compact sprouts from 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Trim and discard the ends and any coarse, yellowed, or damaged outer leaves.
Plunge the blanched sprouts in ice water and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. Spread the cooled and dried Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and freeze for about an hour. After that, transfer them to resealable plastic freezer bags, removing as much air as possible before sealing.