As the leaves start turning orange and the temperatures start dipping, it seems like pumpkins get all the attention. Pumpkins are a fall staple, but they aren’t the only produce in season during fall and winter. Another is brussels sprouts, which are having a bit of a comeback after years of bad press.
Brussels sprouts’ bed rap came from this: Cooking these veggies the “wrong” way can yield some pretty terrible results. Most people think boiled brussels sprouts smell like, um, flatulence. So let’s all agree to stop boiling ‘em, OK?
Instead, stick to sautéeing or roasting brussels sprouts. Both sautéeing and roasting helps to tone down the bitter flavor, as well as enhance the natural sweetness of the little cabbage. That’s because cooking actually destroys some of the bitter compounds in the vegetable, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
You can just add salt and pepper for a really easy side dish, but don’t be afraid to get creative with these flavorful combos:
Sautéed brussels sprouts with apples: Both the sprouts and the diced apples get a nice, caramelized sear, and the apples help sweeten the bitter sprouts. It’s an excellent side dish with pork chops or baked tofu.
Roasted brussels sprouts and grapes: The juice of the grapes complements the earthy, cruciferous brussels sprouts. Roast with raw walnuts for some extra crunch and healthy fats.
Sesame roasted brussels sprouts: This Asian-inspired side dish gets big flavor from sesame oil and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. It’s the perfect side dish with salmon, like this recipe for ginger-soy salmon.
Agave and Sriracha roasted brussels sprouts: Here’s one for the sweet-and-spicy fans. Just go light on the agave to reduce your intake of added sugars.
Balsamic roasted brussels sprouts: A good-quality vinegar can tame the bitterness of these little cabbages. It’s worth investing in a balsamic vinegar you truly like the taste of, since “bottom shelf” vinegar can taste unpleasantly sour to some people.
Sautéed brussels sprouts with apple cider vinaigrette: Dress your sprouts in a vinaigrette to give it a garlicky, tangy, zesty flavor. To enhance the apple theme, try adding chopped apple to the pan with the sprouts.
Roasted brussels sprouts and butternut squash with cranberries: Brussels sprouts are a staple of Thanksgiving, so why not combine them with other Thanksgiving foods? It makes a great side dish for autumn potlucks.
Cinnamon and maple sautéed brussels sprouts with cranberries and walnuts: For a more adventurous Thanksgiving-themed side dish, give cinnamon a chance. It may sound crazy, but the combo of cinnamon and maple on brussels sprouts *really* works. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.
Roasted lemon brussels sprouts with parmesan: Tangy parmesan is one of the most popular toppings for brussels sprouts. While cheese is often a big source of saturated fat in the Standard American Diet, parmesan can be a healthier choice: It has such a potent flavor that a little goes a long way. (Here are other healthy ways to get your cheese fix.)
Shredded brussels sprout salad with citrus vinaigrette: Instead of halving your brussels sprouts, shred them. Shredded brussels sprouts make a great salad base, in case you’re getting bored of spinach or kale. Using a citrus vinaigrette both brightens and sweetens the flavor of the brussels sprouts.
Oh, and if you really want to step away from the boiled brussels sprouts of your past, try brussels sprouts chips. Roasting the leaves of brussels sprouts makes them crispy, salty, and snack-tastic, similar to kale chips. Find out how to make brussels sprouts chips here.