Nutrition

6 Ways to Cook Brussels Sprouts

If you’re looking for an easy and healthy vegetable side dish, Brussels sprouts have you covered.

These cruciferous veggies — which come from the same family as kale, broccoli, and cabbage — provide nutrients like vitamin C, folate, and fiber.

But unless you know how to cook Brussels sprouts the right way, they can turn out mushy, bitter, and just plain unappetizing.

We’ve rounded up six ways to cook Brussels sprouts to bring out their sweet, nutty flavor and make them oh-so-addictive.

Even picky eaters will be pleased!

How to Clean and Prep Brussels Sprouts

Before cooking, wash your Brussels sprouts with lukewarm water, and remove any yellow or wilted leaves.

Use a knife to trim off the stem ends, but don’t remove too much from the bottom or the outer leaves will fall off.

Brussels sprouts are infamously bitter, but recipes with a bit of sweetness — such as maple-glazed Brussel sprouts — can mask some of the bitterness.

Avoid overcooking these vegetables, especially when boiling, since this can intensify their bitter flavor.

(Each of the cooking methods below will require 1 to 1.5 pounds of Brussels sprouts.)

Oven-roasted Brussels sprouts

How to Cook Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

In the oven, Brussels sprouts develop a fork-tender center and crispy, caramelized outer layer. Roast them whole, or cut them in half to cook faster.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cook for 35 to 45 minutes, shaking the pan at least once midway through to help the sprouts brown evenly.

You might be wondering: Do you have to boil Brussel sprouts before roasting? Nope, no need. If you want to cook your sprouts faster, you can use the microwave to par-cook them for a minute or two before roasting.

How to Cook Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts

If you have an air-fryer, put it use by whipping up a batch of air-fried Brussels sprouts.

  1. Spritz your air fryer basket with cooking spray. Set the air-fryer to 400° F.
  2. Toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add them into the air-fryer basket, making sure they’re not too crowded. If they are, cook them in two batches.
  3. Cook for 10 minutes. Take the air fryer basket out midway and give it a good shake to ensure even cooking.

Pan-fried Brussels sprouts

How to Cook Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts

It’s possible to achieve mouthwatering Brussels sprouts — like these blistered Brussels sprouts — on the stovetop as well. We recommend using a large, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet for the best results.

  1. Cut Brussels sprouts in half.
  2. Heat a skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Once melted, reduce the heat to medium.
  3. Add your sprouts to the skillet in a single layer and cut-side down to maximize surface area for browning. Let them sit undisturbed until brown, about 8 minutes.
  4. Use a spatula to flip your sprouts. Cook for another 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice as desired. Repeat for a second batch if needed.

How to Use Raw Brussels Sprouts

Shaved raw Brussels sprouts can be a great salad base — they taste similar to cabbage and hold up well for hours without going soggy.

  1. Shave Brussels sprouts with a sharp knife, or use a food processor to chop them.
  2. Make your dressing by combining ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey and 3 tablespoons of any acid you have on hand (lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar).
  3. Mix the shaved sprouts with the dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add toppings. Some great options include dried cranberries; chopped apples; nuts (pecan, almond) or seeds (pumpkin, sunflower); or 3 Tbsp. shredded cheese. Toss and serve.

How to Grill Brussels Sprouts

Grilled Brussels sprouts are a wonderful side dish to serve at any barbecue party.

You’ll need some skewers to make grilled sprouts unless you enjoy chasing them around the grill!

  1. Heat your grill to medium.
  2. Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl and microwave on high for 3 minutes.
  3. Season with olive oil, salt, pepper and other herbs and spices of your choice.
  4. Thread Brussels sprouts through a skewer.
  5. Add skewers onto the grill and cook for 5 minutes covered. Flip over and cook for another 5 minutes or until done.

How to Steam Brussels Sprouts

Steaming is a simple and healthy way to cook Brussels sprouts. Add toppings or a glaze to the steamed sprouts, or just enjoy them plain.

  1. Place a steamer basket in a saucepan and add an inch of water. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Place Brussels sprouts in the steamer basket and cover saucepan with lid.
  3. Steam Brussels sprouts until they’re fork-tender (typically around 5 minutes).

How to Level Up Your Brussels Sprouts

Want to make your Brussels sprouts even tastier?

Here are a few ways to dress them up:

  • Add garlic, balsamic vinegar, or lemon zest before you roast, air-fry, or pan-sear your Brussels sprouts.
  • After cooking, top Brussels sprouts with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese or a bit of chopped nuts or chopped bacon (in moderation).
  • Try this maple and turkey bacon-wrapped Brussels sprouts recipe.

Want more expert nutrition advice? Check out BODNutrition.com and learn how Beachbody nutrition programs and products can help you lead a healthier lifestyle.

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