Brussels sprouts, once the most dreaded vegetable of children and adults alike, are officially trendy. We are truly fans, and proudly not a bandwagon one — there has never been a time that we did not adore these sweet and nutty baby cabbages. During the fall and winter, when they’re at their prime, most chefs cook them constantly and consumers order them as soon as they are placed back on the menu.
Brussels sprouts are one of the most nutritious items on Earth, with four times as much vitamin C as oranges and high levels of folic acid and fiber. Many consumers have lived their lives despising this powerhouse vegetable because of early exposure to overcooked sprouts. With talented chefs opening consumers’ eyes to the true potential of these little gems, we’re seeing new Brussels sprouts lovers emerge every day.
We know it may seem odd that a vegetable that for so long was used as cruel punishment is now the trendiest of trendy foods but, it is just that. Consumers are absolutely in love with the dish and we do not see the momentum of the vegetable dying down anytime soon.
Here are some of the newest Brussels sprouts dishes causing a stir across the nation.
Roasted whole or halved, chopped and sautéed hash-style, or deep-fried. At the market, look for small, compact sprouts — they’re the most tender.
Bacon is a relatively new friend of the humble Brussels sprout; the two are paired together on many a restaurant menu these days. Look to roast your sprouts with chopped pancetta; or add a Spanish twist with chorizo.
Brussels sprouts are excellent with a little pork (what isn’t?), but they certainly don’t need meat to shine. Nor do they have to be a lowly side dish. They’re the star of this completely vegetarian (vegan, if you leave out the ricotta salata that I grated on top) winter salad, in which they mingle beautifully with their cousin red cabbage.
Though most of our consumers can’t wait for this winter’s end and rejoiced optimistically when the groundhog saw his shadow last week, Brussels sprouts are one (okay, possibly the only) perk of the season. When spring approaches, they won’t be as tasty and tender, so fill up while temps are still chilly.
Remember when possible try to source locally. These vegetables are a labor of love to grow and to cook. They have become a staple dish for so many of us and it is important to appreciate the farmers who keep this delicious treat around!