March 6, 2012

Brussels sprouts – come on, give them a try

(excerpt from Healthy Starts Here!)

Hands up who love little baby cabbages.

 Whenever I ask this question at any one of my talks, not many people put up their hands.

I never used to like them either. My mother cooked the living daylights out of Brussels sprouts just like her mother. Granny used to say, “Alright, dinner is at 5:00 pm, the roast went in at 12:00 pm, its 1:00 pm, let’s start the sprouts.” Seriously, cooked for hours, they were grey greenish blobs of what was once a vibrant green plant, sitting on your plate in a complete lifeless heap.

During my fourth year of university, in the Winter Vegetable lab, we cooked up the wee sprouts. To my shock and amazement the Smith Family Food of Death was in fact a flavourful vibrant semi firm green orb. Who knew they didn’t taste like sulphur? Not me, or anyone else in my extended family, well at least on my mom’s side.

So I became a born again Brussels sprout eater. And like any good reformed individual I have made it my life’s mission to convince anyone who will listen, how great they are.


Choose tiny Brussels, they’ll be sweeter and less cabbagy tasting. They should be firm and a beautiful deep shade of green. For cooking times, try to pick all the same size, that way they will be ready at the same time.

Store in an open bag in your crisper and eat them ASAP – the longer they sit around, the stronger they’ll taste, oh, and the stronger they’ll smell when you cook them.

Prep them correctly: Remove outer leaves, wash well under cold running water, cut off a tiny bit of the woody bottom and then either steam whole. Place in a streamer basket in a pot; add water to just below the bottom of the basket, cook on high heat, and stream for 5-8 minutes or until desired tenderness. Or cut in half and stir fry, or toss with oil and roast in the oven.


Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli Slaw

This is a great snack for after school or after work. It’s low in calories, high in flavour and fibre.  Plus it’s a wonderful way to eat broccoli and its cruciferous warrior buddy Brussels sprouts, more often.


1 lb (500 g) broccoli = one large bunch

1 cup (250 mL) Brussels sprouts

½ medium red onion

1 large red pepper

1 large orange pepper

2 large carrots, scrubbed well, unpeeled


½ cup (125 mL) apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin oil or canola oil

1 tsp (5 mL) grainy Dijon mustard

1 tsp (5 mL) liquid honey


  1. To make your life easier you really need to make this with a food processor. If you don’t own one, either thinly slice or grate the veggies, ask for a food processor as a gift, or run out and buy one today. It’s one of my favourite toys in the kitchen.
  2. Let’s assume you own a food processor – using the thinnest slicing attachment, slice the broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red onion and the peppers. Place the sliced veggies into a large bowl.
  3. Change to the large grater attachment and grate carrots. Add to the other veggies.
  4. Whisk together the dressing ingredients: apple cider vinegar, oil, Dijon, and honey pour over the veggies and toss well.
  5. Store covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Makes – 8 cups (2 L) One serving = 1 cup (250 mL) which contains: 83 Calories, 4 g Total Fat, 0.5 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 52 mg Sodium, 11.3 g Carbs, 3 g Fibre,  4.2 g Sugar, 3 g Protein

Diabetes Food Choice Values Per Serving: ½ Carbohydrate, ½ Meat and Alternative, ½ Fat





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *