Maybe Dr Seuss was right

I consider myself an adventurous eater — you name it, I’ll try it. However, one thing has always repelled me: Brussels sprouts. Ick. Yuck. I haven’t had them since I was a kid, and even then then it was more a matter of rolling them around on my plate until my parents would give up and let me leave the table.

Well, that cannot stand. I can’t call myself a brave foodie unless I can defeat this challenge. Especially after reading this:

So tonight I made Brussels sprouts and mushrooms with cheese and a side salad.

They weren’t bad. Not the worst thing I’ve made, and I’d be willing to try them again.


  1. smike says

    If you can stand a little bacon (can’t remember if you are a strict vegetarian), chop up a couple of pieces of bacon, and then add cut up brussels sprouts and cook together in a frying pan. Add anything else you desire and, voila.

  2. Kevin Karplus says

    I live in the center of the brussels sprouts growing region of California. Getting fresh sprouts is much better than the week-old ones sold in the Midwest. There are many ways of preparing sprouts (including some high-fat fried ones), but I prefer them lightly steamed, with nothing on them.

  3. Thomas Scott says

    I agree. Lightly steamed then dressed with some extra virgin olive oil and salt. It helps to cut a cross into the base of each sprout to ensure even cooking.

  4. etfb says

    Hunt down a recipe to roast them with butter. It takes the bitterness off and makes them quite, quite nommy.

  5. fishy says

    I’ve never liked beets. I think they taste like the earth they came from. Last summer I ordered a salad from room service and it had beets. I ate it anyway. Room service is expensive. They still taste like dirt.

  6. snark33sian says

    Roast ’em in a pan with olive oil , be sure to get the outside nice and crispy, douse in orange juice , reduce/caramelize. Yum.
    Signed, life long sprout hater, semi reformed.

  7. says

    I’ve had really bad Brussels sprouts, and some that were so good I couldn’t believe they were the same vegetable. Serious respect to people who cook them well.

  8. chrislawson says

    For me it’s not the bitterness, it’s the texture. Too many people steam them until they’re a soggy mess.

  9. Trickster Goddess says

    Well that certainly explains something that I had been noticing. I have always loved Brussels sprouts; they’re my number one favourite vegetable. However over the past few years I haven’t been enjoying them as much since they seemed to be tasting blander than they used to. Now I know why. It’s a shame they had to go and ruin something I liked so much.

    My second favourite vegetable is raw broccoli. I also like spinach.

  10. larpar says

    I do not like them,
    I do not like
    Green eggs and brussels sprouts.

    Doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  11. waydude says

    chop the ends off the brussel sprouts, put them in a pan, sprinkle liberally with olive oil, salt pepper and garlic to taste. Roast them in the oven at 400 for 25-30 minutes until the edges start crisping, shake the pan every now and them to move them around. EAt and enjoy.

  12. lochaber says

    I actually liked brussel sprouts as a kid, so I was really confused when I encountered the trope of them being the most hated food ever.

    Later on, I heard part of it is because they are often boiled or otherwise cooked in a suboptimal manner.

    I get them occasionally, toss them with some olive oil, salt/pepper, and roast them in the oven. It’s pretty easy, and gives decent results. Sometimes add some shaker parm.

  13. says

    Sauteed with garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Also substitute for meatballs in spaghetti sauce.

    Still gross but I’d eat a jeep if it was sauteed with garlic and cheese. Yum yum crunch crunch!

  14. hemidactylus says

    I’ve always loved Brussel Sprouts with butter melted over their hot steamy essence. But I find myself gorging on a bowl of them to the point I can get burnt out on the taste. I like cabbage (preferably w/ corned beef) the same way, hot and buttery, because it tastes then like BS. But kimchi style too. Not cole slaw or raw though as much.

    One food I don’t like is cranberry sauce from can. Candied cranberries that have retained their form are OK and I love cranberry juice.

  15. says

    I had real trouble with eating vegetables until I met my wife who knows how to cook them. Properly steamed, Brussels sprouts are very nice.

  16. pgmoni says

    When there is a leftover, I eat them like candies. But then, I’m a Belgian…
    They are better steamed, with lots of butter and a touch of nutmeg, by the way.

  17. numerobis says

    As a kid I always wondered why everyone put down vegetables as nasty; they were always my favourite part of the meal.

    Then I’d eat over at a friend’s place. The truth was: their parents were bad cooks.

  18. wzrd1 says

    If veggies taste bitter, add fat. It’s the dirty secret of all chefs.
    If a meat tastes muttony or gamey, add an acid, even if it’s tomato sauce injected into the meat.
    As for beets, the smaller seem to be the most tasty.

    The only vegetable I decline to eat is okra.

  19. brikoleur says

    Try cutting them in half and frying them in olive oil, cut side against the pan, medium heat. They get nice and golden on the underside and get a nice nutty flavour. Boil some fusilli, mix them in, add a splash more olive oil, some black pepper, a sprinkle of salt, and grate some parmesan on them.

  20. says

    I actually liked brussel sprouts as a kid, so I was really confused when I encountered the trope of them being the most hated food ever.

    Seconded. Though now I’m wondering: it’s common wisdom here that sprouts only get harvested after the first night freeze as that takes away the bitterness. Maybe if the US sprouts are all grown in California that’s the problem?

  21. davidw says

    Make a slaw out of them, as if they were tiny little cabbages. Go through and take out as much of the thicker stem parts as you can. Make a mustard dressing (there are some good recipes on this thing called the internet…). I’ve converted several people this way (to Brussels sprouts, not to atheism).

  22. =8)-DX says

    The best for sprouts in my mind is like many a vegetable: steam until cooked then add a bit of salt and butter to bring out the flavour. Carefully slice with a sharp knife or peel of individual leaves. Yum!

  23. anat says

    fishy @15:

    I’ve never liked beets. I think they taste like the earth they came from.

    Yes they do, that’s what makes them so tasty!

    As for brussel sprouts, they go well in miso soup. Also I love them roasted. Or stir-fried.

  24. brightmoon says

    I was another weird kid I actually liked Brussels sprouts . Still do, I don’t think it was the taste so much as the texture and being able to crunch down Into them.

  25. Jazzlet says

    With a lot of the Brassicas you need to cook them for a fairly short time or for a long time, there is a point between those where they will be bitter whatever you add. With Brussel sprouts I’d always go with a shorter time, though how short depends on the cooking method, what would be way too long steamed will leave them raw if you are roasting.

    Oh and cutting a cross in the base makes no difference to cooking times, but can mke them soggy.

    If you like roasting Brussel sprouts try adding some almonds for the last fifteen minutes, yum!

  26. blf says

    I’m in the camp which says it largely depends on how they are prepared. Other than not boiling them, I have no suggestions… albeit I do wish I knew how some chefs prepared some of the various dishes containing them I have had…

    Whilst I’m not all keen on peas, the thing I cannot stand is jícama. Like peas, there is no taste; unlike peas, there is a texture — best described as awful. (The linked-to Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge article describes the texture as “crisp[, … resembling] raw potato or pear”, which matches my now-admittedly-vague recollection.)

    (Slight interruption as the food processor beep beeps! at me — yes, I broke down and got one as an another survived orbit present to myself — to see is my latest concoction is edible…)

    And it is! Rather nice… an onion- and potato-soup made with the broth yesterday’s pasta was cooked in (water, some herbs, vin rouge, and a dash of milk), with some Italian anchovies-in-olive oil (oil drained and saved for some later purpose) plus some green Thai chili spice mix (no fresh chilis on hand), Basically, using up some stuff I’ve had sitting around for perhaps a bit too long. (I was going to use some chorizo instead of the anchovies, but the chorizo had been sitting around for rather far too long. Fortunately, the mold had not yet discovered how to tunnel out of a paper bag, and so there were no epic battles nor was the “assistance” of the mildly deranged penguin sought.) Served with a Chimay blue it’s certainly isn’t a brussel spout, pea, or the jícama.

  27. m n says

    I never ate a sprout until I was in my mid-20s — my mom hated them as a kid so never made them as an adult — but I’m quite enthusiastic about them when they’re in season, much to my partner’s disgust.

    I think they’re best sautéed and sauce with a combo of miso, maple syrup, soy sauce, and malt vinegar. Maybe a little cayenne if I want to kick it up.

  28. hemidactylus says

    @33- m n
    A diner that serves variable quality collards has peppered vinegar as a condiment so the malt vinegar on brussels sounds tempting. But maple syrup? For me some butter or veg-based equivalent rocks on sprouts. I really don’t understand the haters on this thread.

    Soy or miso sounds like a plan. Mmmmm…

    Philosopher Harry Frankfurt should write a cookbook on our beloved BS. Given collards go well with unmentionable pig parts, Frankfurters or wieners would be an apt ingredient.

  29. hemidactylus says

    I just consumed a microwaved bag of brussels with melted Smart Balance, a modicum of habanero, and garlic powder and it was heavenly. It gives off a quite odd smell but the taste is not of this world. I want to cuddle up to a feed bag and eat it in my sleep and contemplate marrying it in the future. It is that good! OMG!!!! My childhood love has returned to me.

  30. says

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a brussel sprout. Mom never cooked them, and I never felt like I needed to add them to my diet. Lots of veggies I can’t stand cooked, except maybe carrots and green beans. Others, like broccoli and cauliflower, the flavor just gets way too intense for me and I gag on them. Raw I’ll eat them all day long.

    Speaking of beets, I’ve never had one of those, either. But recently, a local brewery made a saison with beets and carrots. Tastes exactly like liquified dirt. So, I guess beets remains off the menu.

  31. says

    The strangest thing about Brussels sprouts are the vegans. Here’s a bunch of people (*) who want to convince everyone to give up meat (**). And yet most of the vegans I know hate Brussels sprouts.

    (* I know several)
    (** and they aren’t as pushy because they want to stay friends)