Brussels sprouts potentially have the worst reputation of all vegetables.
Many people, including those who have not eaten them, see them as a gross, leafy ball with an off-putting odor and a bad taste. Because of this, wherever they are served, there is always a vocal sect of people who will avoid them if possible.
This is not helped by many people having borderline traumatic childhood memories of being forced to eat these vegetables when they have been cooked and now permanently associating them with these troublesome thoughts.
Due to these associations, many people simply do not even want to consider giving Brussels sprouts a chance. Because of this, the truth that they can sometimes be pretty delicious surprises many that hear it, and leads to instant denial.
Because of the expectation that they are bitter tasting veggies that just smell bad when cooked, many people will just refuse to even consider that they could ever like them.
However, most of the negative qualities and expectations people have about Brussels sprouts can be offset by simply cooking them in the correct way.
Brussels sprouts can end up being one of your favorite side dishes, all you have to do is know how to serve them to get the best results!
There is also the bonus factor that these veggies are pretty healthy so if you can incorporate them into your diet that way, you will be getting even more benefits!
What Do Brussels Sprouts Taste Like?
Like many vegetables, the specific taste of Brussels sprouts will rely heavily on the method of cooking which has been used to cook them.
One of the most common and simple ways to cook them will end up with them tasting bitter. This is why one of the most common misconceptions about Brussels sprouts is that they are bitter and this is why many people avoid them.
However, if they are properly prepared and cooked to perfection, Brussels sprouts have a quite sweet and nutty flavor with smoky hints that can make them pretty irresistible.
If you want to compare its taste to another vegetables, the easiest comparison to make it to cabbage, only its taste is significantly more mild than this.
The texture of Brussels sprouts is also pretty enjoyable with them having a crunchy outside and a delicious tender interior.
You can also find that Brussels sprouts can taste different depending on the size they are. This is similar to some other vegetables and fruits, with smaller ones having a preferred sweeter taste, in comparison to the more mature taste of bigger ones.
When looking at the nutritional value of Brussels sprouts, these veggies are actually pretty impressive.
Brussels sprouts are shown to contain a healthy amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, as well as a good amount of fiber, folate and potassium. All of these reasons are a good reason to incorporate Brussels sprouts into your diet!
How To Properly Cook Brussels Sprouts
So after that section, you are probably most curious about the best way to cook Brussels sprouts to avoid their negative qualities, and to get the best ones.
The most important tip to follow when it comes to preparing Brussels sprouts is to ensure that however you decide to make them, that you do not overcook them!
If you are overcooking your Brussels sprouts, they will end up getting their notorious bitter taste and bad smell. This is the reason why this veggie has such a bad reputation, as so many people who cook them make this mistake and do nothing to try and fix it.
This section will give you some of the best methods to try cooking your Brussels sprouts to get some of the most delicious and tasty results!
One of the easiest and best ways to prepare Brussels sprouts is by roasting them. This method is the easiest way to get the natural sugars of the sprouts to be obvious and to make them crispy as well as caramelized.
To do this method you will want to slice the stems of your sprouts as well as taking off the tougher leaves on the outer of the sprouts.
After this preparation has been done you will want the sprouts to be covered in olive oil, pepper, and salt and then put them onto a prepared baking tray.
The best time and temperature to cook these sprouts at is between 20 and 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
To make sure the sprouts brown properly and evenly, you will want to lightly shake the pan every 5 or so minutes. The outer leaves should be a dark shade of brown from the caramelization once this process is done!
If you do not have the option to roast the sprouts, or if you do not like roasted veggies that much, you also have the option of sautéing your sprouts. This method will also get you some delicious caramelization.
To get the best results with this method you want to ensure that you do not overfill your sauté pan to allow steaming to work properly, and so they do not get browned.
To start with, you want to use a large skillet and put this on a medium-high temperature and add a tablespoon of olive oil as well as a tablespoon of bacon fat.
In this you want to sauté some garlic for about half a minute and then add sprouts with chopped onions. To get even better results add some brown sugar and salt. Cook them like this for about a minute and then stir the pan.
You will want to continue cooking your sprouts like this for somewhere between 4 and 5 minutes and after a while they should eventually turn a shade of bright green.
To improve the flavor one of the best additions to make is to add some apple slices to let the juice seep out and improve the flavor of the sprouts. Let this sit on the seat for around 3 to 5 minutes.
After this you can add some toppings to make the sprouts even more delicious. Some of the most complimentary choices for this are dried cherries, pecans, and even bacon.
You can also add some vinaigrette to make them even better!
When you are cooking Brussels sprouts, you need to ensure that you are fully on top of your cook time.
This is because you can add as much seasoning as you want, or add more ingredients to distract, but if you have overcooked your sprouts, they will be bitter, and quite unpleasant to eat.
Whichever method you are choosing, make sure to not go too far over time.
Of course the best length of time for cooking your sprouts will depend on how big they are and which method you are using, so keep this in mind.
How To Make Brussels Sprouts Taste Good?
Like most veggies, the best way to make them taste good is to season them properly. Some of the most basic but impactful choices for this are a nice oil with salt and pepper, or some butter and lemon.
Brussels sprouts are also delicious when served alongside some more smoky savory flavors, this is why it is so commonly served with sausage (see also ‘Bratwurst Vs Sausage‘), pancetta, or bacon.
But just as easily you can choose to have some sweeter sprouts, you can do this using balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, or honey, this is a great way to offset any bitterness.
Hopefully this guide has helped inform you on what Brussels sprouts taste like, and how to make them taste as good as they can and to avoid overcooking them!