November's Superfood: Brussels Sprouts

November's Superfood: Brussels Sprouts

Why Brussels Sprouts?

Brussels sprouts tend to get a bad rap (just like their cruciferous cousins, cauliflower and broccoli), but these adorable mini cabbages are a superfood for so many reasons!  They‘re an important dietary source of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins K, C and A (in the form of beta-carotene) and manganese. They’re also a good source of dietary fiber.

You'll find nearly 100 (!) studies in PubMed--the health research database at the National Library of Medicine in Washington, D.C.--that are focused on Brussels sprouts, and over half of these studies involve the health benefits of this cruciferous vegetable in relation to cancer prevention. Here’s what they’re studying: Cruciferous vegetables contain a group of substances known as glucosinolates (these are the sulfur-containing chemicals responsible for their pungent aroma).  According to The National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health, “studies in animals and experiments with cells grown in the laboratory have identified several potential ways in which these compounds may help prevent cancer, including:

  • Protecting cells from DNA damage
  • Helping inactivate carcinogens
  • Antiviral and antibacterial effects
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Inducing cell death (apoptosis)
  • Inhibiting tumor blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) and tumor cell migration (needed for metastasis)

Studies in humans, however, have shown mixed results, indicating that further research is needed.


Brussels sprouts are generally available year round, however, they’re at their best from autumn through early spring when they’re at the peak of their growing season.  Good quality Brussels sprouts are firm, compact, and sage green and free of yellowed, wilted leaves. Avoid those that have perforations in their leaves as this may indicate that they have aphids residing within. Keep unwashed and untrimmed Brussels sprouts in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, they generally will last for up to 10 days.


It’s important not to overcook Brussels sprouts. They will not only lose their nutritional value and taste, but also release the unpleasant sulfur smell associated with overcooked cruciferous vegetables. To help Brussels Sprouts cook more quickly and evenly, cut each sprout into quarters. Let them sit for at least 5 minutes to bring out the health-promoting qualities.

3 ways to enjoy Brussels sprouts:

  1. Combine quartered steamed Brussels sprouts with sliced red onions, walnuts, and your favorite mild tasting cheese such as a goat cheese or feta. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for an exceptionally healthy, delicious side dish.
  2. Quarter Brussels sprouts, drizzle with olive oil and salt/pepper.  Roast in a hot oven (425-450).  Serve and enjoy!
  3. Here's our recipe for the perfect fall pairing with a hearty, healthy grain:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grapes with Farro

1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved (or quartered if large)

1 pound seedless red grapes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup cooked farro

1/4 cup toasted walnuts (optional)

¼ cup pomegranate seeds

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss the Brussels sprouts, grapes, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle the balsamic vinegar over, stirring to coat. Return to the oven and roast until the sprouts are tender and the grapes have begun to shrivel, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl. Add the farro and walnuts and toss to combine. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Do you plan to include this superfood at your Thanksgiving meal?  What’s your favorite way to prepare it?  We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!


We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.