How To Roast Brussel Sprouts On The Stalk
Brussels Sprouts Roasted on the Stalk
Several times per year, Trader Joe's offers brussels sprouts that arrive at the store in grand style. They are au naturale, meaning that they come in as they grow--right on the stalk.
This author had never seen them before this way though I've grown my own share of cauliflower and broccoli over the years.
I decided to try a few batches of them wondering how in the world I should cook them but the nice folks at Trader Joe's even provide you with a recipe rubber banded to the stalk. It is really quite a simple thing!
If you happen to see these gems in the store, pick up a few stalks and see how easy it is to roast brussels sprouts right on their own stalk. They do stay nicely fresh for several days, even up to a week so I'm told, because they're still attached to their growth source.
Of course, you can always cut the sprouts off and cook them normally. This author likes the presentation factor of cooking them on the stalk as it's a very unique way to plate them out after cooking. And let's not forget delicious!
Trader Joe's Recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts on the Stalk
Trader Joe's recipe is very simple and easy to follow. However, there were a few things that I didn't quite like about the recipe, so I changed it to my own tastes. (see below)
- 1 stalk of brussels sprouts
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan or large rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with vegetable spray to prevent sticking.
- Wash stalk of Brussels sprouts under cool running water. Lay on a dish towel and pat dry with paper towels or another dish towel until most of the moisture is gone.
- Cover the Brussels sprouts in plastic wrap and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes.
- Combine the oil and maple syrup along with pepper in a small bowl. Whisk to combine as the oil will try and separate.
- Using a small brush, baste all the individual Brussels sprouts with the mixture of oil and maple syrup, turning over to baste both sides.
- Place in oven and roast for 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Transfer to a very large platter if serving on the stalk and place a knife or cutting shears on the platter.
- Or cut the Brussels sprouts from the stalk and serve in a bowl.
- Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries if desired.
My Own Recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts
There were a couple of things that this author didn't want to try with respect to the Trader Joe's recipe.
I'm not a huge fan of maple syrup and especially not 3/4 cup of it being put onto vegetables. Hypothetically, one could substitute sugar-free maple syrup for the recipe and feel better about it but even at that, it was a lot of "sugar" to me for a vegetable.
The words "plastic wrap" and the microwave send up red flags for me. Studies have shown that plastic of any kind in the microwave is something we all should be avoiding due to the carcinogenic exposure so I had to pass on that part of the recipe right away.
What to do though? I gave it some thought and here is my revamped recipe. It is very tasty but I probably will try a couple more times to see if different brush-ons pump up the flavor a little more. The maple syrup was suggested because it gives the sprouts a nutty flavor but I do think in retrospect that a browned butter maybe flavored with some kind of nut such as hazelnut would do the same thing nicely.
- I used coconut oil--several tablespoons melted in a small pan
- I added 2 or 3 tablespoons of Trader Joe's Balsamic Glaze--a thickened, reduced variety of balsamic vinegar--for its tangy taste
- I added 2 or 3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon
- Few dashes of kosher salt
- Instead of partially cooking the sprouts in the microwave, I added the tray with the prepared sprouts to the oven, then poured 1/2-1 cup of hot water onto the foil covered pan.
- This prevented any sticking and smoking from the coconut oil as the sprouts roasted and served to virtually "steam" the sprouts while they were cooking.
- I did not have to increase the cook time so they were done in 45 minutes--I think because of the steaming effect.
Note: If you use coconut oil, be quick about brushing the sprouts with the mixture. It begins to go back to its hardened stage very quickly. If that happens, just put back on the stove for a few seconds until it liquifies again and keep brushing.
The coconut oil did harden very quickly on the Brussels sprouts and gave them a nice flavor nonetheless. They did brown more than the recipe I made with a mixture of balsamic glaze, olive oil and reduced amount of maple syrup.
Health Benefits of Brussel Sprouts
Keep in mind that you should eat a good quantity of these or on a regular basis to receive the full health benefits but they are quite impressive.
- Lower cholesterol
- Protect DNA including white blood cells which lessens chance of infection
- Top of the list for glucosinolate in all cruciferous vegetables (good for detoxing the system)
- Thyroid protection
- Anti-cancer properties
- High in vitamin C
- High in vitamin K
- Super on the fiber chart
- Low in calories
- Antioxidant properties
- Anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritis properties
- Cardiovascular protection
- High in folate
- Rich in vitamin A
- They are ranked one of the world's healthiest foods
More with Brussels Sprouts
There are great favorite recipes for Brussels sprouts--some people say brussel sprouts and some say Brussels sprouts. Leave a comment below as to your favorite way to prepare them.
There are many ways to cook them:
I think though if you're preparing Brussels sprouts, as in all things, less is more. Steaming probably keeps in more nutrients than any other way although roasting is pretty close.
Try not to diminish the health benefits by glazing them in sugar or masking their flavor with too much of anything.
Eating Brussels sprouts is one of those things that you either hate or you love. They do have a distinctive aroma and a flavor all their own.
Roasting them is a great way to cook them and the presentation on the stalk is one of those conversation starters that I really enjoy!