All About the Brussels Sprout

By Global Master Chef Karl Guggenmos, Senior Culinary Advisor, HMS

In my kitchen tip on January 8, 2020 we discussed white cabbage. Today we spotlight another delicious winter cabbage, the famous Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts are a member of the Gemmifera group of cabbages. They are small green edible buds resembling a rose.  That’s the reason why they are called Rosenkohl, meaning Rose Cabbage.

Their origins are in the so called low countries of Central Europe, including the Netherlands, Belgium and some parts of France and Germany.  Today, they are also found and grown in the US as well and other parts of the world.

Throughout my career as a chef in Europe, Brussels sprouts have always been a staple vegetable in the winter, from November through March, and very popular to be served with game meat.  See my kitchen tip on game meat. In recent years, Brussels sprouts have also become popular in the US and can increasingly be found on menus, especially in vegetarian and vegan dishes at restaurants. Brussels sprouts have a very distinct flavor profile.  Though they are slightly tart/bitter, when properly cooked, they are very tasty.

They are also very healthy. They contain high amounts of:

  • Vitamin K – Supports proper blood clotting and bone health
  • Vitamin C – Supports tissue repair and immune function
  • Vitamin A – Supports the immune system, healthy eyes, bone health.
  • Folate – Supports healthy cell function
  • Manganese – Supports bone health, reduces inflammation and serves as a strong antioxidant

Brussels sprouts also contain a healthy dose of fiber to support the digestive system (gut health) and small amounts of:

  • Vitamin B6
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Thiamine
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus


General Cooking Tips

Fresh or Frozen

  • Fresh is the best way but frozen is also ok.
  • Remove the brown and darker outer leaves.
  • Can be cut in half or cooked whole.
  • Best to steam or blanch, then either roast or grill and season with salt, pepper and spices to your taste.
  • The frozen ones normally come pre blanched and can be heated up as they are.
    • My recommendation is to cook them either frozen or semi frozen. I don’t recommend to completely thaw them as they will bleed out water and loose flavor/texture.

Stir Fry

  • Break apart all leaves and stir fry them into a crisp texture
    • Great for adding to a salad.

My Favorite

  • My favorite is a classic.
    • Render some cut bacon by adding onions and then the blanched Brussels sprouts, seasoned with salt, pepper and minced garlic.
    • Add some cream if desired.
    • Served with game meat if that is a preference









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