The Essential Edible Pharmacy: Brussels Sprouts

The Essential Edible Pharmacy: Brussels Sprouts

Photo Courtesy of the Author

Brussels sprouts are the wonderful yet deeply misunderstood little green warriors of the vegetable world. If they are overcooked, they can taste slightly bitter, and this can sadly turn some people against them for life. The poor little darlings; all they ever wanted to do was give you many nutrients, help protect you from cancer and reduce your cholesterol.

Happily, brussels sprouts are enjoying a mini-resurgence as more people discover different ways to cook them beyond steaming or boiling them to a mushy pulp. When cooked nicely they add a gorgeous pop of flavour and texture to lots of dishes.

When given the chance, brussels sprouts bestow upon their consumers a huge range of essential nutrients including vitamin K, B-group vitamins, fibre, manganese, choline, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc and vitamin A precursors, as well as a wealth of sulphuric compounds to help the body’s detoxification process. They are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cardio-protective, and they contain high levels of glucosinolates, the compounds responsible for brussels sprouts’ cancer preventative reputation.

The benefits

  • anti-inflammatory
  • liver cleansing
  • cardio-protective
  • healthy bones
  • boost immunity

Honey Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Honey Roasted Brussels Sprouts are beyond lovely as a side dish or tossed into a salad.


  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, to cook
  • 500 g (2 lb) brussels sprouts, bottom woody part removed, cut into halves
  • 1 or 2 onions, brown or red, cut into quarters
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place a large frying pan over a medium heat, heat the oil and pop in the brussels sprouts. Allow to cook until slightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few more minutes until everything softens without burning.

Next, transfer everything to a roasting pan and shake the pan from side to side until the brussels sprouts are evenly spread out. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, then use a tablespoon to drizzle the honey over the sprouts so it is evenly distributed rather than concentrated in blobs,which may burn.

Roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, and serve hot as a side or on top of a simple salad (even just on rocket/arugula leaves).

Extracted from The Essential Edible Pharmacy by Sophie Manolas (Exisle Publishing)

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