Aug 16, 2013

Braised Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Mustard Dressing

Let’s face it. You either love Brussels sprouts or… you don’t. If you love them then this recipe will knock your Brussels-loving socks off. If you don’t, maybe you should give them another try…

First of all, let’s take a quick peek at the amazing health benefits of these little nutritional powerhouses. Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous veggie, which immediately raises them on the charts of healthy foods. What’s so special about cruciferous vegetables? Why, glucosinolates of course! What in the world is that? Glucosinolates are phytonutrients that are the chemical starting points for a variety of cancer-protective substances. All cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates and have great health benefits for this reason. But recent research has revealed just how valuable Brussels sprouts are in this regard.

The cancer protection we get from Brussels sprouts is mostly related to four specific glucosinolates found in this special vegetable: glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiin. Research has shown that Brussels sprouts offer these cancer-preventive components in special combination. In fact, there are 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 those studies determine the health benefits of this cruciferous vegetable in relationship to cancer.

Brussels sprouts also offer powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, protect the health of the stomach lining, have superior cholesterol-lowering ability and even protect the DNA in our cells.

Well! All that said, they sure are tasty little buggers in my opinion, especially when cooked properly. When I was a kid, I remember not liking Brussels sprouts AT ALL. But they were the frozen, packaged kind and then boiled to death… a mushy, sad death. Bleh. Piling on a ridiculous amount of butter was the only way I could eat them at all. If you’ve ever tried them roasted or braised, you know that they can taste pretty amazing. They’re a little bitter but sweet, too, with a naturally complex flavor profile.

This recipe is super easy, if you can even call it a recipe. I was debating on whether or not to post it. But it’s so yummy that I just had to share… simply braise them and top them with a sweet mustard sauce. To. Die. For. Or should I say, to live for!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp tamari or other low sodium soy sauce
  • small amount of cold-pressed vegetable oil to treat the pan.
  • Sweet Mustard Dressing (see recipe here)

Directions:

  1. Clean and halve the Brussels sprouts.
  2. Using a paper towel, spread a small amount of oil on a large sauté pan.
  3. Place the pan on medium heat.
  4. Place the Brussels, cut side down, into the pan.
  5. In a few minutes, check them. They should be getting golden brown on the bottom. DON’T let them get too dark. Anything that cooks too much on high heat develops something called acrylamides which are mostly prevalent in deep fried carbohydrates like chips and french fries, but anything fried, roasted, toasted or baked too much develops these dangerous compounds. (You can always steam your Brussels sprouts for the most healthy preparation.)
  6. Add a bit of water. BE CAREFUL, it will steam up!
  7. Add the garlic and tamari, stir and cover.
  8. Lower the heat to medium-low.
  9. Continue to cook until the sprouts are fork-tender, adding bits of water as needed to prevent sticking.
  10. Serve with some whole grain rice and the mustard dressing.

Serves 2-3 as a main dish with a whole grain. I served them with a wild/brown rice mix topped with raw walnuts. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

References:

  1. Ambrosone CB, Tang L. Cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer prevention: role of nutrigenetics. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Apr;2(4):298-300. 2009.
  2. Angeloni C, Leoncini E, Malaguti M, et al. Modulation of phase II enzymes by sulforaphane: implications for its cardioprotective potential. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jun 24;57(12):5615-22. 2009.
  3. Antosiewicz J, Ziolkowski W, Kar S et al. Role of reactive oxygen intermediates in cellular responses to dietary cancer chemopreventive agents. Planta Med. 2008 Oct;74(13):1570-9. 2008.
  4. Banerjee S, Wang Z, Kong D, et al. 3,3′-Diindolylmethane enhances chemosensitivity of multiple chemotherapeutic agents in pancreatic cancer. 3,3′-Diindolylmethane enhances chemosensitivity of multiple chemotherapeutic agents in pancreatic cancer. 2009.
  5. Bhattacharya A, Tang L, Li Y, et al. Inhibition of bladder cancer development by allyl isothiocyanate. Carcinogenesis. 2010 Feb;31(2):281-6. 2010.
  6. Brat P, George S, Bellamy A, et al. Daily Polyphenol Intake in France from Fruit and Vegetables. J. Nutr. 136:2368-2373, September 2006. 2006.
  7. Bryant CS, Kumar S, Chamala S, et al. Sulforaphane induces cell cycle arrest by protecting RB-E2F-1 complex in epithelial ovarian cancer cells. Molecular Cancer 2010, 9:47. 2010.
  8. Hoelzl C, Glatt H, Simic T, et al. DNA protective effects of Brussels sprouts: Results of a human intervention study. AACR Meeting Abstracts, Dec 2007; 2007: B67. 2007.

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