Kid-Approved Brussels Sprouts Recipes (2024)

Growing up, our vegetables were typically a rotation of corn, carrots and green beans. Brussels sprouts rarely made it onto our plates, and on the rare occasion they did pop up, they were cooked beyond mushiness. I was well into my 30s before I finally met a Brussels sprout that I could tolerate. Now, it has become my favorite vegetable, and it ranks high on my sons' lists as well.

Unfortunately, Brussels sprouts consistently rank high on "top hated vegetable" lists, and they definitely don't make the "kid friendly" portion of most menus. But they deserve a second chance for two reasons. First, Brussels sprouts are little powerhouses of nutrition -- they belong to the family of vegetables known as cruciferous (just like cabbage, kale and cauliflower), which have been linked to protecting us from cancer and chronic inflammation. Second, they can taste completely different depending on how they're prepared. With the right recipe, they can even make that "kid approved" list! Here are four Brussels sprouts recipes that are sure to please even the pickiest eaters:

Brussels sprout sauté: This is the go-to recipe in our house, and it frequently results in requests for seconds from my youngest son, a notoriously picky eater. We also had an 8-year-old guest at our table recently who insisted he hated Brussels sprouts -- only to have him later request the recipe for his mom.

Take a pound of fresh Brussels sprouts, cut off the woody bottom and then cut each one in half. Heat some olive oil and garlic in a sauté pan, then add the sprouts. Toss to coat, and let the sprouts sizzle for a few minutes, sprinkling with some salt if desired. Then add about a quarter cup of a liquid (such as chicken broth or white wine), cover and let steam for 10 minutes, adding a bit more liquid if needed. Once the sprouts are fork tender, remove the lid to let the extra liquid evaporate, then sprinkle with some bread crumbs and shredded Parmesan cheese.

[Read: How Do We Get Kids to Like Healthy Foods?]

Brussels sprout slaw: Chef Stephanie Green, who's also a registered dietitian, knows a thing or two about taking the bitter out of a Brussels sprout. Try this recipe as an alternative to a tossed salad one night -- kids will love the touch of creamy and touch of sweet.

Trim Brussels sprouts, and toss them in a food processor to shred. Transfer shredded sprouts to a bowl, then at your discretion (depending on the pickiness level at your table), throw in some chopped celery, diced red onions and feta cheese. Toss in dried cranberries and sliced almonds, and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Toss the mixture with this creamy dressing that you whip up in your blender: 2 tablespoons roasted garlic olive oil, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 cup reduced fat Greek yogurt, 3 tablespoons agave nectar or honey, 2 tablespoons onion, a few cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of mustard greens and stems (trust her, she's a chef!), 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and mustard powder, and 1/4 teaspoon each of ground coriander, red pepper flakes and white pepper.

[Read: Making Vegetables a Yes-able Proposition for Your Kids.]

Brussels sprout hash: This dish, provided by registered dietitian Kate Scarlata, is devoured by her kids. It's also a nice recipe to get rid of some leftover cornbread!

Trim Brussels sprouts, place them on a cookie sheet, drizzle with some oil, then roast in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes, until fork tender. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil with butter in a pan, then toss in about 1 and 1/2 cups of cornbread bite-size pieces; sprinkle with Bell's seasoning (or poultry seasoning of your choice), and cook until cornbread starts to turn brown, about 3 minutes. Fold the cornbread into the cooked sprouts, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

[Read: Michelle Obama Hosts Kids' State Dinner.]

Brussels sprout chips: A bit more decadent, to be sure, but these were served at a neighborhood restaurant and I witnessed the children at the table go ga-ga for Brussels sprouts! This recipe comes from Chef Ehren Litzenberger at BLD Restaurant in Chandler, Ariz.

Peel the leaves of the Brussels sprouts, then flash fry them in hot oil for about 30 seconds. Season with garlic salt, and serve with a spicy aioli dressing.

[Read: Wow Your Picky Eaters with Vegetarian Chili.]

Hungry for more? Write to with your questions, concerns and feedback.

Melinda Johnson, MS, RD, is the Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics and lecturer for the Nutrition Program at Arizona State University, and a Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Follow her on Twitter @MelindaRD.

Kid-Approved Brussels Sprouts Recipes (2024)


How do I get my child to eat Brussels sprouts? ›

If you've served steamed Brussels sprouts to your selective child, next time try serving them roasted or blanched. They can be eaten raw, but in that case they are often shredded and served in thin strips for a salad, like cabbage prepared for coleslaw.

Why do you soak brussel sprouts before cooking? ›

The soak time tenderizes the sprouts so the middles are softer. Don't worry, they won't be soggy! I would never do that to you. If, like me, you don't mind some chew to your sprouts, you don't need to soak the Brussels sprouts prior to cooking.

When should I not eat brussel sprouts? ›

Things You Should Know

Throw out fresh brussel sprouts that have a foul odor, yellow or wilted leaves, a mushy or slimy texture, or dark spots. Use fresh brussel sprouts within 1–2 weeks of getting them. Store the brussel sprouts in a plastic bag inside your fridge, and wash them before cooking them.

Why can't some people eat brussel sprouts? ›

A 2011 study by Cornwall College found that sprouts contain a chemical, similar to phenylthiocarbamide, which only tastes bitter to people who have a variation of a certain gene. The research found that around 50 per cent of the world's population have a mutation on this gene.

How long should you soak brussel sprouts in salt water? ›

Contributed by Whole Foods Market, Inc. To prepare, soak Brussels sprouts in a bowl of cold, salted water for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F.

Why do you soak brussel sprouts in salt water overnight? ›

For best results, soak your Brussels sprouts in salt water. Not only does salt act to tenderize the dense sprouts, but it will also help to season them all the way through. It won't take a lot -- just add 1 tablespoon of salt per 1 quart of water and toss in trimmed and halved Brussels sprouts.

Should you cut brussel sprouts in half before cooking? ›

To maximize the flat areas, which get the most crispy surface area, cut your Brussels sprouts in half. If your Brussels sprouts are very small, you can leave them whole (and if they are very large, quarter them).

Which is healthier broccoli or brussel sprouts? ›

While broccoli may have a higher count of calories, fat, and carbs, it is richer in calcium, iron, and pantothenic acid (a B vitamin that does wonders for healthy hair), and has a bit more potassium. Brussels sprouts, on the other hand, are lower in sodium.

How many times a week should you eat brussel sprouts? ›

Adding even just one or two servings of Brussels sprouts to your diet a few times a week can help you meet your vitamin C needs. Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that's important for immune health, iron absorption, collagen production, and the growth and repair of tissues.

Do brussel sprouts cleanse the liver? ›

Brussel Sprouts

They stimulate detox enzymes found in the liver and may also be protective to cells. This enzyme action helps remove toxins from the blood and support the liver. Brussels sprouts also contain antioxidants that prevent cell damage.

What season is best for brussel sprouts? ›

A slow-growing, long-bearing crop, Brussels sprouts should be planted in early spring, or mid- to late summer for a crop that matures in the fall. The small heads mature best in cool and even in light frosty weather. Spring planting is also fine in cooler climates.

Who made brussel sprouts taste better? ›

A Dutch scientist named Hans van Doorn, who worked at a seed and chemical company, figured out exactly which chemical compounds in Brussels sprouts made them bitter. The next step was to plant sprouts with the least amount of these chemicals and eventually cross-pollinate the chemicals out.

What meat goes best with brussel sprouts? ›

When we think about which meats go with Brussels sprouts, bacon usually comes to mind first. Upgrade that to prosciutto, add poultry and fish to the list, and leave room on the menu for steak.

How can I improve the taste of Brussels sprouts? ›

but we do know that salt takes down the bitterness of Brussels sprouts. It's not entirely clear how or why salt counters bitterness, but it does. Make sure you salt Brussels sprouts at the beginning of the cooking process. And then go in with a good pinch of sea salt or kosher salt before serving.

Why am I not getting brussel sprouts? ›

The usual cause is poor soil, lack of growth and especially the use of non-hybrid cultivars. Only hybrid cultivars can be relied on to produce firm sprouts. Excessive nitrogen fertiliser is not implicated in loose sprout formation.

What is the genetic aversion to brussel sprouts? ›

"People with certain genetic variants in the TAS2R38 gene can detect bitter taste more than others and therefore may be more likely to dislike sprouts,” 23andMe senior product scientist Alisa Lehman recently told the Daily Record.

How do I eat more brussel sprouts? ›

Add chopped Brussels sprouts to a vegetable pot pie recipe. Add Brussels sprouts to stir-fry. They are delicious with sweet onions, carrots, and snow peas. Steam Brussels sprouts and coat with a mixture of vegetable broth and mustard.

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