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Monday, October 29, 2012

Steamed Honey Balsamic Brussel Sprouts and a Tale of Stalking

Some suggestions for using Brussels sprout stalks and a recipe for steamed sprouts

I've been stalking these stalks of Brussels sprouts at the Dane County farmers market since last year.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun, go ahead and groan if you must)

But what on earth to do with them?  Like a lot of people, hubby and I aren't huge fans of Brussel sprouts, although I don't mind them if done right.  But what is right?  And what to do with the Brussels sprouts stem?

I'd never seen sprouts on a stalk until we moved to Madison, WI last year and on our second day in town we hit up the famed Dane County farmers market.  I thought they were so neat looking, but it wasn't until last week that I finally bought a stalk for only $2, a great deal for a ton of sprouts.

Honey Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

 What I quickly came to realize is that Brussels sprouts are actually incredibly attractive looking!  I never really paid attention to how neat they are when you cut them up.  They may, in fact, be more photogenic than they are tasty.  That said, I will continue to eat them because they are part of the cabbage family and have strong anti-cancer properties.   

So how to prepare Brussels sprouts stalks?

Honestly, in my humble opinion I'm going to say don't bother with the stalk.  Attractive as it may be, cutting through a stalk is like trying to cut down a tree with a butter knife. Jennifer of My Morning Chocolate wrote a post about getting hot and sweaty trying to cut a stem if you want to know what it's like.  Plus, it seems the best way to soften them is to roast them, and I prefer steaming (explained below).

But if you want to use the stalks, here are some suggestions I've found:
Some of the best suggestions I found came from the site and this post on recycling brussels sprout stems.

1.  Apparently you can roast them, then peel the outer layer off the stem and nibble at it (like a corn on the cob, maybe?).  Wrap in tin foil and roast in the oven for 45min at 350F.

2.  Most other comments I've found just suggest that you roast the sprouts on the stem in the oven, then drizzle with sauce and slice off the sprouts.

3.  If you've got chickens, toss them the stem and let them play with it.

4. Shuck the sprouts off the stalk (as I describe below) and toss the stalk in the compost.  

So what about the best way to prepare Brussels sprouts?

Steaming.  I like steaming everything, really, but with sprouts boiling and/or roasting will destroy most of the anti-cancer properties, and can also make the flavour nasty and texture mushy, making the struggle to eat them almost pointless!  And anyway, they taste better steamed a little.  Here's how to prepare your sprouts for steaming. 

Remove the sprouts by snapping the sprouts downwards, or to the side of the stalk

Slice off a tiny bit from the bottom of the sprout (this part can be bitter and woody)

In a colander, wash your sprouts

Slice some of the larger sprouts in half so they'll all cook evenly

Stop and admire their beautifully coloured, tree-like innards. 

Now steam for 5-10 minutes in a steamer or colander placed over a large pot with a small amount of water.  Need a tutorial for steaming?  Check out my post on steaming patty pan squash. 

Honey Balsamic Sprouts

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp honey
salt to taste


Mix all ingredients together in a jar with a tight lid and shake until mixed.  Pour over sprouts. 

In these photos, I've served the sprouts with a bowl of warm quinoa.  It was actually really good and I even had seconds!

How do you like YOUR sprouts, and do you use the stalks?!  I'd love to hear your suggestions. 


  1. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures' Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  2. I Love brussels! Great information! Thank you for sharing! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) We had 101 awesome recipes! What a great resource we are creating!! Cindy from

    The winner of the Domata prize pack will be announced Thursday at the party!

    1. Thanks Cindy :) And thank you for hosting and pinning!


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