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Brussels sprouts are special in my memory; they remind me of my Granddad. Each Christmas, Granddad’s contribution to the family meal was Brussels sprouts. Mom always prepped them because his way was bland, i.e., boiled to obscurity. But that was my Granddad’s contribution, and I – including his great-grandkids, still love these seasonal “mini cabbages.”
- How to Meal Prep Brussels Sprouts
- Related Questions
How to Meal Prep Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables believed to have cancer-fighting properties. Apart from their health benefits, they are an excellent vegetable for meal prep. You can wash, peel, prep, and blanch them in advance, and they keep up in the fridge for up to three days.
How best do you meal prep these seasonal little green balls, or “baby cabbages,” as my kids like to call them? They are so versatile – you can add them to almost anything. And, if you taste more bitterness than sweetness and nuttiness, you can prepare them so that their bitter flavor is reduced.
Boiled Brussels Sprouts
Ok, so I’m starting with how my Granddad used to prepare Brussels sprouts – by boiling them. Bearing in mind, he was British, and they like to boil things – albeit excessively sometimes. Brussels sprouts, as forgiving as they are, needn’t be cooked to the point of mushiness. No. You can get away with boiling them in water for 5 to 10 minutes, tops.
Add a pinch or two of salt to the water and bring it to a boil. When the water is boiling, add your prepared Brussels sprouts and allow them to boil for a maximum of 10 minutes. To test if they are cooked, you can cut the base of a big sprout with a sharp knife; it should go through the base with relative ease and be firm to the touch.
If you’re eating them immediately, sprinkle some olive oil (or melted butter), salt, and white pepper to taste. For meal prep, you could do the same or add the condiments later if reheating.
Steamed Brussels Sprouts
Steamed Brussels sprouts take a little longer to cook than boiled Brussels sprouts. From the time the steam starts, it should take up to 15 minutes to steam through. Once cooked, you can serve them with simple condiments like salt and white pepper, with some butter or olive oil drizzled over.
Alternatively, the steamed Brussels sprouts can be added to prepped meals as bite-sized balls of goodness.
Blanched or Precooked Brussels Sprouts
As mentioned, you can precook Brussels sprouts a day in advance. Doing so helps to remove some of the bitterness that some people experience, as well as speed up cooking time. Precooked Brussels sprouts can be chucked into the roasting pan with gravy to heat up and add extra flavor before serving. Or they can be sauteed, grilled, or even frozen.
If you have a lot of Brussels sprouts (too much for one meal), you can prepare, blanch, and freeze them in smaller portions. I have found this particularly useful if you don’t have fresh greens on a day when making a roast or stew. Then they can be thawed and added to the meal towards the end.
Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts
A super tasty and easy way to meal prep Brussels sprouts is to stir-fry them. You can stir-fry raw or slightly blanched Brussels sprouts – depending on your preferences. When stir-frying, they become brown and caramelized, especially if cut in half. If not using a wok, you can sear the Brussels sprouts in one layer in a skillet. Then add a splash of water to steam and tenderize their cores.
If you add garlic to the oil, be sure to use chunks and not minced garlic to avoid it burning and becoming bitter. Then, just before serving, add soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and a sprinkle of sugar to add sweet, salty, and spicy flavors.
Stir-fried Brussels sprouts can be enjoyed on their own, with other stir-fries, or with steamed rice. Alternatively, they can be added as a side to a main meal, or leftovers can be added to warm or cold salads and grain bowls – perfect for meal prep.
Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad
Another delicious way to meal prep Brussels sprouts is to roast them. Once roasted, they can be added to glorious salads and drizzled with a vinaigrette.
To roast Brussels sprouts, prepare them by taking off the blemished leaves and trimming off excess pieces of stalks. Larger sprouts can be cut in half. Put them on a baking tray covered with parchment paper, drizzle over olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then remove and cool.
Once cooled, you can start building your salad. Excellent complementary ingredients include cranberries, pecans, bacon, gorgonzola, apple slices, pumpkin seeds, and fresh lemon juice. Then, serve with a balsamic vinaigrette.
Roasted Brussels sprouts salad is ideal for meal prepping. If you make a large salad, you can apportion it into food-safe containers such as sealable mason jars. To prevent the salad from becoming mushy, keep your vinaigrette or dressing separate.
Mashed Brussels Sprouts
Mashed Brussels sprouts are an excellent option for people who enjoy their flavor but not their texture. To make a smashed Brussels sprout salad, you first need to boil them for 8 to 10 minutes. Then, once drained, you can return them to the pot and mash them with a masher. Be sure to add a dollop of soft butter and some nutmeg, and mash to the desired consistency.
Mashed Brussels sprouts go well with chestnuts. Mix some chestnuts into the mashed sprouts and sprinkle some over the top for serving. This dish can be served cold or warm and is suitable as a side dish or for meal prepping.
How Should You Prepare Brussels Sprouts Before Cooking?
Brussels sprouts grow in rows on a stalk. If you buy them that way, twist off each sprout and trim away any leaves that are loose, yellow, or damaged. Larger Brussels sprouts can be scored at the base or cut in half before cooking to ensure they are cooked evenly. Smaller Brussels sprouts needn’t be scored or halved, as that will risk them cooking to mushiness.
Can You Parboil or Prepare Brussels Sprouts in Advance?
Brussels sprouts can be parboiled a day in advance to reduce their final preparation time. Parboiling them in salt water helps to reduce their bitterness and soften their texture to the core. Then, on the day of preparation, the Brussels sprouts can be grilled, sauteed, or caramelized just before serving.
Can You Eat Brussels Sprouts Raw?
Brussels sprouts can be eaten raw, but cooking them will prevent bloating and flatulence. The sugars in uncooked Brussels sprouts can be difficult for some to digest; however, cooking them improves digestibility. Additionally, people with thyroid issues should eat cooked Brussels sprouts as the cooking process destroys the thyroid inhibitors present.
How Long Do Cooked Brussels Sprouts Last in the Fridge?
Cooked Brussels sprouts can last in the fridge for two to three days, provided they are in a sealed mason jar or equivalent.
When Is Brussels Sprout Season?
Brussels sprouts are seasonal vegetables at their best in the winter months. They come into the season in October, which ends in March.
Brussels sprouts make an excellent option for meal prepping because they are so versatile and can last in the refrigerator, cooked, for up to three days. They can also be prepared a day in advance without spoiling them if you know you’ll have a big cook-up the next day. Depending on how you prepare them, brussels sprouts can be frozen into meal-prepped portions.
Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. He is a contributing chef at Mashed, and his recipes and contributions have been featured in Tasting Table, Edible Arrangements, Insanely Good Recipes, and The Daily Meal.