A lot of people tend to scrunch up their noses when they eat or just think about bitter veggies. An example of a notorious leafy green vegetable simply because of its bitterness is Brussels sprout. Brussels sprouts may look like delicious tiny cabbages, but their taste is just too different compared to the other type of vegetable. To make them tasty especially for picky eaters, you should know what goes good with Brussels sprouts.
But first, let’s convince ourselves, even more, to include Brussels sprouts in our goal to have a healthier lifestyle. Despite their unappealing taste, Brussels sprouts are extremely healthy. Funnily enough, almost every unappetizing vegetable is considered to be one of the healthiest ones. Broccoli is another perfect example. Anyway, Brussels sprouts have high levels of vitamins C and K. More importantly, they can also prevent cancer.
Without further ado, let’s learn what goes well with Brussels sprouts:
Bitter vegetables taste better when they are paired with sweet ingredients. You may add sugar to your Brussels sprout dish, but make your life easier with honey. Honey is sweeter than sugar, so you can really guarantee yourself that its flavor would instantly have an effect on the Brussels sprouts. An effective way to add honey is by making a vinaigrette out of it.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Due to its strong sour taste, apple cider vinegar effectively matches with the bitterness of Brussels sprouts. One way to add apple cider is by sauteing or braising the Brussels sprouts first. Then, simply add a couple of splashes into the vegetables. Wait a few minutes for every flavor to combine.
Acidity can completely eliminate bitterness. While pineapple has a good level of acidity, it can be very sweet because of its sugar compounds. For total acidity, lemon juice is a perfect choice. It also gives Brussels sprouts a refreshing aftertaste.
Another food that can dull out bitterness is cheese. It has a creamy, fatty taste that effectively conceals strong flavors. No wonder burgers and pizzas can have a lot of ingredients in just one dish without confusing your tongue. All they need is cheese to neutralize intense flavors and turn them into subtle tastes that “tickles” your taste buds. Just by thinking about Brussels sprouts covered in cheese, a person may forget that he actually hates the bitter vegetable.
From sweet to sour, let’s proceed to a salty ingredient. In fact, saltiness is effective even if the Brussels sprouts are still raw. For a more mouthwatering take on salty add-ons for bitter vegetables, let’s take it up a notch with bacon. You know what they say: “Everything’s better with bacon.”
For more intense saltiness, try the fish sauce with Brussels sprouts. A great way to combine these two is by adding acidity and sweetness. First, saute the Brussels sprouts with sweet onions. Then, add a little bit of sour vinegar and salty fish sauce. If you have not tasted the fish sauce before, it tastes just like soy sauce but more savory.
Why would we pair Brussels sprouts with another bitter vegetable like kale? It turns out that kale has more complex flavors that overshadow its bitterness even for just a little bit. Kale has an interesting combination of earthy and meaty flavors. When mixed with soft Brussels sprouts, it also provides texture because of its crispiness. To effectively combine these two bitter greens, lots and lots of Parmesan cheese and a sufficient amount of citrus juice work just fine.
Most of the time, barbecue sauce is sweet, sour, smoky and spiced. That is more than enough to conceal the bitterness of Brussels sprouts. This vegetable is a great side dish for barbecued meats. You may also add sweet potato wedges to match well with both components.
For Thanksgiving, Brussels sprouts can be a nice addition to the table as long as it is paired with other holiday favorites. Butternut squash is not only fit for the occasion, it also has a nutty-sweet taste that complements bitterness. To completely combine Brussels sprouts and butternut squash, maple syrup is a good equalizer.
Tart, sweet and bitter tastes go together pretty well. So, it is a no-brainer that cranberries are perfect with Brussels sprouts, especially in a salad. Just roast them inside the oven and toss them afterwards in a mixing bowl. To top it all off, add sugary balsamic reduction.
Curry spices, apricot vinegar, and plums make a pungent yet delicious sweet and sour sauce. With your sense of smell taking part in the experience, the bitterness of Brussels sprouts ultimately dies down and gives way to other exciting flavors.
In case this information is new to you, miso is a popular Japanese condiment. Interestingly, it is composed of koji fungus, salt, grains, and soybeans. The grains and soybeans must be cooked before mashing them. Additionally, barley and rice are common grains of miso. What makes miso more interesting is how it needs fermentation. The process may even take more than a year.
To be more specific, red and white miso are highly recommended for Brussels sprouts. Red miso specifically has a brick red color. Its grain is white rice. This type of miso needs two to three years just to completely ferment. The result is one salty paste with a strong savory taste and rich soy flavors.
Meanwhile, white miso can have a pale yellow color. Like red miso, it also uses white rice as its grain. Unlike red miso, however, it only needs three to four weeks of fermentation. That is why it has a mild flavor that perfectly balances savory, salty and sweet tastes.
Simply put, miso has a really complex flavor that combines well with bitter vegetables.
What Goes Good with Brussels Sprouts?
Brussels sprouts certainly have an off-putting bitter taste, but there are so many solutions for that. You can actually enjoy these vegetables while absorbing all of their nutrients to keep yourself healthy. In summary, bitterness becomes tolerable when paired with other flavors. The most common ingredients or foods to match bitter Brussels sprouts are sweet and sour ones.