According to a 2008 research study by Heinz, Brussels sprouts are the most-hated vegetable in America. Dietitians would tend to disagree! Not only are Brussels sprouts one of the most powerful foods in fighting disease and providing nutrients, but they are one of the tastiest vegetables available.

According to Forbes magazine, Brussels are making a comeback as one of the Top 10 Food Trends for 2014 and for good reason. They are packed with nearly all your daily needs for vitamin K, which is essential for blood clothing and bone health. They are a member of the cruciferous vegetable family and contain cancer-protecting compounds and glucosinolates, which stimulate the body's natural detoxification system. As a matter of fact, their total glucosinolate content has been shown to be greater than the amount found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and broccoli. Brussels are also an excellent source of vitamin C which helps maintain a healthy immune system, and they contain lutein and zeaxathin, two nutrients important for healthy vision.

Chefs and culinary experts will agree that Brussels sprouts are a fun vegetable to experiment with in the kitchen because they are extremely versatile. Try them oven-roasted, steamed, sautéed, candied, boiled, grilled or raw. Even the frozen varieties are delicious!

If you're looking to try Brussels sprouts and want a quick preparation method, we suggest roasting them. Roasting is a terrific way to prepare vegetables. It's easy, quick and improves flavor. All vegetables have a small amount of naturally occurring sugar; roasting at high temperature caramelizes those sugars and causes chemical reactions that reduce bitter flavors. If you over-cook some vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, the sulfur compounds (which taste bitter) go through another chemical reaction, which causes even more bitter compounds and stinky flavors.

Caramelized Brussels sprouts

serves 4

All you need: 12-14 large Brussels sprouts 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced Pinch sea salt 2 teaspoons brown sugar 1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted Optional: fresh orange juice, minced fresh ginger

All you do: • Slice each Brussels sprout very thinly until you have a mound of feathery Brussels sprout ribbons. • Heat the olive oil over medium-high in a large skillet and sauté the garlic for 30 seconds. • Add the Brussels sprouts and continue sautéing for another 4-5 minutes, until bright green and tender. • Add sea salt and brown sugar and toss together. Finish by adding toasted nuts. Optional: squeeze a few tablespoons of fresh orange juice over dish or add some minced fresh ginger for some extra heat. • Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition facts pers serving: 110 calories, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 trans fat, 0 cholesterol, 15 g sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 3 g protein. Vitamin A 8%, Vitamin C 80%, Calcium 4%, Iron 6% Source: Hy-Vee dietitians

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at