To a child’s palette, Brussels sprouts are the stuff of dinnertime nightmares.

The miniature heads of cabbage sat untouched until everything else had been eaten or cleared away. The veggies were fed to the dog, buried under mashed potatoes or hidden in a napkin.

Kids would do anything to avoid eating them. But in the hands of a growing field of culinary maestros, the Brussels sprout isn’t just tolerable, it’s in demand.

So often the scourge of childhood dinners, Brussels sprouts are experiencing a resurgence in foodie circles. The vegetables have popped up on pizza, roasted with bacon and maple glaze and shredded for a healthy, flavorful slaw.

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To the people who are taking advantage of the versatile veggie, they have a chance to rescue it from culinary purgatory and find creative new ways to bring out its flavor.

“Brussels sprout have a bad rap because of the stuff you buy in a can or the stuff you buy frozen. The way people are used to eating them was their grandma cooked them and hammered them, so they smell like bad cabbage,” said Mark Henrichs, chef and co-owner of Revery in Greenwood. “Instead of doing that, we’re going a step beyond.”

In the open-kitchen at Revery, chef and co-owner Danny Salgado transformed the everyday Brussels sprout into a work of art. Chopped sprouts were sautéed with Brie cheese and bacon cured in-house.

The result was the salty-sweet concoction that played off the vegetable’s sweet and slightly bitter flavor. While the sprouts are in season, Revery has been going through 75 pounds of them a week.

“A lot of people are searing them really hard and roasting them to get that caramelized flavor,” Henrich said. “Danny came up with Brie, and bacon really complements them really well. It’s probably our No. 1 seller.”

According to Zagat 2015 Diner Survey, people liked Brussels sprouts more than other trendy foods such as beets, kale and bacon. The dish was identified in this year’s National Restaurant Association culinary forecast as a perennial favorite and top 20 trendy produce item.

“Brussels sprouts are huge. Everybody loves to eat them. Everybody is doing roasted Brussels sprouts or doing Brussels sprouts salad and shaving them down,” Henrich said. “We did all of that, and we want to be on something new.”

Some of the region’s best eateries feature them prominently on their menus.

Bluebeard in the Fountain Square neighborhood serves the vegetables in a salad with a sweet-and-sour agrodolce and pickled red onion. Mass Avenue’s Pizzology features them shaved on pizza with goat cheese, caramelized onions and olive oil.

And area growers are noticing that more people are buying them to fix on their own.

According to the most recent agricultural census in the U.S., compiled in 2012, 658 farms grew Brussels sprouts on 7,569 acres. That’s up from 483 farms on 3,874 acres in 2007.

Stout’s Melody Acres in Franklin offers Brussels sprouts throughout the winter.

Owner Randy Stout typically starts his 10,000 sprout plants indoors in May, then transfers them to the fields in June. The vegetables take 90 to 100 days to reach maturation, which means they’re ready in October.

Sometimes, harvest lasts into December. The plants can survive temperatures as cold as 13 degrees, and unlike most produce items, a little bit of frost is good for them, Stout said.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but once they get a frost or freeze on them, they get sweeter. We don’t even touch them until we’ve had a hard frost,” he said.

That means it is a rare cold-weather produce item that is readily available in Indiana. Part of the cabbage family, the sprouts are rich in riboflavin, iron and magnesium, as well as supplying dietary fiber and vitamins.

Selling at the Indy Winter Farmers Market, Stout typically sells about 60,000 to 70,000 sprouts a week. That number has held steady for the past three years, which actually shows how popular the vegetable has become. 

He’s kept his sales level even as more vendors have started selling Brussels sprouts at the market.

“When we first started, we were the only ones who has these Brussels sprouts,” he said. “Now, there are two or three other vendors that have them. People want what’s in season, and the demand is only increasing.”

Brussels Sprout Casserole


  • 1½ tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • 1½ tablespoon flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup cooked or canned tomatoes
  • 1½ cup cooked Brussels sprouts
  • Fine bread or cracker crumbs mixed with melted butter


Heat the fat in the fry pan. Add the celery and onion and cook slowly until they are yellow. Blend in the flour, salt and pepper, and add the tomatoes.

Stir and cook until the mixture is thick.

Put the Brussels sprouts into the greased baking dish and add the tomato mixture. Sprinkle the crumbs over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes.

— Recipe from the Utah State University Cooperative Extension

Brussels Sprouts Dijon


  • 25 Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper


Steam Brussels sprouts until tender.

Melt butter in heavy frying pan. Add mustard to sprouts.

Cook for approximately three minutes. Add garlic. Cook for two more minutes.

Toss with Parmesan cheese and ground pepper and serve.

— Recipe from the Utah State University Cooperative Extension

Brussels Sprouts Sauté


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cup Brussels sprouts halved
  • 1 leek, cut into ½-inch thick slices
  • 2 large carrots, cut into ½-inch thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Sour cream, optional


Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Sauté Brussels sprouts for three minutes.

Stir in leek and carrot; sauté two minutes.

Add water, cover and steam five minutes, or until Brussels sprouts are crisp‐tender. Add additional water if necessary.

Sprinkle with caraway seeds, salt and pepper.

— Recipe from the Utah State University Cooperative Extension

Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727.