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Purple Brussels Sprouts – Everything you Need to Know

Purple brussels sprouts are healthy, delicious, and make a gorgeous side dish! Here’s everything you need to know about where to buy and store them, how to cook them, and what to serve them with. Scroll to the bottom of the post for a recipe and instructions on roasting them, too!

a bowl of raw purple brussels sprouts

What are purple brussels sprouts?

Purple brussels sprouts are very similar to the green brussels sprouts you’re used to, but they’re purple! They’re so pretty and I always seek them out when they’re in season.

They’re not completely purple, however, in fact they have purple and green leaves. The purple color is quite obvious and vibrant though and makes for a gorgeous presentation in a dish.

How do purple brussels sprouts differ from green ones?

Although they’re very similar, there are a few small differences between a purple brussel sprout and the green ones you’re likely used to. If you haven’t tried a brussels sprout before, they have a taste that’s similar to cabbage.

Besides the obvious difference in color, there’s also a slight difference in flavor. Purple are slightly sweeter and not quite as pungent as the green brussels sprouts. They’re still earthy like the green variety but are a little milder in flavor.

purple brussels sprouts spilling out onto a wood cutting board

How do you buy and store purple brussels sprouts?

You can find these delicious beauties at farmers markets and in grocery stores when they’re in season (see below). I’ve also seen them at Trader Joe’s and other specialty markets. If you can’t find them locally, check online as there are several retailers who will deliver them right to your doorstep!

Regardless of their color, you’ll want to choose sprouts with tightly wrapped leaves. If they’re wilting at all, it’s better to pass since they won’t be as fresh or tasty once they’re cooked.

Once you get them home, store them in the refrigerator to keep them as fresh as possible until you’re ready to cook. They’ll keep for up to two weeks, although I always try to cook them as soon as possible – the fresher, the better!

When are purple brussels sprouts in season?

This depends on where you live. In the United States, milder climates (such as my beloved California) can grow them year-round. In colder climates (such as Wisconsin, where I grew up), they’re harvested in the fall.

Here in Virginia, where we have milder winters, they’re still harvested in the fall but the season is longer by as much as a month or more.

a stalk of purple brussels sprouts ready for harvest

How do you cook purple brussels sprouts?

Cook purple brussels sprouts the same way you would the green variety. I prefer roasted brussels sprouts them and have included the instructions in a recipe card at the bottom of this article. Roasting brussels sprouts until they’re nicely charred is an entirely different experience than boiling them!

It’s easy process, too: simply trim them, cut them in half, toss with some olive oil and salt, then put them in the oven at 425° F for about 45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes.

Another favorite way to cook purple sprouts is to grill them! Fall is the perfect time to break out the barbecue, which coincides nicely with when they’re in season. If you choose this method, you’ll need to cook them slightly first by either microwaving them for about three minutes or adding them to boiling water for about five minutes.

Once they’re partially cooked, thread them onto skewers and grill them for about 10 minutes directly over the flame (you want them to get slightly charred). Flip them halfway through to ensure they cook and char evenly.

You can also skip the cooking and shave purple brussel sprouts to use in a salad. They’re delicious as a replacement for lettuce.

Can purple brussels sprouts turn blue after cooking?

Yes, their purple hue can turn blue during cooking. They’re still gorgeous but you’ll want to keep this in mind so there are no surprises.

Although I haven’t tried it (I love it when they turn a little blue!) I’ve been told that adding a splash of vinegar will help keep the purple hue. I plan to try it the next time I grill them by adding a little vinegar to the water when boiling them during the pre-cooking process.

purple brussels sprouts spilling out onto a wood cutting board

What to serve with brussels sprouts?

Here are some dishes that go well with purple brussels sprouts:

  • They make a wonderful side to a juicy steak or prime rib
  • As a side dish to grilled chicken
  • They pair especially well with bacon, making them a great choice for a healthier breakfast (or try these low-carb bacon-wrapped brussels sprouts)
  • Roast some carrots or potatoes on the same pan for a colorful side dish
  • Try these Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan for a similar dish with a twist

Toppings, dipping sauces, and other ideas:

  • Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice or a small amount of balsamic vinegar over them when they’re just out of the oven to brighten the flavor
  • Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese (I do this almost every time I make them)
  • Dip them in maple syrup
  • Add chopped bacon or pancetta to the pan, toss with the sprouts, then roast as directed
  • Add whole garlic cloves to the pan before roasting (roasted garlic is even delicious on its own)
  • Dip them in mustard, especially a good stone-ground mustard
  • Whatever you do, make sure to season them well with coarse salt! This makes a HUGE difference in the final dish. Add a good amount of pepper, too, if you’re a pepper lover!

Can dogs eat brussels sprouts?

Yes, dogs can eat brussels sprouts and they’re good for them! (Having said that, I am NOT a vet nor qualified to give advice on this topic. Our vet told me that it’s good for them so I do give our dog, Molly, a few whenever I make them. Please talk to your own veterinarian before giving any to your own furry friends.)

One thing to mention is that, well…she gets pretty gassy after eating them and sometimes I wonder if it’s worth the trouble. She loves them though, so we just have a good laugh about it!

a white bowl of purple brussels sprouts sitting on a wood cutting board with a few sprouts cut in half
a white bowl of purple brussels sprouts sitting on a wood cutting board with a few sprouts cut in half

Roasted Purple Brussels Sprouts

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

You'll love this easy recipe for an easy, delicious side dish.

Ingredients

  • 24 oz purple brussels sprouts, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (or avocado oil)
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Slice the cleaned and trimmed brussels sprouts in half then place them on a sheet pan large enough so they're in one layer.
  3. Drizzle with the oil, salt, and pepper, then gently toss to coat them evenly. 
  4. Roast for approximately 45 minutes, until they're charred to your liking and cooked through, tossing them every 15 minutes.
  5. Enjoy immediately or at room temperature.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 617mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Kristy Bernardo
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