Upgrade Your Next Sandwich With Brussels Sprouts Instead Of Lettuce

Few vegetables have had the kind of amazing comeback that Brussels sprouts enjoyed over the last decade, and yet, that resurgence hasn't quite made it to sandwiches. Long on the receiving end of punchlines about healthy, poor-tasting food, people have woken up to how delicious Brussels sprouts can be if they are actually prepared right. Instead of bland, bitter, mushy sprouts that have been steamed or boiled, we get a browned, crispy treat with a tender center that can work well with all kinds of glazes and dressings. Well-made sprouts are so good on their own that they mostly get to star as the centerpiece of their own dishes, but how could something like that not be good on a sandwich as well?

Shredding some cooked Brussels sprouts brings a roasted complexity that lettuce just can't match. Cooking Brussels sprouts cuts down on their bitter taste and helps turn them sweet, while the browning associated with well-cooked sprouts creates more flavor that will add depth to sandwiches. They have an almost umami, earthy quality to them, which can really complement salty, savory meats. Lettuce is mostly included on sandwiches for texture anyway, and, even in that regard, Brussels sprouts can match it. While the leaves of Brussels sprouts will soften and wilt from cooking, the blackened edges will crisp up, and the center stem should stay firm if it's not overcooked. With Brussels sprouts, your sandwich gets more flavor without sacrificing any crunch.

Brussels sprouts pair well with plenty of classic sandwiches

You can start with standard halved and roasted Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper for your sandwich, just make sure you chop them up after they come out to make everything more bite-sized. If you want something a little quicker, you can shred your sprouts raw and sautee them in a pan with oil, and they should be done in less than 10 minutes. While seasoned Brussels sprouts should have plenty of flavor on their own, you can also cook them with a balsamic glaze, miso, soy sauce, or lemon and parmesan, depending on which tastes pair best with your sandwich.

Brussels sprouts will work well on many different sandwiches, but they'll go best with the same kind of ingredients they would get served alongside for dinner. Meats like turkey and roast beef, with their mild and salty flavor, will meld well with Brussels sprouts and benefit from their intense taste without clashing. Pulled pork and roast chicken are also great options in that vein. You don't need to bother with meat either. Brussels sprouts' savory flavor makes them great with avocado and tomato or hummus for a veggie sandwich, and they can even amp up a melty grilled cheese. In any sandwich where you want a little bit of crunch and some roasted green flavor, Brussels sprouts can be a great fit.