Brussels sprouts are often referred to as baby cabbages, but there’s more to them than meets the eye. They truly belong to the same plant family as cabbages, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re mutually interchangeable, and here are a few things that make them different.
Cabbage and Brussels sprouts are easy to tell apart from each other while they’re still in the ground—and not only because they’re different sizes. Cabbages grow their large heads close to the ground, while tiny sprouts grow on a tall central stem.
The two plants also have different nutritional values. Cabbages have fewer calories than Brussels sprouts, but they’re not just as nutritious. Sprouts contain higher concentrations of vitamins A and C, potassium, and magnesium than their larger cousin, while cabbages score higher on calcium and sugar content.
From the culinary point of view, Brussels sprouts have a more bitter taste than cabbages and that’s the main difference between them. They don’t taste so great when eaten raw, so they’re mostly served boiled, steamed, stir-fried, grilled, or roasted, while cabbages are a better pick for salads and slaws.