How To Cook Brussels Sprouts

Oct 22, 2015

Brussels sprouts - talk about a vegetable that gets a bad rap. This cold weather crop is perhaps only second to lima beans when it comes to un-earned disdain. In fact, many people who say they "hate" Brussels sprouts likely haven't eaten them for years, if they've ever eaten them at all.

Brussels sprouts aren't difficult to prepare and when they're done well, they have a rich, nutty flavor that can be addictive. NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers likes them simply pan-fried in olive oil, "with a little fresh thyme thrown in." With a little heat, the edges brown and caramelize, bringing out their potential. 

Like their root vegetable brethren, Brussels sprouts also roast very well.  Here are a few variations on roasted sprouts to try:

Roasted Honey-Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Serves: 6
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. brussels sprouts, halved, stems and ragged outer leaves removed*
  • 3 tb. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tb. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with 2 tb. olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Transfer the Brussels sprouts to baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally to ensure even browning, until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
  3. Place Brussels sprouts back in bowl. Add remaining tb. olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey and toss to coat evenly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, then serve.

*If you have some Brussels sprouts that are very large, cut them into quarters. They should all be cut about the same size to ensure even cooking.

(From Once Upon A Chef)

Author’s Note: For a kick of spice, replace the balsamic vinegar with 1 tb. Sriracha.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple Pancetta Bacon Glaze
Credit via 2 Teaspoons

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple Pancetta Bacon Glaze

Serves: 6-8
Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 lb. Brussels sprouts (roughly one full stalk)
  • 2 tb. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 oz. pancetta or center cut bacon
  • 2 tb. real maple syrup (Find a NH sugar house here!)
  • ¼ c. white or red wine vinegar

Instructions

  1. Brussels Sprouts: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare Brussels sprouts by cutting lengthwise, scoring stem, and pulling off any super coarse outer leaves. Toss sprouts in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange sprouts cut side down on baking sheet or roasting pan. Roast sprouts in oven until fully cooked and browned, about 20 minutes.
  2. Glaze: Dice pancetta into small pieces. Sauté pancetta in a skillet, stirring frequently until fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Add maple syrup and vinegar and let simmer stirring often until reduced by half, about 2-5 minutes.
  3. Pour glaze over roasted Brussels sprouts and enjoy!

(From Two Teaspoons)

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Have sprout-skeptical eaters in your house? Try this recipe, which combines them with small fingerling potatoes and fresh herbs:

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary and Garlic
Credit via Oh She Glows

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary and Garlic

Serves: 4-5 as a side
Total time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 lb. fingerling potatoes
  • 3/4 lb. brussels sprouts
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tb. fresh minced rosemary
  • 1 tb. + 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. fine grain sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Rinse and scrub potatoes. Pat dry. Slice in half lengthwise and place into large mixing bowl.
  3. Cut off stem of Brussels sprouts and remove loose outer leaves. Rinse and pat dry. Place in bowl.
  4. Add the minced garlic, minced rosemary, oil, salt, pepper, and optional red pepper flakes into the bowl along with the potatoes and sprouts. Toss with your hands to combine and place on baking sheet.
  5. Roast for 35-38 minutes at 400 degrees, stirring once half way through baking. Potatoes will be golden and Brussels will be lightly charred when ready. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

(Adapted from Oh She Glows)

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And lest we forget, Brussels sprouts aren't limited to cold, snowy evenings. They also make a fine salad base as well. Word of Mouth host Virginia Prescott submitted the following recipe, a favorite:

Brussels Sprout Chiffonade

Serves: 4-6
Total time: 25 minutes

“Bending over a cutting board slicing Brussels sprouts into shreds might seem silly, but the result is a quick-cooking, bright-looking, fluffy slaw. (The French term chiffonade means, literally, “made of rags.”) The lime juice and cumin add lively notes, making this a terrific dish for very early spring, when steamed Brussels sprouts and other winter vegetables have lost their appeal and the tender young green things haven’t yet arrived.”

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 stick (4 tb.) unsalted butter (Author's note: if using salted, omit salt in recipe)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tb. fresh lime juice

Instructions

  1. Trim Brussels sprouts and halve lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into very thin slices.
  2. Heat 2 tb. butter in a 12-in. heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add half of sprouts, 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until sprouts are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  3. Cook remaining sprouts with remaining ingredients in the same manner. Transfer to bowl and stir in lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

(Recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook ed. by Ruth Reichl)