brussels sprouts, three ways

Brussels sprouts are much maligned, for only one reason. Most of us have eaten brussels sprouts overcooked to the point of being grey, thrown into hot water and boiled to death. It’s easy to forget they are a green vegetable.

Overcooking ruins most vegetables but particularly brussels sprouts. They’re tender and green. They’re also part of the cabbage family, so overcooking them gives them that bitter, musky taste of badly cooked cabbage. Please don’t do this to your family.

Here are three ways to cook brussels sprouts that could change your mind about this vegetables.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pancetta and Goat Cheese

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups olive oil
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
20 brussels sprouts, cleaned and outer leaves removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, cooked and chopped
2 ounces soft goat cheese

First thing, make the dressing
This is as easy as it looks in the video. You can do this with a glass with a lid or even in a bowl. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and mix.

Grating the brussels sprouts. Cut the thick ends off each brussels sprout. Either grate the brussels sprouts in your food processor, with the grater attachment, or you can use a knife and slice them as thinly as possible. Place them in a large bowl.

Cooking the pancetta. Set a pan over medium-high heat. Pour in the olive oil. When the oil is hot, put 1/3 of the pancetta slices into the pan. When the pancetta starts to shrink and crisp, turn it over and crisp up the other side. Remove from the pan and do the same with the remaining slices.

Chop up the pancetta and set aside. (I’d also save the pancetta fat for another cooking project, later.)

Assembling the salad. Toss the brussels sprouts with the lemon vinaigrette and mix it really well. (Add a little at a time. You can always add vinaigrette but you can’t take it away). Top the salad with the pancetta and the goat cheese.

Feeds 8.

Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions

40 brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
1 large white onion, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Preparing the brussels sprouts. Remove the outer leaves of the brussels sprouts and remove the stump of the brussels sprouts. Cut all the brussels sprouts in half lengthwise. Set aside.

Cooking the bacon. Set a large pan over medium high heat. Cut the bacon into large dice. Add the olive oil to the pan and add the bacon. Cook the bacon until crisp, stirring ocassionaly so you don’t burn it. When the bacon is crisp, remove the bacon and half the fat and set aside.

Cooking the onion. Put half of the onions in the remaining bacon fat in the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add half of the brussels sprouts. Cook until the brussels sprouts are softened and begin to caramelize, about 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t stick. Add half the fresh thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a bowl and cover. Keep in a warm place.

Pour the remaining bacon fat in the pan. When it is hot, cook the rest of the onion, brussels sprouts, and thyme.

Feeds 8.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Rosemary

40 brussels sprouts, cut in half
5 shallots, peeled and quartered
5 cloves garlic, sliced in half lengthwise
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1/4 cup water
1 cup whole hazelnuts, rough chopped and toasted
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
juice 1/2 lemon

Preparing to cook. Heat the oven to 450.

Preparing the brussels sprouts. Remove the outer leaves of the brussels sprouts and remove the stump of the brussels sprouts. Cut all the brussels sprouts in half lengthwise. Set aside.

Toss the brussels sprouts, shallots, garlic, and rosemary into a casserole pan with the olive oil. Make sure all the vegetables are coated then season them with salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup water.

Cover the pan with foil.

Cook the brussels sprouts in the oven until they are soft and bright green, about 35-45 minutes.

Put the brussels sprouts on a lovely platter and garnish with the toasted nuts and squeeze the lemon juice on top.

Feeds 8.

16 comments on “brussels sprouts, three ways

  1. Bren

    OMG – I LOVE Brussels Sprouts posts because we all LOVE them in our house. When my son was tiny it was his favorite veggie; I can picture him now in the high chair, banging his fat little fists on the tray, demanding more “Bussa pouts, bussa pouts!!!”

    We love them tossed with a similar dressing with a teeny bit of pureed chipotle peppers (whenever I have some left over, I whizz ’em up, pat them flat in a zipper baggie and freeze so I can break off a piece or a chunk when I want that smoky heat), a small handful of dried cranberries and a dusting of finely chopped hazlenuts…….YUM!

    Thanks for the ideas – I just got some on the stalk and was looking for a new twist!

  2. gluten free gift

    Liking the idea of roasting them in the oven – easy! I grew up with them boiled (British!) – didn’t really recognize the potential in these super veggies until a few years ago. Loving them! Thanks to you both for freshening my approach… cc

  3. Kathy

    Brilliant video! I learned new ideas, and some tweaking that I can do to making a familiar recipe even better! Brilliant and timely.
    Thank you

  4. manuela garcia

    I HATE brussel sprouts, but I´m going to try them your way. Your three ways. If you manage to make me like them, my deceased mother might visit you in your sleep and give you a big thank you kiss. Just sayin’.

  5. farmerpam

    I LOVE brussel sprouts! I’m always up for trying them a different way. But the old stand by is sauteed with garlic and olive oil. I like the idea of lemon, will have to try that.

  6. Sue

    Dang! Just found this site, and saw these recipes after I put my sprouts in the oven to roast with olive oil, kosher salt and prosciutto! Will see how they turn out, but saved some so I can try one these next.

  7. Jess

    MMM – a few years ago I “discovered” brussels sprouts, and have never gone back. I could easily eat all three of these varieties in one sitting – thank you for the great ideas!

  8. Becky

    I roast them in the oven with olive oil, balsamic, and sea salt, until they get a little bit crispy. My husband actually will get excited when he sees that they are the vegetable du jour. Will have to try these methods, too.

  9. Daphne

    I love brussel sprouts. I’ve never thought of adding water and covering them while roasting. I’ll definitely try these. And my boys will love the bacon. 🙂


  10. Megan

    I know I’m a few days late, but I cracked up pretty hard with the request not to do this to your family. I agree with y’all completely though. I adore brussells sprouts but they really have to be cooked the right way or else even a diehard fan will be grossed out.

  11. hether

    The Brussels Spouts salad you posted a couple years ago has become a staple at our table. It was the first recipe that got my kids eating these terrific veggies. They now eat them roasted as well. Yum.

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