While I’m obsessed with Brussels sprouts, I’ve had a hard time getting restaurant-worthy results at home. I’ve tended toward roasting them, but often the outsides get burnt before the insides are soft and sweet – even when I follow some of my favorite blogger and cookbook author recipes. Because I deeply, deeply love Brussels sprouts (I really can’t overstate this love – I’ve literally never seen them on a restaurant menu and not ordered them), I kept experimenting, making Brussels every which way and painstakingly testing the results. Below you will find, in my honest opinion, the best way to cook Brussels sprouts and some ways to take them to the next level
Let me digress for a moment though. If you’re one of those people who’ve held out on the Brussels sprout trend, who still don’t think they’re the most delicious nuggets on the planet, you’ve been making them wrong. When prepared properly, the outside of a Brussels sprout is brown, crispy and sweet, and the inside cedes in your mouth. Remember Gushers from the 90s? The Brussels sprout is the vegetable version of that. Promise. You just need to use the right technique to coax out their amazing texture and flavor.
The method I landed on combines a quick steam with a sauté. I did this for a number of reasons: the steaming ensures the center is perfectly soft every time, while the sauté perfectly browns the outsides, creating the desired Maillard reaction without any risk of burning.
Because you’re using a pan, any Brussels leaves that fall off are easily kept moist, pressed in with the other sprouts, instead of drying out and turning into charcoal dust on a baking sheet. Finally, I don’t know how your holiday meals go, but at mine, there’s always a fight for the oven. Rather than jockeying for a slot between the Aunt Sally’s sweet potatoes and Grandma Dorothy’s pie, you can pop over to the stove, toss these around for a second, and be done with the whole thing. Plus, for all the non-holiday times you find yourself craving Brussels (for me, most weekday evenings), you don’t have to wait for the oven to heat up, and go through the whole roasting process. These take about 20 minutes, start to finish.
Once you have your basic Brussels sprouts perfected, you can season them any which way. May I suggest:
- Adding salt and pepper to taste, letting their sweet and nutty flavor shine through
- Tossing with hot honey, or honey of choice with a sprinkle of cayenne
- Tossing with this beautiful mint parsley pepita sauce, a fresh take on a chimichurri (you could also go with a classic pesto)
- Mixing it up with a little za’atar, ras el hanout or dukkah
Whatever you do – make these Brussels sprouts. Once you try this method, I can promise you’ll never go back.Print
- 3 cups Brussels sprouts
- 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- Cut the white end off the Brussels sprouts; remove any browned leaves and cut any large sprouts in half.
- In a pot with 1 inch of water and a lid, a steamer, or a microwave, steam sprouts for 5 – 8 minutes, or until bright green.
- In a medium pan, melt coconut oil over medium heat.
- Add Brussels sprouts, salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 – 10 minutes, or until outsides are a deep, rich brown.
- Toss with sauce or seasoning of choice (see list in the notes, below) or sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve. Makes 2 large or 4 small (side) servings.
- While these are great with just salt and pepper to taste, they also make a great base for a number of great flavor combos. You can toss with hot honey (or honey of choice with a sprinkle of cayenne), toss with this beautiful mint parsley pepita sauce (a fresh take on a chimichurri), toss with a classic pesto, or mix it up with a little za’atar, ras el hanout or dukkah.