I thought I'd share my all-time favorite brussels sprouts recipe with you. It's a slightly extended version of the one I included in Super Natural Cooking, but to be honest, calling it a recipe is a bit of a stretch. It involves a skillet, less than five ingredients, about ten minutes of your time, and minimal culinary skills.
What makes this brussels sprout recipe special? It's so simple. And you end up with vibrant green, tender brussels sprouts that become deeply golden and crusty where they touch the pan. I then lightly dust them with cheese and serve. This time of year it's not unusual for us to cook them like this two or three times a week. Even if you're a sprout skeptic, this golden-crusted version has the ability to turn the most vigilant brussels sprout loathers around.
Buying good ingredients
A couple shopping tips before you get started, look for brussels sprouts that are on the small size and tightly closed. The tiny ones cook through quickly. Larger ones tend to brown on the outside long before the insides are done. When the weather is mild, I finish them with a lighter, salty cheese, like Parmesan. If it's stormy and cold, I opt for a heavier, more melty cheese, like a regular or smoked Gouda (or gruyere). Or(!), I'll skip the cheese altogether, and add a simple finishing shower of chopped nuts.
Cooking Brussels Sprouts:
My main quick pro-tip? Try not to overcook the sprouts, and eat them as soon as they come off the stove if at all possible. They're so great this way!
Many of you have made these over the years, and mentioned variations in the comments. I wanted to highlight a few!
Gina noted, "I made a riff on these tonight that you might enjoy too. I used butter in the pan instead of olive oil, and added about a teaspoon of horseradish at the end and tossed the sprouts in it with the heat off before I sprinkled with parm. I had a similar dish at Coppa in Boston once and have not stopped thinking about them."
Rachel brought the turmeric angle, "added a little turmeric to my salt and pepper, which brought in a nice flavor as well as a subtle golden glow."
And Jessa brings the citrus, "the only way I can eat them is roasted with toasted walnuts, and hit with some lemon juice, parmesan, and walnut oil right at the end. I also like zesting orange peel on them."
And the last two ideas?! Add two finely chopped cloves of garlic in the last minute of cooking, for any garlic lovers out there. Or, toss 2 tablespoons of your favorite pesto into to the skillet just as you finish cooking the brussels sprouts.
I also love brussels sprouts in this caramelized tofu. This Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Apple recipe is also A+.
Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts Recipe
Use brussels sprouts that are on the small size and tightly closed. You can finish these with many different types of cheese but I tend to go for Parmesan when the weather is good. I trade that in for heavier cheeses like gruyere or Gouda in colder weather. I tend to finish them off with toasted hazelnuts, walnuts, or almonds. I've also noted five variations on this recipe in the body of the post. Enjoy!
- 1 pound of small brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated cheese or chopped nuts - your choice!
Wash the brussels sprouts well. Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves. Cut in half from stem to top and toss in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Don't overheat the skillet, or the outsides of the sprouts will cook too quickly. Place the brussels sprouts in the pan flat side down (single-layer), sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt, cover, and cook for roughly 5 minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning. Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to gauge whether they're tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for a few more minutes.
Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized. Use a metal spatula to toss them once or twice to get some browning on the rounded side. Season with more salt, a few grinds of pepper, and a dusting of grated cheese (or nuts). While you might be able to get away with keeping a platter of these warm in the oven for a few minutes, they are exponentially tastier if popped in your mouth immediately.