Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Apples with Tofu

A Brussels sprout recipe for people who think they might not like them. Shredded Brussels sprout ribbons, apples, garlic, pine nuts, and tofu in a skillet with a hint of maple syrup.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Apples with Tofu

I bought a three-foot stretch of Brussels sprouts the other morning at the farmers' market. For those of you who've never encountered the spectacle of Brussels sprouts still on the stalk, it is something to behold. A thick, stick-straight center stalk is punctuated by tight, green Brussels sprout pom-poms. It looks fantastically prehistoric. And while it doesn't fit very nicely in my market basket, once I get it home the sprouts will keep nicely this way - seemingly longer than off the stalk.
Brussels Sprouts on Stalk
I buy sprouts on the stalk whenever I can, and typically get three or four sprout-centric meals out of each, breaking off the buds as needed. In this case I combined shredded Brussels sprout ribbons, apples, garlic, pine nuts, (and tofu if you like) in a skillet with a hint of maple syrup.
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Apples with Tofu
I know not all are Brussels sprout fans, but based on some of the emails you've passed along to me, this golden-crusted Brussels sprout recipe seems to be a well-received gateway recipe for people who thought they didn't like Brussels sprouts, but really do. You could start there, and then make the jump to this recipe if you're at all apprehensive. Or, I highlight a few other ideas down below....

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Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Apples with Tofu

4.5 from 8 votes

Feel free to leave out the tofu if you like - I add it to make this a one skillet meal. I used the Wildwood Organics baked savory tofu here, it browns up nicely and holds its shape - though any extra-firm tofu will work. If you don't feel like shredding the Brussels sprouts, you could do a version of this recipes cutting them into quarters instead - a bit quicker as far as prepping the ingredients goes.

  • 1 large, crisp apple, cut into bite-sized wedges
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 4 ounces extra-firm tofu cut into tiny-inch cubes (see photo)
  • a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
  • a couple splashes of olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • a scant tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
  • 12 ounces (3/4 pound) Brussels sprouts, washed and cut into 1/8-inch wide ribbons
  1. Soak the apples in a bowl filled with water and the juice of one lemon.
  2. Cook the tofu in large hot skillet with a bit of salt and a splash of oil. Saute until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, wait a few seconds, now stir in the maple syrup, and cook another 30 seconds or so. Drain the apples, and add them to the skillet, cooking for another minute. Scrape the apple and tofu mixture out onto a plate and set aside while you cook the Brussels sprouts.

  3. In the same pan (no need to wash), add a touch more oil, another pinch of salt, and dial the heat up to medium-high. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the shredded Brussels sprouts. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring a couple times (but not too often) until you get some golden bits, and the rest of the sprouts are bright and delicious.

  4. Stir the apple mixture back into the skillet alongside the Brussels sprouts 1/2 of the pine nuts - gently stir to combine. Remove from heat and enjoy immediately sprinkled with the remaining pine nuts. This isn't a dish you want sitting around, the flavors change dramatically after ten minutes or so, and I think that is part of the reason Brussels sprouts get a bad rap. Even I don't like them after they've been sitting around.


Serves 2 - 3 as a main, 4 as a side.

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Just wondering, why do you soak the apple in water and lemon juice? HS: Hi Heather, it's just to keep the apples from browning. You could certainly cut them just before using, and skip the water/lemon.


One year for New Years Eve we had a progressive dinner party. As a die-hard fan of anything grilled, I saw a stalk of b-sprouts at the local health food store and decided to throw them on my barbeque. It was very dramatic and pretty darn tasty. I made a lightly sweet dressing of olive oil and cider vinegar with some shallots. I carved the whole thing at the table like it was some kind of crazy roast beast. Spectacular and delicious!


I'll readily admit that I've never had a truly fresh brussels sprouts - only frozen (which, yes, are fresh-frozen, but still!) Unless I go to Whole Paycheck I don't see them on the stalk. But I'm going to check the Farmer's Market now that there's a chill in the air. I love roasted brussels sprouts and haven't made them in quite awhile!


I have never actually cooked brussel sprouts -- ack! This doesn't seem too hard to try though...

Fit Bottomed Girls

Have never bought the stalks (though I love seeing them at the farmer's market!) Do the sprouts keep longer that way? Does the giant stalk fit in your fridge?


I have to say that I'm not usually a fan of brussel sprouts but you make it look really good. Might have to just give them a try!

Tabitha (From Single to Married)

I agree - like most veggies we had - and hated - as kids, most of us didn't grow up eating fresh brussels sprouts! I love 'em like this and can't wait to try this recipe. But if it's OK with you, Heidi - I'm going to try it with hickory smoked tofu. Mmmm, mmmm! I can't wait to try it! Thanks for the inspiration!


It took cinnamon, butter, nuts, and a little sugar for me to like brussel sprouts. So now I'm trying to branch out, and this seems like a perfect opportunity to do that.


It took cinnamon, butter, nuts, and a little sugar for me to like brussel sprouts. So now I'm trying to branch out, and this seems like a perfect opportunity to do that.


I love brussel sprouts. I never realized how they grew. Thanks for that. Shredded sounds so good. Of course, I might like to see them with grilled sausage. Can't wait to try it.


I've bought them on the stalk (the first time I saw them this way, I simply couldn't resist) - but there is the problem of fitting the stalk in the fridge. Do you leave them out in a container of water, like a cut flower? Or do they do OK just out? Do they just leave them out overnight in the store? Or do they stay fresher because they did have longer on the stalk, while they were transported? (I think when I bought them before, I cut them off when I got home because that was the only way they fit in the fridge). HS: Hi Mouse, I break the stalk in half, place each piece in a bag, and then place them in the refrigerator.


I am a brussel sprout convert because of the golden crusted recipe in SNC! Can't wait to try this one. The only thing is that I have yet to see organic brussel sprouts available anywhere near me...odd...

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?



hooray! this is going on my list of potential thanksgiving dinner recipes.


these photos are gorgeous and the recipe makes my mouth water! (and- i admit- i've never even had a brussel sprout!) i'll be trying this recipe out this weekend- can't wait!


Simply beautful, Heidi. Even my toddler son will eat this up! (But he already digs brussel sprouts, so we're lucky.) Props to continued EZ healthy ideas.

Tom Marsh

Wow I never knew that they sprouted on stalks, I some how imagined that they just grew like miniature versions of cabbages. A question about the stalk though, is that edible raw or should it (can it) be cooked? When I buy vegetables I try to use all parts of it (ie radish greens, cauliflower leaves, etc.). It sorta resembles broccoli stalks.

Jannet Fahn

Definitely will have to try this one. I have made the Carmelized Tofu recipe with Brussel Sprouts about 10 times now...this is similar and sounds delicious! Cannot wait to try it!


cannot wait to try this! i've already made your golden-crusted sprouts recipe a couple times this season, but i love the idea of adding apples. yes, those stalks are a bit cumbersome for the farmer's market basket!


Will definitely have to try this one, I absolutely love brussels sprouts and I might even go as far to say they are my favourite vegetable. Looks an interesting and really delicious recipe.

Sarah Bell

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