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

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4.43 from 7 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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This sounds fabulous. Since I usually cook for one, I'll try cooking the full batch of everything except the brussels sprouts, then just sauteing the sprouts fresh each evening and adding them into the rest of the heated up mixture.

Conflict Geek

I love waking up to recipes like this! My sister and I plan to make a brussels sprout salad for Thanksgiving, but haven't come up with a recipe yet. Something tells me this will be it! I love the shredded texture of the sprouts, and when they are paired with something sweet (like apples or caramelized shallots) - oh, it is sooo tasty. I could eat it for days.

Ellie from Kitchen Caravan

Is there something that would readily substitute for the maple syrup? I love the sound of this recipe, but we can't get maple syrup in my part of the world... HS: Hi Kim, you could do a light sprinkling of a tablespoon of fine-grain brown sugar.


Heidi: Perfect--love brussels sprouts (have some with me for lunch-- marinated in red wine viniagrette with pistachios)-- I will be using this recipe for Thanksgiving-- by the way, as much as I would like to buy them on the vine, I love the Trader Joe's bag-- cleaned and ready to be nuked! (sorry!)) By the way, love this site and your obvious love of wholesome and great-tasting food!


TYPO...I meant sound so good. They of course must be tasting good. I shall try. Thanks again.


I have to give credit to you to make the Brussel sprouts so good. You have a way with words. I read your intro to the recipe more than the recipe. Being a born vegetarian, I love your site and efforts. And have tried two of your recipes in Oct, being only one month that I stumbled upon your site. Thanks.


Hello Heidi, only you can take Brussels sprouts to new heights. Can't wait to try this. I live down the road from one of the major sprouts growers, so it's easy to get them on the stalk & yes, they do keep longer that way. Why are people afraid of the "s" in Brussels sprouts? It's for the city in Belgium, I believe.

judie La Flamme

This looks good. I too was never a brussels sprouts fan until I saw Lidia Bastianich make them - she separated the leaves (though I suppose shredding would work too), sauteed them with olive oil and garlic, maybe a TB of water if it's too dry, and finished with a TB of balsamic vinegar. Delicious. Couldn't keep my preteen daughter away from them.


I've been a fan of brussels sprouts (yes even the boiled version) since childhood. I'll definitely be trying this recipe soon.


I hate chopping. How do people think brussel sprouts would hold up in the food processor? I have read that shredded sprouts cook faster, and therefore lose some of the sulfur edge that a lot of people don't like. I'd like to try this but am unlikely to go through all the chopping.


I love brussels sprouts and I suspect much of the credit goes to my mother who served them to us kids by spinning them as "Barbie Cabbages." My sisters and I ate them up! This recipe looks delicious.

Carol Peterman

"sprout centric" I love it. Almost as cool as "far out, brussel sprout!"


After making the Pepita Salad for lunch, I made this offering for dinner! Delicious combination of flavors. Don't burn the sprouts even a little, or the whole house will be "cruciferied." Didn't have the savory Wildwood, so lightly dusted firm tofu cubes with corn starch and fried them instead. Also added a bit of homemade teriyaki sauce for the savory element. Thanks for dinner, Heidi!


I never had brussels sprouts as a kid (they are not a common veggie here) which I think is the reason I love them so much now! :) They are my favorite vegetable even if I only get them imported (and horribly expensive! oh to be able to get them on the stalk!) over here. I have a whole collection of brussels sprout recipes and this is going into it!!! :) Thank you!


Sounds really terrific and so easy to prepare. I am so glad I found your site for easy and nutritious vegetarian recipes.

Aly Levy

Huh! I have never seen brussel sprouts like that before! I haven't tried them as a child - I may have to give these another try! Thanks Heidi!


I am a freak for Brussels sprouts and am always experimenting with new ways to cook them. Love your idea.


I thought about making a brussel sprouts "potée" this lunch, your idea is much better and original, thanks ! You're the only the newsletter I receive and I neverregret it. Thanks a lot !!!


Love the sound of this combination! And shredded Brussels sprouts should be delicious. I'll opt to leave the tofu out.


I just saw some Brussels Sprouts stalks at the farmer's stand in Southampton this weekend. Your recipe is innovative.. I'll have to try it out!

Hilary @ Smorgasbite

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