11 Imaginative Recipes to Reinvent the Humble Brussels Sprouts!

Normally when I write a food column like this I have made at least a few of the recipes in it, but not this time.  Hopefully the opportunity will arise over the holidays to try a few of these in the family menus, but if I get one in I'll feel grateful. WHY? My family are just not fans of most of the cabbage family, especially when cooked.  I, however, crave every member often and in large quantities. The latest salad mix I get for myself involves kale and raw Brussels Sprouts - nirvana!

      Fun Fact - Who put the Brussels in 
      Brussels sprouts? The Belgians, 
      of course. The sprouts were first 
      cultivated in large quantities in Belgium 
      in the late 1500s, and introduced to the 
      U.S. in the 1800s.

When your husband in particular goes to great lengths in front of the kids to explain all the reasons he doesn't like a vegetable, it's sure to have a strong impact.  But I have come in recent years to feel that with all the fusion and modern recipes out there, that there must be some way to make Brussels Sprouts that my family can enjoy at least in a small way.  Enter the internet and newspaper.  What great resources.

It all began with an article by  for Canada.com called Ingredient of the Week: Brussels Sprout. Nine glorious recipes to try - a few with real potential.  As someone who grew up with frozen vegetables and at my husbands request, still offer them - I was very excited to give these a try.  They are from a variety of sources, so offer a wide range of taste possibilities. Top on the list to try first are - Roasted with Guyere Cheese, the warm salad and the quick saute.

Then the top recipe I actually found just yesterday in the Vancouver Sun. Karen Barnaby's recipes have a high success rate for me, so I chose to put it first. Everyone seems to have different taste preferences when it comes to any food, so there is never any guarantee, but the last few of her recipes I have tried were hits with the whole family. Now to see if her take on Brussels Sprouts can bring my family from the dark side into the light and where they can embrace the humble sprout.

Image by Richard Lim, Vancouver Sun
Tamari Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Makes 8 servings

From Karen Barnaby - Executive Chef and Food Columnist for the Vancouver Sun. Tamari is a dark, and usually wheat-free soy sauce. When these ingredients are roasted together, the tamari and sesame oil lose their distinctly separate flavours and become unified into a rich and roasty blend.

¼ cup (60 mL) tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) toasted sesame oil
3 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved if large
4 tbsp (60 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature Heat the oven to 350 F (175 C).

Cover a large, rimed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then a sheet of parchment paper that has been trimmed to fit. Spread the Brussels sprouts on the baking sheet. Drizzle the tamari and sesame oil over them and toss to coat. Roast, shaking the pan every 10 minutes or so, until the vegetables are crisp and browned, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss with the butter.

Image by Gwendolyn Richards/Postmedia News
Pasta with Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta
3 to 4 servings

Gwendolyn Richards of Patent and the Pantry has learned to love her “vegetable nemesis” by serving them shaved on pasta with pancetta and toasted pine nuts - a recipe she found at The Kitchn

Ingredients -
1 lb (500 g) brussels sprouts
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
6oz (170g)pancetta, diced or cut into strips
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup (50 mL) chicken broth
1/2lb (250g)spaghetti
1/3 cup (75 mL) pine nuts, toasted
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season generously with salt. Trim the ends off of the brussels sprouts and remove the toughest outer leaves. Shred them in a food processor, using the slicing attachment, or slice them carefully on a mandoline or as thinly as possible with a knife.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes, until fairly crispy and cooked through. Clear some space in the middle of the pan and add the shallots. (If you don’t have enough room in your pan to create space, you can remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and add it back in when you add the sprouts.) Cook for about 5 minutes, until the shallots are soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute or so. While the shallots are cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.

Add the brussels sprouts and the chicken broth to the large skillet, season with salt and pepper, and toss all of the ingredients together. (Go easy on the salt initially because pancetta can be quite salty.) Cook, tossing occasionally, until the brussels sprouts are tender but not too soft, about 5 minutes.

When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and add it to the skillet. You can add a splash of the pasta water (or more broth) if the mixture seems dry. Add pine nuts, toss everything together, season to taste and serve.

Image by Matthew Mead, AP Photo
Creamy Brown Rice Risotto
Serves 4

While this article was obviously written by one person, there is no chef credit - just the Associated Press.  It offers 2 version, only one of which includes Brussels Sprouts - the second can be found at the link provided.

Risotto, the creamy Italian favourite, is traditionally made with white rice. This version swaps the white rice for whole grain brown rice, and incorporates a tart apple and quartered Brussels sprouts

1 cup short grain brown rice (or brown sushi rice)
2 cups water
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 pound Brussels sprouts, quartered AND 1 firm tart apple, peeled and diced

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the rice and water. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, leaving it covered. The rice will not be completely cooked and there will be some water in the pan. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp. Use a spoon to transfer the prosciutto to a plate and set aside. Do not wipe out the skillet. Return the pan to the stovetop over medium-high heat and add the rosemary and onion. Saute until starting to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and apple OR the asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the wine and stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to deglaze the pan. Add the rice and any liquid in the pan. Add the chicken broth and stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until the liquid has thickened and reduced, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture, then cook for another minute.

Top with crisped prosciutto, then drizzle with balsamic glaze just before serving.

Image by Matthew Mead/Associated Press
Gruyere Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pepitas and Dates
Serves 6

Alison Ladman writes, “Whatever you do this holiday season, don’t spoil your spread with underdressed vegetables.” In Ladman’s recipe, roasted Brussels sprouts are dressed with Gruyere cheese, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and dates.

2 pounds Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas), toasted
1/2 cup chopped dates
Heat the oven to 400 F.

Spread the Brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender and well browned. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and dates.

Image by James Ransom
Momofuku’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4-6

Adapted from Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meeha, this recipe was found on Food 52 and notes it is by Genius Recipes. It will add a much-needed spark to your winter diet and any holiday spread.

Fish Sauce Vinaigrette-
1/2 C fish sauce (adjust to taste -- some fish sauce brands are saltier)
1/4 C water
2 Trice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 C sugar
1garlic clove, minced
1 to 3red bird’s-eye chiles, thinly sliced, seeds intact

2 T very thinly sliced cilantro stems, plus 1/2 cup leaves
3 T chopped mint
2 lbs. brussels sprouts (smaller ones are better)
Grapeseed or other neutral oil as needed, as needed (lots for frying, little for roasting)

Combine the vinaigrette ingredients, cilantro stems and mint in a bowl, and set aside. Peel away any loose or discolored outer leaves on the brussels sprouts, trim the dry end of the stems with a knife, and cut the sprouts in half. Cut any especially large ones in quarters. Do not wash, especially if frying the sprouts. If roasting, and you must, dry very well.

To roast the brussels sprouts (recommended): Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or just enough to evenly coat the bottom of the pan) in 2 oven-safe wide skillets (12 to 14 inches) over medium heat. When the oil slides easily from side to side of the pan, add the brussels sprouts cut side down. When the cut faces of the sprouts begin to brown, transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking, about 15 minutes. Alternately, if you don't have 2 large skillets or are cooking more sprouts for a larger crowd, roast them in the oven: toss them with 1 tablespoon of oil per pound and spread them on a baking sheet, cut sides down. Roast in the oven, checking for browning every 10-15 minutes, tossing them around with a spatula only once they start to brown nicely.The sprouts are ready when they are tender but not soft, with nice, dark brown color.

When ready to serve, divide the brussels sprouts among four bowls (or serve it all out of one big bowl), top with the dressing to taste and cilantro leaves, and toss once or twice to coat.

Image from The CP/HO - Almond Board of California
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds
6 Servings

No obvious credits for this article either - my assumption based on the photo credits is the Almond Board of California. Roasting brussels sprouts brings out their nutty flavour. This side dish is perfect to serve for winter entertaining. The inclusion of pomegranate seeds gives it a festive flair. Topped with toasted almonds, this colourful and flavourful dish would be perfectly at home on a holiday table.

1 kg (2 lb) fresh brussels sprouts
50 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
175 ml (3/4 cup) sliced almonds
1 tsp (5 ml) coarse sea salt
2 ml (1/2 tsp) freshly ground pepper
125 ml (1/2 cup) pomegranate seeds

Place rack in the centre and upper third of the oven. Heat oven to 190 C (375 F). Trim bottom off each sprout and slice in half or in quarters; place sprouts on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and sliced almonds. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes, removing pans once or twice during baking to stir and toss brussels sprouts.

Transfer sprouts to a large bowl and toss with pomegranate seeds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Image by Brett Gundlock/National Post
Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Almonds
4 Servings

This delicious salad, lively with citrus, comes from Bottega, the hottest new restaurant in Yountville, Calif., owned by celebrity chef Michael Chiarello. Marcona almonds, from Spain, are already roasted and salted (and irresistible). (Shared by Bonnie Stern on the National Post website)

½ lb (250 g) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1⁄3 cup (75 mL) toasted almonds (preferably Marcona), coarsely chopped
2 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely grated
¼ cup (50 mL) grated parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano Reggiano) or pecorino
1 tbsp (15mL) chopped fresh chives, shallots or green onions
1 tbsp (15mL) finely chopped preserved lemon peel (or 1 tsp/5 mL grated fresh lemon peel)

2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
¾ tsp (4 mL) kosher salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil

Slice Brussels sprouts as thin as possible, by hand or with a mandolin. Toss lightly with almonds, eggs, cheese, chives and preserved lemon. For dressing combine lemon juice with salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss with salad. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Brussels Sprouts Braised with Maple Syrup
(No image available)
4 to 6 servings

Denis Cotter, author of the vegetarian cookbook For the Love of Food, serves these sprouts with mashed potatoes laced with smoked cheese for a vegetarian meal. The maple syrup is a Canadian/Irish fusion touch he must have picked up in Stratford, Ont., where he spends a lot of his time.

12 oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved if large
1 tbsp grated orange peel
1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
1 tbsp soy sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Blanch Brussels sprouts in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain, rinse in cold water and pat dry. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet and add onions. Cook about 2 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts and cook about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, orange peel, maple syrup and soy sauce, cover and cook 2 minutes longer. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Image by ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen/Postmedia News
Brussels Sprouts Salad with Warm Bacon and Pecan Dressing
Serves 8

Raw, thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, romaine lettuce, and green onions are tossed with crisp bacon and pecans, and a warm, mustard-garlic vinaigrette in this salad recipe from the ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen.

1/2 lb (0.25 kg) Brussels sprouts
6 cups (1.5 L) torn romaine lettuce
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced green onions
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) chopped bacon
1/2 cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup (50 mL) oil
3 tbsp (40 mL) white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) whole grain mustard
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) freshly ground pepper

Trim off the ends of stems of Brussels sprouts; discard ends. Cut Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise and then thinly slice crosswise. There should be about 2 cups (500 mL). Combine Brussels sprouts, lettuce and green onions in a bowl; set aside.

To prepare dressing, cook bacon and pecans in a medium frypan over medium heat until bacon is browned and crisp. Remove from heat. Remove bacon and pecans with a slotted spoon; drain bacon and pecans on paper towels. Drain off all fat from frypan. Return frypan to low heat. Add oil, vinegar, mustard and garlic; cook, scraping to loosen browned bits, for 30 seconds. Return bacon and pecans to frypan. Stir in salt and pepper.

Pour dressing over Brussels sprouts mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Image by Matthew Mead/AP Photo
Quick Sautéed Brussels Sprout with toasted Walnuts and Lemon
Servings: 6

The Tamales — chefs Sue Fenniger and Mary Sue Milliken, the co-hosts of their own show on the Food Network once upon a time — slice the sprouts very thin, then quickly sautee them. 3 to 5 minutes in the pan and they’re good to go. This recipe has turned haters into believers over and over again.

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 350°F. Put the walnuts in a pie plate and toast them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are fragrant and are a shade darker. Trim the Brussels sprouts and discard any damaged outside leaves. Use a food processor fitted with the thin slicing blade to shred the sprouts.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the sprouts and lemon zest, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. The pan will seem very crowded in the beginning, but the Brussels sprouts will shrink down quickly. Season with salt and pepper, 1 to 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and the walnuts. Serve right away.

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

A bonus recipe from A Little Piece of Sunshine. Don’t like Brussels sprouts? This recipe just might change your mind about these mini-cabbages.

Ingredients - 
1 pint Brussels sprouts
5 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

Wash and dry the Brussels sprouts. Trim off the ends of the sprouts, remove the outer leaves. Place in a pot of boiling water and let boil for 4 minutes. Set aside. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and place the pieces on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. (You can also cook bacon in the microwave.)

Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and butter to the pan. After the butter has melted, add the sprouts and cook for 3 minutes, just until the sprouts have started to brown. Add the bacon back to the pan and toss gently. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.