Brussels Sprouts – Don’t be a hater…

May 20, 2010

Brussels Sprout, Brussels Sprouts, Brussel Sprouts – whatever floats your boat. I’m going with “Brussels Sprouts” because it seems most popular.

If you have never tried brussels sprouts and think you might want to,  I’d go with “roasted” as your first introduction. For years I feared brussels sprouts. I never touched them because my Dad put the hate on them from childhood on. I’ve talked to several people who also dislike brussels sprouts and it seems that all of them have only had frozen or steamed versions. I can understand how that might be the issue. My guess is over-cooking and texture is part of the problem.

My first attempt at cooking brussels sprouts was to roast them. I picked up a tray of fresh/pre-cut at Trader Joe’s.  I did a quick Internet search on the iPad and came up with a cooking time of 400 degrees for 40 minutes. No problem – I coated them in extra virgin olive oil, added salt and put them on a cookie sheet in the oven to roast.

I only turned them once during the 40 minute cook time. The outer leaves turned a beautiful amber/brown color and were crispy, while the insides were soft with a slight crunch. I highly recommend this method.

Since then, I’ve purchased whole brussels sprouts at the farmer’s market and done the same thing.  I have yet to get one of the prehistoric looking brussels stalks – but now I think I’d be comfortable doing so – maybe when they are back in season.

I’ve roasted sprouts 4-5 times and was on the search for another recipe. I looked online and found a recipe for tofu, apples and brussels sprouts. I tweaked it a lot – got rid of the tofu option, added bacon, LOL – and caramelized shallots. So I’m calling it Shredded Brussels Sprouts Stir Fry


10-12 Brussels Sprouts – Cut into ribbons
4 Shallots – Thinly sliced
2 Garlic Cloves – Smashed
1 Fuji Apple – Cut into bite sized chunks
4 Slices Applewood Smoked Bacon – Cut into small pieces
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
1/4 cup Toasted Pine nuts – Pictured below
Salt and Ground Pepper to Taste
A Few Splashes of Extra Virgin Olive Oil – not pictured – used in the pan with the shredded sprouts

I prepped stuff while my bacon and apples started in two different pans…

I swear there actually was some precision with the bacon cutting – hah!

This might seem weird, but I added the garlic and maple syrup in with the apples – I actually grabbed one during the cooking process and it was delicious.  The apples only took about 5 minutes. I set them aside and focused on the bacon. Once the bacon was done, I set it aside. I then drained off the majority of the fat from the pan. I left a tiny bit in the pan and added the shallots – the house smelled amazing.

While those were cooking, I used a single splash of EVOO in another pan and added the chopped brussels sprouts. I contemplated more bacon fat, but could feel my arteries clogging.

I left the brussels sprouts in the pan without stirring for a good 5 minutes. This allowed them to caramalize a bit on one side. You want them to turn golden to amber in color on the ribbon edges. As they were cooking – the shallots were also finishing up. I then removed the shallots and threw the pine nuts into the shallot pan for a few minutes. I should point out that pine nuts are CRAZY expensive. I got them out of one of the bins at the fancy market and they were $37.00/lb. Wow,  I had no idea that pine nuts were that expensive. I’ve since seen them online for close to $50/lb. and as low at $16/lb. I bought $3.00 worth because I’m a baller like that.

Had to take a photo of my über expensive pine nuts

Everything finished cooking around the same time. I added the onions and nuts to the brussels sprouts, then I added the apples and bacon. I tossed everything, added some ground pepper – a pinch of salt and transferred everything into its party dress serving bowl for the photo shoot.

This bowl is actually fairly small – the entire batch made about 3 servings.

I can’t even describe how much I loved this dish! I loved it so much, I didn’t even mind my wreck of a kitchen. It’s not a normal thing for me to use 3 pans, 5 bowls, etc. for one dish.

If you haven’t ventured into “Brussels Sprouts” land – I recommend giving it a go.



  1. I think Brussel sprouts are my favorite vegetable, actually. I love to make them with carmelized leeks, onions, or shallots… another good trick is in addition to adding the bacon, you can sautee them in just a wee bit of bacon FAT. Heavenly. Seriously.

    • Trust me, I was so close to adding more bacon fat to the sprouts – next time I will for sure.

  2. I cannot even tell you how excited I am to try this dish. I just might this weekend! I first tried brussel sprouts a few months ago. I was looking for something different and I love those Birds Eye Steam Fresh veggies you can get in the frozen section. I chose the brussel sprouts and Connor and I LOVED THEM. I will have to try both ways you described up above. Roasting and the salad look wonderful! My mouth is watering 🙂

    • I think it’s awesome that Conner likes brussels sprouts – I think he’d like the stir fry too – since it has apples and bacon.

  3. I also have to add, I think I liked the brussel sprouts because they do remind me of cabbage. I added a little salt and pepper and was good to go. I loved how you could pop em in your mouth like a snack and they weren’t sinful. Yum. They do look scary but I agree everyone has to try them. I was so happy Connor liked them.

  4. Love the brussels sprouts roasted, so I’m going to have to try your salad recipe out. Yummy, yummy, yummy!!!

    • Hi Marleah! Thanks for stopping by – Yay, another brussels sprouts lover – let me know what you think if you try the recipe.

  5. Yum. You are almost inspiring me to want to cook again! Although my dishes never come out nearly as pretty as yours!

    • Yay Paige – Well, you’re back on the workout bandwagon – now it’s time to start cookin’ again!

  6. You just might make Dad eat his words with this dish. It looks and sounds delicious………I think basically it was the Air Force’s method of cooking brussel sprouts that made Dad dislike them so much. Now with your golden touch……who knows.

    Keep it up kiddo………..

    • Thanks Mommers! – We’ll convert Dad, I know we can do it!

  7. Hater and proud of it! 🙂 Seriouly, to my knowledge I have never tasted a brussel sprout, but you have me sold! The apple and bacon combo sounds really good! Do you think another nut could be used or left out all together? I too think that I will try this recipe this weekend…. Did Dan like it?

    • Bacon makes everything taste better, hah! Seriously, I think you would really like the roasted sprouts too!

  8. What an awesome looking dish. I’ve always liked brussel sprouts and actually eat them often (with some butter and a bit of garlic salt).

    • Hi Marty! Thanks for stopping by the new digs! You definitely should try the dish, especially since you already like sprouts.

  9. I love brussels sprouts! I haven’t tried roasting them yet, but it’s definitely on the list of things to try.

    It sounds like you get a ton of awesome stuff at Trader Joe’s. What are your “must haves” from there?

  10. I LOOOOVE brussels sprouts! Mmm mmm good!

  11. As you know, I am a long time lover of the brussels sprouts. I have to say that the ones you have made for me have been the very best I have tasted!

  12. I am going to have to try this “kicked up” version of roasted Brussel Sprouts. We just use the sprouts, parmesan, salt, pepper and our flavored olive oil (1 quart extra virgin, 3 sprigs sage, 2 cloves garlic, small bunch parsley, 1 small hot red pepper, 5 ounces chunked parmesan. Let sit out for several days to infuse the oil, then several more days under refrigeration. Drain and re-fill an olive oil bottle adding a handful of parmesan chunks and a coupel sprigs of parsley). I think you will find this replaceing straight olive oil a lot in cooking. We did. If you want to try some let me know and I will bring you a small bottle.

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