I can’t write an article about the best way to cook brussels sprouts without thinking how far we’ve come since I was a kid. Back then, my best friend’s mother used to say when you cooked brussels sprouts, it smelled like the Jolly Green Giant farted in the kitchen. (And yes, that still cracks me up twenty years later).
Gone are the days of boiling brussels sprouts to the point of mushiness, blandness or, well, smelliness. In fact, over the past few years, these little cabbages have been the darling of many top chefs and my fellow home cooks.
This is the season to try cooking brussels sprouts at home, and rest assured you will find a method you love out of these three ways to cook the best brussels sprouts.
When shopping, I plan about 1/4 – 1/3 pound brussels sprouts per person.
For a family of four, I buy about 1 1/2 pounds because they cook down and I know I can eat a lot of them!
Prep sprouts ahead of time by trimming off the stems when you get home, and storing in the fridge.
Method 1 for cooking brussels sprouts: Sauté them
-Trim ends of brussels sprouts and slice in half, or in quarters if large (as I did above).
-Add 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil to a hot pan (or just all olive oil).
-Once the oil is hot, add the sprouts in as an even as a layer as possible.
-Season with salt and pepper – don’t be shy – and leave them, undisturbed, to brown on one side.
-If you notice the pan getting too dry during this browning, you can add a little more fat to the pan.
-Once they’ve turned a nice golden color, add 1/4 cup water or broth to the pan and stir frequently until softened, about 10-15 minutes depending on size.
For a Little Extra Flavor: Garnish with some minced garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice, red pepper flakes, balsamic vinegar, more butter…you get the idea!
Method 2 for cooking brussels sprouts: Roast them
Photo © Sara Crowder for Katie Workman, used with permission from the author
-Trim ends of sprouts and slice in half. Toss onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
-Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, toss gently and then separate the sprouts on the baking sheet so that there is a little space in-between; overcrowding equals steaming rather than roasting.
(Don’t worry if some of the leaves fall off – those crispy bits are my favorite part.)
-Place in a preheated 425-degree oven for about 25-30 minutes or until desired doneness.
-Remove from oven and gently toss with a pat of butter.
Note: Some people toss about halfway through, but I can never remember to do it myself.
For a little more inspiration: I urge you to grab some gochujang paste and try the Spicy Brussels Sprouts with Kimchi Dressing recipe from Katie Workman (above) whose smart, creative family recipes we always love. You can even use a little less gochujang paste and red pepper flakes if you’re not a fan of heat – although I’m kind of excited about it.
Katie’s recipe is a great example of how easy it is to change up the flavors once you get the basic method down. (And check her site for tons of great family brussels sprouts recipes using all three methods I describe here.)
Method 3 for cooking brussels sprouts: Shred them
Autumn Brussels Sprouts Apple Salad | Kim’s Cravings
-Trim the ends off the sprouts and toss them into a food processor.
-For a quick weeknight side, simply sauté them in oil and finish with a sprinkle of parmesan or lemon.
-You can also eat them raw, without sautéing. Just massage the shredded brussels sprouts with a little olive oil and salt, as you would kale, and you’ll get a softer texture.
Serving tip: With fall here, I think there’s no better salad recipe to incorporate shredded brussels sprouts than this Autumn Brussels Sprouts Apple Salad at Kim’s Cravings. The sweet addition of apples and cranberries balances out the earthy brussels sprouts and creamy cheese and nuts.
It’s simple enough for weeknights, but as Kim suggests, would also work beautifully on your Thanksgiving table. Bookmark it now and enjoy all season long.