Brussels Sprouts

I never used to like brussels sprouts, until one day I had them when they weren’t over-cooked. Still just a little bit crunchy, they had a wonderfully nutty flavor. Who knew brussels sprouts could taste so good? Now I love them, especially with brown rice and butter.

Brussels Sprouts Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh brussels sprouts
  • 4-6 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or 1 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

Method

1 Remove any ragged or old-looking outer leaves on the brussels sprouts and discard. Parboil the brussels sprouts (or steam them) for 3 minutes or until just tender. They should be almost cooked all the way through (split one in half to test). Strain the hot water and place the sprouts in a bowl of ice water, this will keep their color bright green. Cut the sprouts into halves.

2 Heat 2-3 Tbsp of butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add 2-3 Tbsp more of butter and the brussels sprouts halves. Increase the heat to medium high and cook for several more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, while the brussels sprouts are cooking. Do not overcook! Overcooked brussels sprouts are bitter and are the main reason why some people don't like them.

3 Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and half of the toasted almonds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in serving dish and garnish with the rest of the toasted almonds.

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Links:
Golden-crusted Brussels sprouts from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks

50 Comments

  1. rickfle

    Don’t forget – never cover the sprouts (or broccoli or cabbage)- while cooking. That way they won’t get sour.

  2. lynn

    “Don’t forget – never cover the sprouts (or broccoli or cabbage)- while cooking. That way they won’t get sour.”

    How can you steam if you don’t cover?

  3. Elise

    In my experience, the bitterness comes from overcooking, not from anything else. I cook these vegetables all the time covered. You just have to be more careful not to overcook them, given that when they are covered it’s harder to tell what’s happening. That said, my father just recounted a story to me of visiting the kitchen of a chef in a fancy Beverly Hills restaurant many years ago. The chef always covered his steamed or boiling vegetables with a kitchen towel, not a metal cover. He claimed that it helped keep the vegetables from losing their color.

  4. Nina

    Brussels being my native town, I am bound to like brussels sprouts – and I do, in different states of doneness ;o)
    I have never tried them with lemon and almonds, though. I usually season with nutmeg (plus a little bit of a sauce made of butter, flour and vegetable stock). But I don’t know a lot of variants to prepare brussels sprouts, so I am going to give this one a try soon. Thanks!

  5. Peach

    I like them tossed with pine nuts and a bit of bacon. Mmmmmm …

  6. Denise

    I enjoy them with shallots sliced thinly and cooked in butter (lots of butter!). Toss the sprouts – cut in half and steamed, cover on ;-) – in the butter with shallots. A one-pot dish. Perfection.

  7. Kyleen

    I like them steamed and then sautéed, as listed in this recipe, although I usually add a sautéed leek instead of half an onion. I’ve never added lemon or almonds, so I’ll have to try adding them next time I make brussels sprouts!

  8. Robert

    Another terrific way to make brussels sprouts is to par-boil, place in a baking dish with an onion and a clove of garlic that have been chopped and sauteed in butter. Stir them up and pile on a large handful of fresh tarragon. Then bake until they are tender and the tarragon is wilted. You can even overcook them (I’ve sometimes lost track of the time!) and they won’t be bitter. After making them with tarragon the first time, I’ve never made them without. And they are fantastic cold the next day.

  9. Carol

    They are also good roasted. I steam them for about 10 minutes in order to partially cook them, then toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

  10. Tina

    This dish was delicious and went over very well when I made it for my family! I LOVE the idea of mixing in toasted, slivered almonds- they add such nice flavor and texture. To stretch this dish a little, I decided to boil some carrot chunks until tender and then add to the brussel sprouts once they were cooked. The carrots added a nice splash of color and variety. :-) Keep up the great work- I really enjoy your recipes.

  11. Barbara

    Melt unsalted butter in a pan and add breadcrumbs. It’s an excellent topping on brussels sprouts or cauliflower.

  12. Linda Moran

    I made this recipe for 13 people on Christmas day, 2006.

    It converted three brussels sprouts haters into brussels sprouts lovers.

    They were heavenly! (I skipped the lemon and almonds.)

    Linda Moran

  13. frank

    Very nice…. Like most of us say- Dont over cook… Crispy is good. 10 lbs off & counting!!

  14. Another Elise

    The hands-down best way I’ve found to cook brussels sprouts is to separate all of the leaves (there are instructions in The Joy of Cooking), then sautee with olive oil/garlic/red pepper flakes. Add a little broth to steam for a few minutes, add salt to taste. No bitterness at all! The only downside is that it takes a very long time to de-leaf all the brussels sprouts, especially since they cook down a lot — I just plant myself in front of the TV while I pare so I don’t go crazy.

    Prosciutto makes a nice addition, too. Mmm.

  15. Wendy

    Brussel sprouts cook more quickly without overcooking if you cut a cross in the base.

  16. Todd

    If you want excellent Sprouts, cook them for 5 min, then put them in oven proof dish, cover with 4TBS of Parmesan cheese. Then sprinkle the top of cheese with herbed bread crumbs, cover that with another 2TBS of Parmesan cheese. Bake until golden brown at 400 degrees, it’s delicious.

  17. Dan

    Let your imagination be your guide on the finishing touches, but I have found that steaming veggies (asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, carrots) in the microwave is quick, it preserves the nutritional value, and it eliminates clean-up. Simply use a ZIP-Lock bag, leaving the zipper open a tad so the bag won’t explode. Three minutes, give or take, should do it, depending on your micrcowave and your preferred degree of doneness. Bon apetit!

  18. Dan

    An addendum to the comments I posted earlier… microwave-safe Tupperware (or the like) works as well as a baggie. Just be sure not to pop closed one corner. And no water is necessary. The veggies are full of it.

  19. That Girl

    My four year old daughter begs to have brussels sprouts. I trim them up, cutting larger ones in half, toss them with minced garlic, olive oil and diced pancetta (or bacon in a pinch) and then roast for about 20 – 30 minutes. The result is an amazing combination of crunchy outer leaves with perfectly cooked middles. Yum! We’re having some tonight!

  20. Lisa

    This is a great recipe, very simple and easy to adapt as needed. I too have always had mixed feelings about brussels sprouts but found that this approach avoids the bitterness associated with this pretty vegetable. Everyone at my table did try them and there were no complaints. You have to start somewhere!
    Personally, I thought they were great and will cook them again. Thanks!

  21. Joan

    I use Hanover Steam In Bag and the sprouts are perfect. I use onion powder when I don’t feel like onions and toast my own almonds from value pack to save money.

  22. Tim Tight

    Just tried your recipe this evening and it was a huge success. We are cooking again for a dinner party on Friday and will be doing the recipe again. The almonds add wonderful texture that actually augmented the spagetti that we were having on the same plate. Delicious!

  23. sara

    I never like brussel sprout until I cook similiar way like this. I add garlic and put a bit of vinnegar instead of lime. Yumm I miss it so much.

  24. Lindsey in AL

    I recently made brussels sprouts that all 3 of my children devoured, using a recipe from The Potsticker Chronicles as a guide. Basically I quartered them lengthwise and stir fried with a little mushroom soy sauce (thicker and darker than regular soy sauce) and some Filipino fish sauce. They smelled horrendous but tasted amazing and the whole family yummed them up. I look forward to trying your recipe one of these days when I can find fresh sprouts again.

  25. DavidS

    Brussels sprouts are best if cooked this way:

    Frozen Sprouts are preferred, but it works with fresh as well. Add a tablespoon of bakingpowder/bakingsoda to the sprouts, toss them around in it. Warm up a pot with a lot of butter in it. It shouldn’t be so much that the sprouts are covered, just under halfway up on the sprouts is a decent amount. Throw the sprouts into the hot pot. Use a spoon or ladel to swirl them around. Season with salt and black pepper, after taste, but the win on quite alot.

    If they are frozen, you let them swirl for a while, then put the lid on the pot and turn the heat off, let them stand for about five minutes.

    Brussels sprouts win on not having any other flavors added to them.

    Recipe from- Belgium (capital of Belgium being… Brussels).

    The bitterness of the sprouts vanish because of the bakingsoda/powder. A chemical reaction does away with the bitter flavour and what is left is a nutty, rich flavour.

    I personally let the sprouts almost get roasted, wth a slight brown touch on bits of the sprouts. It’s a matter of preference.

  26. Fran Carter

    This year I tried steamed brussel sprouts with cooked red beets and a tsp of nice balsamic vinegar…. it made a lovely warm salad..

  27. Jennifer

    I used Elise’s cooking method last night, except that I sauteed with olive oil, butter, garlic and kosher salt. I was very careful not to overcook! I made them for myself because my husband absolutely refuses to eat them; he dislikes even having them in the house. He’s never let me cook them for him. But these tasted soooo good, I cajoled him into a bite of one. His reaction: “… hey, these are good! Nutty and sweet, not bitter at all. I do like brussel sprouts! Are you magic?” Thanks for the great recipes! I’m definitely going to try roasting next :)

  28. Jim

    I like to cook Brussel Sprouts in butter and then sprinkle Parmesan cheese over them.

  29. MaryAlecia

    I find that Brussels sprouts taste good when kept simple. Clean them up a bit (pare and trim any discolored leaves), slice in half if they’re big, sauté in olive oil, add thinly sliced shallots and some bacon when they’re about half way done. Put them in a bowl to serve and sprinkle with bits of toasted pecans. You can give a grind or two of fresh nutmeg, along with a pinch of salt and fresh pepper. See how long you can savor!

  30. James

    I tossed them with Onions, Pine nuts, Bacon and garlic. Brussels are a new dish for me and I too have converted non-brussel eater to brussel lovers!

  31. Jen

    The only way I made Brussels before was bake in the oven and added lots of salt. Tonight I cooked bacon and used the bacon grease to cook onion. I steamed the Brussels for 4 minutes and then added them to the onion and bacon (plus salt & pepper) Everyone loved them! Thanks for the great recipe!

  32. Nicole Carey

    Hi! I would like to try this recipe but am allergic to nuts.. Could anyone suggest an alternative?

    Hi Nicole, I would just skip the nuts if you are allergic to them. Some of the comments here mention adding Parmesan which could actually add a nice flavor to the sprouts. ~Elise

  33. John C. Chamberlin

    I like to steam my brussels spouts in a steamer in the microwave for about six minutes with butter and finely chopped pieces of ham. I also sprinkle a little celery salt before steaming. It tastes great.

  34. julia

    I’m trying this tonight! but one question: can you steam frozen brussels? thanks!

  35. Holly

    These were really good, Elise! You have converted yet another! I substituted finely chopped pecans for the almonds, as I had no almonds on hand…it was still delicious. Thanks for another great recipe!

  36. Noah

    I have an “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to stir frying brussel sprouts.

    My general approach is:

    - Start with a base of olive oil (or butter) and some minced onion and garlic.
    – Then put in the quartered brussel sprouts (which may be steamed ahead of time, but isn’t required) and some chopped onion
    – Liberally applied soy sauce.

    Yeah, I’m weird, I use minced onion in the beginning then add less finely chopped onion later. Sue me.

    Of course, I never stop there. I always put in several variants. My favorites seasonings are:

    - Cilantro. Seriously, it makes everything taste better.
    – Lemon
    – Almonds
    – Red pepper flakes
    – Basil
    – Ginger
    – Cumin
    – Chili powder

    Also I frequently stir fry a couple other vegetables along with them (usually no more than 1 or 2 more, as brussel sprouts and onions are enough on their own). The most common other vegetables I use are:

    - Broccoli
    – Bell pepper
    – Shitake mushrooms

  37. Jessie

    This recipe was the first one I read from this site, from a night when I had some fresh brussels sprouts and was trying to figure out how to make them not taste bad. The result was truly like magic, they weren’t bitter, which was a first. Instead I got to enjoy crunchy, sweet, delicious little green bits of goodness. Boiling them first is the key, and then the saute for flavor. I was so struck by the result that I began looking at other recipes on the site, and everything I’ve tried since has also been awesome. Thank you, Elise, for the high standard you keep for your posted recipes.

  38. Karen

    I made these last night and they were extremely good! I substituted balsamic vinegar for lemon juice since I didn’t have any and served them over Camargue rice (French red rice)…mmmm great nutty flavour. Another great recipe!

  39. Ashley

    I never used to like brussels sprouts either, until I tried some prepared in a steakhouse I worked at. They were steamed with a bit of salt in the water, drizzled with melted butter, and sprinkled lightly with brown sugar. Delish!

  40. Rani

    Made this for a small dinner party last night and it was a HIT!
    Followed the recipe exactly and it was perfect!
    Great for all seasons!
    Thanks.

  41. Tat

    I just tried this dish for the first time and was blown away. The marriage of flavors of almond, lemon, onion and butter is simply heavenly.

    This is also so filling it could be a fantastic main dish. Looks good too.

    Thanks!!

  42. JOEZILLA

    I tried this recipe tonight. It was my first time making brussels. It was Deeeeelicious!!!
    I LOVE BRUSSELS!!!

  43. Zach Thomas

    Sauteed in olive oil and butter, with salt, garlic, onions and palles if you like, and a bit of nutmeg or cumin. Sound like odd spice choices but they really add to the great nutty flavor – good combo with a bit of balsamic or wine vinegar spritzed at the end.

  44. Meghan

    I’ve enjoyed brussel sprouts steamed in the microwave before, but wanted something less mushy, more flavorful and more vegetable-y. This was perfect! I tweaked the recipe slightly, not having lemon juice on hand, and used red onion and sliced garlic. I also threw all the almonds into the pan at the last second to toast them a bit. Truly top notch!

  45. Emily

    Tried this tonight and it was great! Used pine nuts. I have only ever had the frozen brussel sprouts in the box that my mom used to fix when I was a kid — always hated them. Loved them this way! Thank you, thank you.

  46. Sherry

    After being reintroduced to Brussels sprouts recently I have found the best way is to use frozen. To me they not only taste better but are always smaller which I prefer. Cut up a pound of maple bacon and fry. Take out bacon and leave bacon fat. To the pan add 1 frozen bag Brussels sprouts halved, 8-10 fingerling potatoes cut in fourths, salt and pepper. Coat evenly then pop pan into oven and roast until tender. Add bacon, juice of 1 Meyer lemon and 2 tablespoons of butter. This will convert a non-believer.

  47. Lizzy

    This recipe is one of my favorites!

  48. LouLou

    I make a similar recipe but I use olive oil instead of butter (I’m dairy-free) and I use slightly crushed Macadamia nuts. The Macadamia nuts give a great, buttery flavor and crunch! (Also, I tend to use shallots instead of onion.)

  49. Linda

    I make this recipe all the time and everyone loves it. I add Craisins at the end and it looks and tastes beautiful!!

  50. Marlene

    Amazing. I have been struggling with making brussels sprouts taste good for years (ALWAYS make them too bitter), and this recipe got rave reviews from my husband and 2-year old twins. Thanks so much for enlightening me!

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