Brussels Sprouts with Black Bean Garlic Sauce

Side DishBrussels SproutsVegetables

Brussels sprouts quartered and quickly sautéed with chili pepper flakes and black bean garlic sauce.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Please welcome guest author Garrett McCord as he shares one of his favorite quick and easy Brussels sprouts recipes. ~Elise

“It’s funky. Abrasive. It’s not afraid to get in your face and call your mama ugly.”

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That’s how black bean garlic sauce was first described to me.

I was one of the RA’s in the dorms way-back-when in college and some of my freshmen residents were teaching me how to use a wok. One of them tossed the sauce in with some cooked chicken and greens and as the steam and smoke rose the air became salty and pungent.

The aroma was so thick you could suck it in and roll it around on your tongue.

A flip of the wok and suddenly lunch was served. A quick taste and I could see that the sauce was an ingredient that demanded your attention and could only be tamed by other brassy ingredients.

spoon of black bean garlic sauce for brussels sprouts

“Wow, this is awesome. It’s so intense!” I blurted before reaching for another forkful.

She smiled and said, “Yeah, it’s not a condiment for the weak.”

Brussels sprouts are one such brassy ingredient that’s able to really complement the black bean garlic sauce. These tiny cabbages have a delightfully bitter flavor that mellow and sweeten when seared.

Brussels Sprouts with Black Bean Garlic Sauce

A dash of chili pepper flakes give the whole dish an extra bit of bite.

This is a dish full of flavor that’s simple, fast to prepare side, and works great as a meal on its own.

Brussels Sprouts with Black Bean Garlic Sauce Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4

You can find black bean garlic sauce in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores. I use the Lee Kum Kee brand and love it.

If you're up to it some chopped, cooked bacon is equally tasty when added to this dish.

Note that the sauce is pretty salty, so no additional salt is needed.


  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, or safflower oil
  • Dash of chili pepper flakes
  • 25 Brussels sprouts
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of black bean garlic sauce
  • ground black pepper


1 Prep the Brussels sprouts: Wash the Brussels sprouts well. Trim the stems and discard any of the loose leaves. Quarter them lengthwise.

2 Sauté the Brussels sprouts: Place the oil and chili flakes into a large skillet and place over medium-high heat.

Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the sprouts begin to brown a bit. They may absorb all the oil, if they do just add another 1/2 tablespoon of oil.

Brussels Sprouts with Black Bean Garlic Sauce Brussels Sprouts with Black Bean Garlic Sauce

3 Add the black bean garlic sauce and stir until all the Brussels sprouts are well coated.

Add a pinch of ground black pepper (the sauce is already salty so you probably won't need any salt).

Cook for about 30 more seconds. Take off heat and serve immediately.

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Brussels Sprouts with Black Bean Garlic Sauce

Garrett McCord

Garrett McCord is a professional writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in many print and online publications such as Gourmet Live, Saveur, Huffington Post, Smithsonian, and NPR. Past clients also include numerous food companies, wineries, and distilleries. Garrett writes about cocktails on his website, Coupe de Grace.

More from Garrett

24 Comments / Reviews

No ImageBrussels Sprouts with Black Bean Garlic Sauce

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Patrick

    This recipe worked out very well as the black bean source complemented the slight bitterness of the brussels sprouts. I added five-spice marinated tofu and turned this into a main dish.

    Another twist to preparing brussels sprouts is to slice them up in a food processor before cooking. Doing so makes it easier to cook through the vegetable.

  2. Andrea Kearney

    I tried this recipe using a bag of frozen brussels sprouts, defrosted and halved (not quartered). Easy, fast, wonderful tasting–I agree with you that these two strong flavors go well together. Will try using fresh sprouts next time I’ll have time to do the prep. Thanks for this great recipe!

  3. Shelenia

    I tried this recipe today because I just love brussels sprout. I don’t think I cooked it right because the brussels were kinda harder than I am use to having them, but the flavor was good. I had to add a little salt and hot sauce.

    These will be crunchier than most recipes using Brussels sprouts. If you want, feel free to give them a short steam to soften them up first. ~Garrett

  4. JM

    Thank you! This has become my go-to weeknight brussels sprouts preparation. I often sautee some cubed tofu first, take it out while the sprouts cook, and then add it back in before adding the sauce.
    Tonight I ate it with some leftover rice that had lemon juice on it, and it was a great combo, so I squeezed some extra lemon juice over the top (just a little). I think the hint of acid makes it even better!


  5. Jen

    Wow! These look SO good! I am always looking for new ways to cook veggies and I am SO glad I read the comments! I almost passed it by since we have Celiacs in the house and commercial black bean sauce is not gluten free, but with the black bean recipe and the main recipe, now I CAN make it! THANK YOU!


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