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Brussel Sprouts.. My final frontier?

I hates 'em.

Served too often in my childhood, over cooked, in water with bicarb in it (to preserve the colour, no less!)

It's Winter down here in OZ... and the shops are full of them.

I recently read this blog post:


And thought it MIGHT be do-able.

Recent discussion at the water cooler here at work has revealed a sprout aficionado in the office, who is begging me to try them.

I have never turned down food before. I may not alway like what I am served, but I will always give it a red hot go.

So give me yer best recipes involving what I have previously described as "the vegetable spawn of Satan"...

And also tips to get over my instant nausea at even contemplating eating a sprout...

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  1. Every vegetable I was served as child was boiled until mush. I didn't eat brussel sprouts for many years. Then I discovered fresh brussel sprouts cooked in a pan with bacon, cracked pepper and garlic. Holy moly they are good!

    1. I absolutely adore Brussel sprouts. My mom used to steam them when I was a kid, and I'd eat them with salt and pepper. You can also roast them. Trim the ends and cut the bigger ones in half. Toss with olive oil, salt and fresh cracked pepper. Put under the broiler until they get brown and crispy. You can throw on a little parm cheese if you like. Cheese will cut some of the bitterness that most people hate.

      1 Reply
      1. re: northside food

        oh yeah, roast 'em, I do it in the regular oven compartment at about 350 with olive oil garlic and coarse salt (usu already there with small potatoes started about 10-20 minutes before) toss leave in for about 20-30 minutes tossing again halfway, the oil will caramelize the outer leaves in a truly lovely way that sauteeing will not.

        I too was subjected to the "Boil unto Death" school of cooking as a child. they just didn't know any better, bless their hearts.

      2. mmm...mmm...mmm...I LOVE THEM!! I think my sisters and I must have been some strange kids because we use to beg for them only to be disappointed when they weren't in season. My favorite ways to eat these tiny green morsels of deliciousness are sauteed or roasted in olive oil and garlic. They have an affinity for smokey bacon but really, what doesn't? Definitely give them another chance and if you can't bring yourself to then send them my way :)

        1. roasted - drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper - roast until soft - They are excellent and if you have any left over refridgerate excellent cold!

            1. Though it's a bit involved, I highly recommend the recipe for doing them Momofuku Ssam-style; the recipe was linked to in the following thread:


              1. I loves'em and so enjoy them steamed, roasted and done just about anyway except over cooked and mushy. But if you would like to try a method that will leave you thinking, is this brussels sprouts, then try them shaved.

                If you have a mandoline it is very easy or if not a sharp knife and good skills will work. Shave the sprouts from top to where the core begins. It cooks down so it looks like a lot before cooking. I saute a shallot in butter then add the shaved sprouts and toss with salt and pepper. Cover a minute or two or cook uncovered. The results will surprise you.

                2 Replies
                1. re: scubadoo97

                  I was going to post about shredding or slicing very thin, but scuba beat me to it!

                  A little bacon is also nice in the shredded/sauteed application.

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    Pan fry a bit of pancetta with the shallots before hand and the end result is to die for. Sprinkle a little lemon juice right before serving, and this will become your favorite vegetable dish.

                  2. Wish I could find the link for the recipe from Lidia Bastiancih. It was a bit involved- had to peel off each leaf, saute in garlic s/p, lemon and olive oil- and it is served with a lemon sauce. If I can find the link, I will post it. I made it for dinner last fall, and everyone loved it.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: macca

                      the web link for lidia's recipe seems to have disappeared...she must have included it in a cookbook & removed the web version for copyright reasons or something. i wish i had written it out or typed it up before it disappeared. so much for web bookmarks!

                      but i did find this recipe, which, according to the author/blogger is a modification of lidia's...


                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        that looks like it- They were really delicious- though labor intensive for a crowd.

                      2. re: macca

                        Yes Lidia cuts out the core and removes each leaf. Very labor intensive.
                        Shaving is a lot faster and you are also not getting the core where much of the bitterness comes from. I personally don't find them bitter either way. Both peeled or shaved gives a nice presentation.

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          I removed each leaf- and it really made for such a pretty presentation. but next time I make it, I will take you advice and shave them instead.

                      3. I quite enjoy brussel sprouts. Certainly not my favourite, but I like them for variety. Can't get my partner to touch them, though.

                        To avoid nausea (!) I'd suggest not just boiling them; I think a lot of negative BS (brussel sprouts - not the other!) comes from the smell of them boiling, which is decidedly cabbagey. I microwave them with a splash of water, in a glass pyrex bowl with matching lid to minimize smells, then saute or do other things with them.

                        I'd also caution you that, like all other vegetables, not all brussel sprouts taste the same. I bought some gorgeous little ones the other week, but really didn't like how they tasted - they were almost bitter, not really nutty and greeny-sweet as I feel they should be. So I'm not going to buy them from that source again. So try a couple sources before relegating them to the avoidance pile.

                        1. We like to splash a little balsamic vinegar on our steamed b sprouts. They are good when cold too.

                          1. To me, they are like baby cabbages. If you enjoy cabbage and cook them similarly to a cabbage, with a little bacon or garlic and splash of broth, they will come out quite tasty.

                            1. No other vegetable incites passions, both for and against, like the Brussel sprout. I happen to love them but admit that it stinks up the kitchen to cook them and they vary quite alot from batch to batch.

                              That said, I like them braised best. Halve, put in a pan with butter, cut side down and brown. Add a bit of chicken stock, salt and pepper, cover and cook until just tender, finish with a bit of basalmic. That's good eating, and easy as well.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: EdwardAdams

                                "it stinks up the kitchen to cook them"

                                i made some in my parents' kitchen last weekend, and my dad walked into the room a couple of hours later, wrinkled his nose, and asked, "ugh, what STINKS in here?" he hates brussels sprouts :)

                              2. The roasted Brussel sprouts served at Momofuku Ssam Bar are amazing - great flavor, texture - only problem is that they are so good they might detract from the main dish!


                                1. The way I got to love Brussel sprouts was to eat them with a cheese sauce over them, I can now eat them without the sauce. They are very healthful.

                                  1. My fiance used to hate brussel sprouts too for the same reason and I converted him, so I can convert you too!

                                    Here's the recipe that will change your world:

                                    Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Chestnuts and Bacon (Turkey)
                                    Cook time = 25 minutes, Difficulty = Easy

                                    Preheat oven to 400 degrees
                                    x cups Brussel sprouts cut in 1/2 longways (trim bottom too)
                                    (x = 1 rounded cup per person)
                                    x cups roasted chestnuts chopped into 1/4" chunks
                                    (x= 1/4 cup per person - eye ball it)
                                    x strips of turkey bacon chopped into 1/4" squares
                                    (x= 1 strip per person - depending your taste)
                                    Olive oil

                                    -Line cookie sheet with tinfoil and cover with a thin coat of Olive oil
                                    -Toss brussel sprouts in a little more olive oil just to coat and pour on the cookie sheet (spread to a single layer). Salt & pepper to taste
                                    - Place in oven for 10 minutes.
                                    -Toss chestnuts in a little more olive oil to coat and sprinkle over brussel sprouts in cookie sheet, return to oven for 5 minutes.
                                    - Sprinkle chopped bacon over brussel sprouts and chestnuts, return to oven for 5 minutes.
                                    -Turn broiler onto high. Place cookies sheet under broiler for 3-5 minutes till the tops of the sprouts are nicely browned and caramelized and the bacon is slightly crispy.
                                    -Serve and swoon!

                                    PS: If you use real bacon, be sure to pre-cook it a bit first to render some of the fat and cook it though a bit. Turkey bacon is pre-cooked, so it only needs to warm and crisp.

                                    1. Thanks for the shout-out PG!

                                      1. what time of year do they present? How can you hate this . . . little salt and butter . . . I've not seen them in the shops I go to . . . but I've not been trying to find them

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Alacrity59

                                          Our seasons in the southern hemisphere are the opposite to those in the northern.
                                          If you've ever had them cooked badly, you CAN HATE THEM!

                                          1. re: kmh

                                            Have they experienced frost (in the field)? That helps sweeten them.

                                            Cutting them smaller means they cook more quickly and don't develop a stale cabbagey smell and taste.

                                        2. I'm a former sprout hater myself. The "three bites or more of everything put in front of you" mom rule had me trying to cut them in thirds - who knew that was against the rule???? Dog wouldn't eat them either. So last thing I wanted to see on my plate was the dreaded green globe but sweetie love them so I had to try. Am happy (?) to report that I can now eat them without gagging (unlike wax beans which one has to wonder "why?") and in fact kinda like them. I started with steamed covered in a sauce - put enough cheese or hollandaise on something and I'll give it a go. Roasted brussels made it so much the better - olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and cracked pepper makes em pretty tasty - toss in some chestnuts if you get fancy. So much so that when I saw a recipe where they were sliced, I thought hmmmm...I can try that. So the purpose of this post is to say - it is possible to like a Sprout. Some of the recipes here offer great ideas = hope they work out for you!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: AlaskaChick

                                            Nobody has mentioned using steamed sprouts for a simple salad. Goes well with turkey or ham at picnics and potlucks (keeps well and travels well).

                                            There's a recipe out there somewhere for sprouts in a German-style sweet and sour sauce that is very good.

                                            1. re: Sharuf

                                              i found this one..


                                              pretty much a standard sweet & sour cabbage treatment...which makes sense, seeing as brussels are a species of cabbage. but i personally think their flavor is too delicate [and delicious!] to mask with such a strongly-flavored sauce.

                                              then again, if you don't like sprouts, i guess hiding the flavor would be a good thing ;)

                                          2. I love them, but my husband still hates them, so whenever he's out of town I live it up and eat a ton while he's gone! So different than I thought "living it up" would be the first time he left...=)

                                            My favorite things to do with them are either pop them in the microwave until soft and then toss with soy sauce or teriyaki as a quick Asian-inspired side dish, or cut in half and toss in a pan with other veggies. Saute with a little olive oil or butter--the trick is not to stir them so they get a little burned. It brings out the sweetness (though usually I hate any type of char on food). Then throw in a dash of cooking sherry and use the liquid and the flat side of the sprout to scrub up the burned bits until the pan is clean and the liquid has burned off, and serve!

                                            1. Yep, as many people have said, the key is to roast or saute them-- any way except boiled. You can steam them, but if you over cook, yuck. Follow one of the saute, braise or roasting recipes, and it will be like you are eating an entirely new vegetable.

                                              1. I devil them...after boiling til al dente, I add dijon, red onion and a little melted butter....delish!

                                                1. I don't think anyone has mentioned that whether you like or despise brussel sprouts has more to do with your DNA than anything else. Apparently, some folks have the genetics that make certain veggies taste bitter. Those that don't have it - like brussel sprouts I suppose. Here is a blurb from a NY Times article that briefly mentioned it.


                                                  1. I make a warm salad with shredded brussels, bacon and hard-boiled eggs. It's from the San Franciso Chronicle Cookbook and look, I found a link:


                                                    1. Cut 'em up if they're big. Parboil em so they turn bright green. Cook a couple of strips of chopped up bacon, add some chopped onion so the bacon gets just crispy and the onions are beginning to get a little caramelized. Toss in the Brussels sprouts and cook until just soft. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley.

                                                      yum. As you noted, how bad can anything be when it's cooked with bacon?

                                                      They're also wonderful tossed with olive oil and roasted.

                                                      1. I had never had them before because my mother harbored such bad memories! Finally at 26 I have tried them this one way and loved them!

                                                        Saute shallot in olive oil
                                                        Add the leaves of the sprouts
                                                        Cook until wilted
                                                        Add pistacios (something about the nuttiness is AWESOME)
                                                        Turn off heat, add s and p to taste and a squeeze of lemon juice

                                                        Yes talking off the leaves is a bit of a pain but I dont get too crazy about it and it doesnt take too long.

                                                        1. Brussel sprouts and asparagus were my two least favorite vegetables as a child -- now they are my favorites. It wasn't until I was an adult that I learned that they weren't supposed to be cooked to grey green mush!

                                                          I usually eat brussel sprouts lightly steamed, tossed with butter and lemon and served over pasta. Nice, light, quick meal.

                                                          It's funny, because my kids (8 and 10) are confirmed sprout lovers. When they were younger there was at least one grocery store tantrum when I wouldn't buy them out of season in the summer.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: MsRetro

                                                            lucky you that your kids went irrational over something sensible.

                                                          2. I had an interesting conversation with a medical science person over the past week. She's a MAHUSIVE brassica fan and eventually we got to the brussel sprout conversation.

                                                            Anyhow, she told me that parents are advised not to force their kids to eat brassicas when they are very young as one of the scents they give off is from a compound that is also in bile (think dirty nappies) and apparently will give them much distress and thus the lifetime of hatred of certain vegies...

                                                            A google around leads me to links in the steroidal compounds and certain ones containing sulfur in plants are not dissimilar to human steroids...

                                                            1. not a lover of brussels sprouts until....

                                                              2 - 3 tablespoons of honey
                                                              2 - 3 tablspoons of crunchy mustard
                                                              2 packages fresh brussels sprouts

                                                              toss above ingredients together. roast in 400 degree oven for 20 - 30 minutes until tender. Yum!


                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: eatmyfood

                                                                what is crunchy mustard?
                                                                is it grainy mustard?

                                                                1. Slice in half, slowly fry in bacon grease cut side down. If they're big enough that they're not getting cooked all the way through, flip them. Salt. Pepper. Garlic optional (a plus, I think, if your previous experiences weren't good). They are crazy good.

                                                                  I had good brussels sprouts growing up (steamed, with butter), but a few years ago in Florida visiting in-laws I had The Most Appalling Brussels Sprouts Ever. Like, gag-inducing. I now have a healthy appreciation for folks whose formative tries were vile.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Mawrter

                                                                    I do the bacon fat thing, but add a few tbsp of water when the cut sides have browned and put on the lid, which completes the cooking by steaming. Can't say whether this dual method is better. Also, I tossed in some diced pancetta from Trader Joe's recently when the sprouts were nearly done. Liked it.

                                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                                      That sounds lovely. The older the sprout, the drier, so I can see situations where sprinkling water would help. And pancetta is always a welcome addition - nice!

                                                                    2. re: Mawrter


                                                                      Slice 3 - 4 mm in food processor, cook with lardons, covered, for Fricassee.

                                                                    3. No one has mentioned Deep Fried Brussels Sprouts?

                                                                      I just discovered these last week and was really amazed at how GOOD they are.
                                                                      After I had the first 2 mouthfuls I was already putting them on my grocery list to make more!

                                                                      Just cut in quarters, deep fry, drain on paper towel and sprinkle with salt or your favorite salt combination.

                                                                      Lightly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.
                                                                      If I was doing a blindfold taste test I would NOT have guessed that they were brussel sprouts.

                                                                      If you think you don't like brussel sprouts--at least try them this way once.
                                                                      Major YUM!!

                                                                      1. Just posted this on another thread.

                                                                        I love to prepare and eat Brussels sprouts as follows: Pour into a baking dish and try to make into one layer. Melt a stick of butter and drizzle over sprouts. Take a handful of light brown sugar and sprinkle over all. Roast until sprouts are tender. Yumm. The contrast is delightful.

                                                                        1. This recipe converted a good friend of mine who hates them as well. It's visually appealing, has great texture from the high heat roasting, and lots of sweet, salty, and savory notes. For the a full description and the restaurant that inspired this recipe check out
                                                                          Neurotic Kitchen - post dated Sunday, October 14, 2012

                                                                          Here's the recipe. It is a bit involved but easy to execute.
                                                                          ilili Brussels Sprouts
                                                                          Lightly Adapted from ilili Restaurant, NYC
                                                                          Serves 2-3 as a side dish

                                                                          1 lb Brussels Sprouts
                                                                          1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
                                                                          Mint Yogurt, Recipe Follows*
                                                                          Fig Puree, Recipe Follows*
                                                                          4 Tablespoon Toasted Walnuts, slightly crumbled.
                                                                          6 - 8 Tablespoons Seedless Red Grapes sliced into halves or thirds.
                                                                          1/2 teaspoon Sherry Vinegar or to taste
                                                                          Equipment - a baking sheet with sides or shallow roasting pan and 2 one gallon ZipLoc bags

                                                                          Fig Puree*
                                                                          Yields enough for 1 batch serving 2-3
                                                                          Can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature or warm slightly before using.
                                                                          1/2 Cup Water
                                                                          1/2 Cup Fig jam

                                                                          Method - Combine Jam and Water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow to cook, gently boiling, for another 2-3 minutes or so, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens and is reduced by half. Remove from the heat and strain out and discard any solids. Alternatively, you can puree the mixture in a mini blender. Set aside.

                                                                          Mint Yogurt*
                                                                          Yields enough for 1 batch serving 2-3 plus extra.Can be prepared several hours ahead and refrigerated.
                                                                          3/4 Cup (6 Oz) Plain Low Fat Yogurt - Emmi Swiss has great consistency and flavor
                                                                          1 Tablespoon Water
                                                                          3 Heaping Tbsp Mint, very finely minced
                                                                          1/4 to 1/2 Teaspoon Salt*

                                                                          Method - Combine Yogurt, Mint, and Water. Stir to incorporate. Next, start by stirring in a 1/4 teaspoon of Salt first and taste.* If you choose to add another 1/4 teaspoon Salt, you may find the Yogurt very salty. In the end, when all flavors are combined, the extra saltiness becomes very balanced, but I have a salty palate so use your discretion! You can always add more Salt later if you prefer.

                                                                          Overall Preparation Method:
                                                                          Place your oven rack in the upper middle position and preheat oven to 500.
                                                                          Clean and fully dry Sprouts. Remove some of the loose, outer leaves, especially the smaller yellow ones, and trim the woody Sprout base just enough to shorten it without cutting it so high that you sever the part that holds all the sprout leaves together. Pour Sprouts into a gallon ZipLoc bag and add a Tablespoon of Olive oil. Seal the bag and give it a good few shakes and squish it around with your hands so that Oil is distributed evenly. Next, spread Sprouts out evenly on a baking sheet and place in the oven.

                                                                          *If you haven't already prepared your Mint Yogurt or Fig Puree, now is the time, while your Sprouts are cooking. Both sauces come together fast!

                                                                          Cook Sprouts for about 18 minutes, shaking the pan twice or more throughout the cooking process to turn the Sprouts and cook them evenly. If you like your Sprouts more well done and less al dente, cook for up to 20 minutes - you can feel free to remove a few extra-browned leaves that may result once you are done and Sprouts have cooled slightly. Instructions for that follow.

                                                                          When cooking is done, the Brussels Sprouts will emerge partially browned and crispy on the outside but the first interior leaves should be green and the Sprout itself should be tender but not mushy. Even if they look very browned to you, don't worry - it will all taste great in the end. If there are some overly browned parts that seem too burnt/bitter, feel free to let Sprouts cool a bit and peel just a few of the darker leaves off and discard. When in doubt, taste!

                                                                          Let Sprouts cook slightly and place in another ZipLoc bag or bowl. Pour in half a teaspoon of Sherry Vinegar, seal, and give the bag a good shake. Sprinkle ever so slightly with Salt if you choose.

                                                                          To Serve:
                                                                          Plate your Sprouts in one serving bowl, alternating layers of Sprouts, Grapes, and Walnuts.

                                                                          Next, the two sauces should be drizzled over everything in a crosshatch pattern. You should use about 4 Tablespoons of the Fig Puree and 4-5 Tablespoons of the Mint Yogurt. Do not over-sauce, you can always serve the extra Fig Puree and Yogurt on the side. Optionally garnish with Mint Sprigs or a sprinkling of Chopped Mint if you choose.

                                                                          In the words of Ilili Restaurant/ The Recipe Author - "You’ll know you’ve perfected the seasoning when you get the perfect bite - a balance between bitter, salty, sweet, and sour and the umami."

                                                                          1. Shred them super fine with a mandoline and toss with some pistachios and the salad dressing of your choice. I like to up the acidity with some lemon juice or rice wine vinegar, but do that to your taste. I've served this to my inlaws and they were flabbergasted that these were sprouts; the combination of the dressing and the vinegar seem to make the sprouts taste like a fine delicate cabbage, which they are.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                              For those who don't have a mandoline or want the shredding done for them, Trader Joe's now sells bagged shredded Brussels sprouts in the refrigerated section.

                                                                              I've also used balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinaigrette when almost done. Not to disguise the flavor of the sprouts, which I kind of like, but to make it more complex and interesting. Same thing works with spinach.

                                                                            2. I once saw a TV chef making a soup that was inspired by stuffed cabbage. In other words, beef stock, canned tomato, ground beef, onions, garlic, raisins and/or craisins, rice, cabbage. I've replicated it a few times (no recipe), last time with Brussels sprouts instead of shredded cabbage.
                                                                              The taste was about the same but the halved sprouts added visual interest.

                                                                              1. You MUST roast them! Fabulous! Toss liberally with good olive oil & kosher salt, roast in one layer in 400 degree oven. About 20 minutes, maybe...shake/stir occasionally, when they are a bit charred and slightly tender they are done. Easy & truly delicious.
                                                                                Oh--and they are much better harvested after a frost, and if you can get them still on the stalk that is great, too--but you can't always find them that way.

                                                                                1. I roast brussel sprouts with red grapes and toss them in a bit of balsamic vinegar and sprinkle some walnuts on it. I got this recipe from an issue of Whole Living and it's great!

                                                                                  I slice the sprouts and grapes in half. I've used both red seedless and globe. Although you can keep them whole if they're pretty small grapes. Then I toss them in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. I roast them at 400F for about 25 min (until I can pierce the brussel sprouts with a fork). Then I sprinkle some toasted walnuts on it and toss it all in a bit of balsamic vinegar.

                                                                                  1. While I LOVE a good roasted or pan roasted brussel sprout, I'm Dutch and can't help but love a dish that involves brussel sprouts cooked to hell and part of a mash. I don't really have a recipe for my brussel sprout and potato mash, but a fellow Dutchie has a wonderful recipe site and her recipe is quite close to mine. Mine involves mascarpone where she uses boursin and I skip the herbs she adds. I also add a touch more curry and way less milk than her recipe calls for. Adding warm, crispy bacon pieces at the end truly makes this dish!


                                                                                    1. Sauteed or roasted. With red pepper flakes and toasted pecans. Bacon optional.

                                                                                      1. shred them in the food processor, then stir into a pilaf.