Roasted until crispy or shredded thin, brussels sprouts make their way into countless dishes this season (including the big Thanksgiving feast)! Read on for our best tips for working with these gems, plus new ways to prepare them from the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen.
Brussels Sprouts: Everything You Need to Know
What to Look For
Fresh brussels sprouts are sold loose or packed in pint baskets or small tubs, although at some farmers’ markets you can buy them on the stalks. Buy fresh brussels sprouts that are heavy for their size and bright green, with leaves clinging tightly to the heads. Avoid any with yellowing leaves, which indicate aging. Check that the stem ends are freshly cut. Also avoid soft heads with loose leaves. Small heads, about 1 inch in diameter, are usually preferable to large ones, which can be almost twice that size.
To prepare this autumn brassica, rinse and dry the heads. Trim any brown outside leaves and trim away the stem ends. Cut a shallow “X” into the stem end before cooking so that the heads will cook quickly and evenly. Larger heads can be halved or quartered before cooking.
Store in plastic bags or the original packaging in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but try to eat them as soon as possible after purchase. To freeze, rinse and dry the heads and blanch for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on their size. Then refresh in cold water, drain, and freeze in sturdy freezer bags or rigid containers. Brussels sprouts also freeze well.
Your Brussels Sprout Toolkit
- Mandoline, for slicing brussels sprouts
- Food processor, for shredding
- Paring knife, to trim and prep vegetables
- A heavyweight lidded pan, to cook brussels sprouts until tender
Brussels can be prepared the same way as other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, taking well to boiling, braising, steaming and roasting. Thinly slice the heads or break off individual leaves to saute or serve fresh as a salad or slaw, or try putting cooked brussels sprouts into a panini.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Walnuts & Pecans: Using a mandoline or food processor, shred brussels sprouts. Transfer to a large bowl. Whisk together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss brussels sprouts with vinaigrette. Add diced apples, toasted walnuts and toasted pecans and toss to combine.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lardons & Pears: Cut thick-cut or slab bacon into 1/4-inch pieces. In an ovenproof pan over medium heat, saute until crisp. Increase heat to medium-high and add halved brussels sprouts and diced Comice pears. Roast at 400°F until the brussels sprouts are caramelized, about 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time.
Flatbread with Brussels Sprouts, Pancetta & Fontina: Saute diced pancetta until browned. Cook sliced shallots in olive oil until caramelized. Roll out pizza dough and top with a thin layer of pureed roasted garlic. Top with shredded fontina, shaved brussels sprouts, and the pancetta and shallots. Bake in a 500°F oven until dough is crisp. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Browned Butter: Trim brussels sprouts and cut into quarters. Saute in olive oil until browned. Remove from pan, reduce heat to medium and add butter. Cook until browned and fragrant. Return brussels sprouts to pan and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and finish with chopped toasted hazelnuts and aged balsamic vinegar.
Fried Brussels Sprouts: Trim brussels sprouts and halve lengthwise. Working in batches, deep fry in vegetable oil at 350°F until well browned and the edges begin to curl. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.
Brussels Sprouts Caesar: Separate brussels sprouts into individual leaves. Blanch, then immerse in cold water. Drain. Whisk together minced garlic, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, grated Parmesan and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and thin slightly with water. Toss brussels sprouts with dressing to taste. Finish with croutons, shaved Parmesan and cracked black pepper.
Brussels add a nice surprise crunch to an otherwise traditional breakfast hash with eggs.
This on-trend kale and brussels sprouts salad combines hot roasted brussels sprouts with kale, plus crunchy pecans and shavings of Parmesan cheese.
Let this cruciferous cold-weather vegetable stand out by preparing it in the simple possible way: with nothing but garlic and a little bit of butter.
The result of tossing brussels sprouts in honey, olive oil, vinegar and fresh rosemary before a quick stint in the oven? Tender, caramelized, deeply scented and crispy vegetables that even picky eaters can’t resist.
Combining both roasted and raw vegetables, this grain-based salad showcases the bounty of the autumn farmer’s market. Serve alongside roasted meats or as a hearty vegetarian entrée with a loaf of crusty bread.