Dinner-table tension between a picky palate and a plate of brussels sprouts: It’s a tale as old as time. But handling brussels sprouts with a little extra care (and oil) can go a long way in assuaging mealtime woes.
Sign up for the Cook's Country Dinner Tonight newsletter
10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.
You probably already know how a hot oven or skillet can transform vegetables into gorgeously caramelized, nutty-sweet flavor bombs. But especially when roasting brussels sprouts, it’s so important to use enough fat in the form of extra-virgin olive oil, butter, or bacon fat (at least a glug more than you think).
Fat conducts heat to cook the sprouts faster and seeps between the leaves of the cut sprouts to cook them more evenly. This helps avoid the steamy, sulfurous middles that so often give sprouts their bad rap. A generous splash of acid also balances the sprouts’ bitterness.
To switch up the routine, I also like to shred brussels sprouts and give them the cabbage treatment for anyone who might turn up their nose at the idea of biting into a whole sprout (an experience that, for brussels sprout enthusiasts, is a slice of crispy, caramelized heaven).
Sprouts also make for tasty salads (simply let the strands sit in the dressing for a couple minutes to soften slightly) and sautés, as in this recipe for Chicken Breasts with Brussels Sprouts, Chickpeas, and Bacon; the shredded sprouts cook so quickly in the skillet, have tons of surface area for soaking up that bacony goodness, and have a more tender texture and complex flavor than cabbage. I think your whole family will love this dish.
Chicken Breasts with Brussels Sprouts, Chickpeas, and BaconBrussels sprouts and chickpeas cooked in bacon fat dress up this weeknight chicken dinner.
If you’re new to prepping brussels sprouts in this way, here’s a simple guide for shredding them by hand.
- Trim the stem end off each sprout.
- Halve each sprout through the cut end.
- With the flat surface on the cutting board, slice each half to make very thin pieces.
Of course, if you’re short on time or don’t feel comfortable with this potentially time-intensive process, you can feel free to use a food processor equipped with a slicing blade (you can buy our favorite here). Just be sure to check your sprouts after each pulse; you want finely chopped slaw, nothing smaller than that.
I can assure you that by transforming the texture and flavor of your sprouts through new prepping methods and delicious serving suggestions, even the pickiest eaters will be asking for seconds. Just be sure to save some for yourself.