5@5 - Brilliant Brussels sprouts
November 16th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

A very wise frog once told us, "It's not easy being green." No vegetable knows that plight better than the Brussels sprout.

The tiny green orbs cause such visceral reactions among some eaters that you'd think a plate of rotten eggs and moldy bread was in front of them.

Walter Bundy, the executive chef of Lemaire in Richmond, Virginia, argues otherwise. In fact, he thinks Brussels sprouts are quite fabulous when done right - and we're going to have to agree.

“I love to cook with Brussels sprouts because they seem to represent autumn and winter to me. They are very robust with an earthy flavor. They have a slight bitterness that works well with so many other foods, " says Bundy.

Five Ways to Cook with Brussels Sprouts: Walter Bundy

walter bundy

1. Brussels sprouts can be cooked using an array of techniques, including boiling, braising, sautéing, steaming, frying and roasting.

2. Before working with Brussels sprouts, blanch them in salted, boiling water to heighten the color and flavor.

3. Roasting Brussels sprouts in the oven with herbs is a simple and great way to add color and crispness to the dish.

4. If you’re looking for a richer, creamier side dish, braise Brussels sprouts with heavy cream and goat cheese.

5. One of my favorite fall side dishes is Brussels sprouts with bacon and butternut squash. It represents the flavors of the season and brings out the slight bitterness of the Brussels sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts Soup with Cream and Nutmeg
Serves 4


  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1/2 quart heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 quarts Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • Kosher salt, white pepper and freshly ground nutmeg to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. In a soup pot, heat butter, olive oil, onion, celery and garlic over medium heat. Sweat for 7-10 minutes.
  2. Add the stocks, cream and Brussels sprouts. Cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
  3. Remove soup pot from heat and blend in small batches. Adjust consistency with warm water if necessary, and enjoy.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Butternut Squash
Serves 4


  • 8 oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 8 oz butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into medium dice
  • 4 oz applewood bacon, rendered and diced
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 oz pumpkin seeds, toasted until golden
  • 1 cup heavy cream, reduced by 1/2
  • 3 oz or 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and white pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Add butternut squash. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove and immerse the squash in an ice bath.
  2. In a saucepan, warm the reduced cream and add Parmesan cheese.
  3. In a large sauté pan, heat butter over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until slightly roasted and caramelized. Add blanched butternut squash and bacon. Heat throughout. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
  4. Serve sautéed Brussels sprouts, bacon and butternut squash on individual plates. Drizzle Parmesan cream over the top. Finish with toasted pumpkin seeds and serve with your favorite fall protein.

Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Juice and Thyme
Serves 4


  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 10 oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 12 stems fresh thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and white pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large sauté pan, heat butter over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook for 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic, and continue to cook until the Brussels sprouts are slightly caramelized and soft throughout.
  2. Squeeze the fresh lemon over the Brussels sprouts and garlic.
  3. Add the cream and fresh thyme. Season with kosher salt and white pepper to taste and enjoy.

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Vidalia Onions
Serves 4


  • 8 oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 4 oz pancetta, diced
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 large Vidalia onions, cored and julienned
  • Kosher salt and white pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Fill a large pot with heavily salted water and bring to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove and immerse the Brussels sprouts in an ice bath. Reserve.
  2. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add butter and let brown. Add onions and cook until slightly caramelized, about 7-10 minutes. Reserve.
  3. Heat another sauté pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until slightly crispy and rendered. Drain the oil. Add the pre-cooked Brussels sprouts and Vidalia onions. Season with salt and white pepper.
  4. Heat through and serve as an autumn side dish.

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Brussels Sprouts • Holiday • Holidays • Make • Recipes • Thanksgiving • Thanksgiving • Think

soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. Juicy Lucy


    February 22, 2013 at 3:16 am |
  2. Juicy Lucy

    Delicios! Ithought i don't like brussel sprouts, but now it's my favorite vegetable!!!
    Also found a great recepie here.

    February 22, 2013 at 3:15 am |
  3. Baron von Häagen-Dazs

    No, "roughly chopped" means chopped in a broad and vulgar manner, i.e. while swearing like a sailor.

    November 19, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • Vikram

      I love brussel sptours and squash. My husband likes squash okay, but won't even try brussel sptours when I've made them. (Even roasted and yummy like this.) sigh All the more for me. ;)

      December 23, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  4. That Guy

    "Roughly" chopped? Was the word "coarsely" the one being looked for here?

    November 18, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  5. zlop

    A symbol of creeping Communism, Brussels is the capitol of the Evil European Union.
    Will boiling the mini Cabbage in oil, defuse the weaponized GMO inside ?

    November 18, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  6. purdum

    There's also a big difference in Brussels sprouts depending on their size. Avoid the golf-ball sized sprouts in the supermarkets and try to find small sprouts at a farmers market. Sprouts the size of your thumbnail or a large marble, cooked whole, are vastly superior to the huge ones that have to be halved or even quartered to cook all the way through. We grow our own, harvest them at the right size, and freeze what we don't eat fresh.

    November 18, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  7. shoos

    Love brussel sprouts. Tell your kids they are barbie doll lettuce. Great served with melted (real) butter. :)

    November 18, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  8. hannah1

    My Mother served Brussels sprouts just once when I was a child. I said they looked like pigeon heads. Yukk! We never went there again! To this day, I still hate them.

    November 18, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  9. .

    All these recipes seem to hide the brussels sprouts with heavy cream, bacon, butter and pancetta. Why not just eliminate the sprouts and eat the pork fat?

    November 18, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • rachel

      Agreed. Anything tastes good with cream and bacon! And then the dish is unhealthy- might as well skip it altogether.

      November 18, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  10. Dave

    I LOVE brussel sprouts. Always did from the time I was a child. This article reminds me that I need to ask my wife to make me some. Yummy!

    November 18, 2012 at 5:31 am |
    • jeaniet

      throw them in the steamer, turn on the stove and cook them for yourself lazy butt!!

      November 18, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  11. That Guy

    "Roughly chopped?" Am I supposed to more or less chop it? Or am I supposed to chop it violently? Or was the word being looked for here actually "coarsely?"

    November 18, 2012 at 3:37 am |
  12. Pragmaclast

    I think a lot of the hate comes from grandma over-cooking them down in to toxic waste.

    I learned to love them, plus other cultivars of Brassica oleracea, when I started cooking for myself and discovered that vegemush is not necessary. I feel sorry for those genetically incapable of enjoying B. oleracea.

    November 18, 2012 at 1:36 am |
  13. retphxfire

    Love sprouts and butternut squash..but hate peeling the squash!

    November 18, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • esmiranda

      Hate peeling butternut squash? Buy it pre-peeled and cut in the produce section. It costs more, but it's worth it if you have a hard time peeling and cutting winter squash by hand.

      November 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  14. Megan

    Roasting is my favorite prep method for brussels sprouts – some salt, olive oil, and garlic, and you're good to go!
    One of my favorite recipes, however, is this: http://feastandfast.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/cornmeal-masala-roasted-brussels-sprouts/

    It's freaking brilliant.

    November 18, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  15. Fred May

    Love Brussel Sprouts. Enjoy eating them any way they are prepared. Put up with the after effects later. One of my favorite foods.

    November 18, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • retphxfire

      Me too!!!!!!!

      November 18, 2012 at 1:29 am |
  16. Allie

    This is simple ignorance. The gene which causes some people to like Brussels sprouts while others hate them has been located. No amount of special cooking will make Brussels sprouts taste good to someone who has the gene. They can taste a chemical present in them which others cannot taste. Do your family a favor, and if you have family members who say they hate them while you don't understand why they would say that, realize it's like getting mad at someone for saying your socks don't match if you happen to be colorblind. They are not tasting what you taste. Serve something else.

    November 18, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Ann

      I thought that gene was about spinach?

      November 19, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  17. LP

    Steamed; then tossed with a little brown sugar, black pepper, and reduced cider vinegar; topped with cumbled bacon. Yum!

    November 17, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  18. JS

    I've always loved brussels sprouts, but had only had them steamed. Recently discovered roasting them – just with olive oil and kosher salt – and they're FABULOUS!! I trim them and then roast them at 425 degrees, stirring them on the pan every 8-10 minutes, until they're dark brown to black (usually 40-50 minutes). Not bitter at all, and terrific hot or cold. The single leaves that fall off are crunchy and delicious. I make a big batch of them and then eat them like candy until they're gone; they usually don't last more than a day, and sometimes not even more than a few hours. Yum!

    November 17, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  19. JC in Western US

    My niece was married to a man who fancied himself quite the chef. Every year at Christmas dinner, he made what I thought were really fabulous Brussels Sprouts.

    Then they got divorced. When I told my husband and sons about the divorce, separately, I wasn't exactly expecting tears because none of them had great affection for the ex-husband. But I was surprised that all three of them had the exact same response, when I told each (separately) about the impending divorce. All three said the same exact thing, phrased exactly the same way: "Good. Now I never have to eat Brussels sprouts again."

    November 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  20. taskmaster

    Every time I go on a cruise I see people eating snails. That doesn't mean that I"m going to eat them. The same thing goes for Brussels Sprouts. To some folks they may be delicious but to me the nasty.

    November 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • retphxfire

      True..I love brussel sprouts, my daughter hates them. She says they taste like how dirty socks smell?|!?!

      November 18, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  21. rexdogcanadien

    Brussel sprout in my number one favorite vegetable. Its bitter taste stimulates my appeitite _ good for the liver.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  22. johnquepublique

    Nothing but mutant, dwarf cabbage! I don't eat them now, and I ain't eatin' 'em any time in the near future. So saute away, boys!

    November 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • SPW


      November 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  23. SW

    Take a perfectly good vegetable and make it a cardio-killer with all that slathered butter & cream. Heck! Em' plain and green! Yum.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  24. dan5280

    I only read the panchetta and vidalia recipe as that is a typical combination for me and I wanted to see how someone else might do it. I'm very surprised by all the extra work and inneficiency this writer suggests.

    I used a cast iron pan for starters. I get it extremely hot and add either bacon or salted pork belly, sliced in half Brussels and onions. I leave it alone as much as possible to really let the ingredients brown. Flip once or trice over a total of 3 minutes. Place in oven at 350 and leave alone for about 8 minutes. They are done and perfect at that point, although you can still season for taste.

    One pan, easy clean up., perfect result.

    November 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • dan5280

      julienned onions, that is.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Lisa

      Efficient & delicious. This is how the real world needs to cook - one pan, not to many steps. Thanks!

      November 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  25. Red Wolf

    Now here is something a fat person would never eat.

    November 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • hawkechik

      Wanna bet? My brother-in-law cooks them by boiling them lightly in what is basically a butter sauce. I do NOT want to know how many calories is in them, but that's not going to stop me from eating them!

      November 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
      • Red Wolf

        So, what you are saying is that he is a cow.

        November 17, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
        • Red Wolf

          And you as well.

          November 17, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
        • Special Wolf

          And you are an @sshole.

          November 30, 2012 at 9:15 am |
        • Jerv@Special Wolf

          Red Wolf is a Marquee Blog troll. A really bad one at that. Just ignore the lame, brain dead buffoon.

          November 30, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  26. ctyankee16

    I like to cut them in half and steam them; meanwhile saute some onion and diced apples; combine.
    Or cut them in half, steam them, saute some onion, combine, pour in a little orange juice.

    November 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • batjones

      ct: I like your style, but all I need is boiled brussel sprouts, not overcooked, and I am fine. When the boiled water and the natural juices of the vegetables are combined I find it tastes kind of sweet.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  27. will

    Brussel Sprouts are not part of any food group. My mum made me eat one when we had them at meal times as a kid and I perfected swallowing it whole! I'm 52 now, still cann't stand the things...

    November 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm |


    November 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
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