I think Brussels sprouts look like adorable little cabbages. And while I don’t mind the natural flavor of this vegetable, there are ways to prepare them that transform them into heavenly little cabbage heads of deliciousness. I don’t recall ever trying or being served Brussels sprouts until I was in college. And now here I am, sharing my latest recipe: Asian-inspired Brussels Sprouts Sauté.Jump to Recipe
Discovery and DNA
I wish I had some awesome story about how I came to adore these sprouts. Alas, I don’t even remember exactly how they caught my eye. I do remember I’d gone shopping and was intrigued enough to pick up some frozen sprouts. I was a pretty broke college student: maybe they were on sale.
Because I had no history with this vegetable and because it was before the days of internet and millions of recipes at a touch, I kept it simple. I boiled the Brussels sprouts according to package directions, drained them, then added butter (or more probably, margarine), sprinkled them with salt and pepper and served them over rice.
I liked them. In fact, sometimes I craved them. Does that happen for you, too? I never argued with a craving for a vegetable. I figured it was my body telling me I needed some nutrient I’d been missing from my mostly terrible college diet.
Later in life, I learned that some people have a genetic trait that makes sprouts taste awful. I’m so glad I’m not one of them. If you are, try this recipe with a different vegetable. I bet it would be good with carrots, or even broccoli. (Meatatarian? Try it with cubes of pork or beef.)
Fresh or Frozen?
Over the years I’ve learned there are many ways to fix these cabbage-like sprouts. Nowadays I rarely pick up frozen sprouts, because preparing fresh Brussels sprouts is easy, and they don’t tend to get mushy as easily as the frozen variety. But if you can’t find fresh, frozen will work.
Rice & Spice
As empty nesters, my husband and I do a lot of dinners over rice. This dish is one of them. I like to prep the vegetables ahead of time and throw them in the fridge to make a really quick meal. You can cook the rice while you’re cooking the sprouts and have it all done in under 30 minutes! Speaking of rice, we really enjoy these with basmati or jasmine rice, and long grain white rice works very well, too.
A chili oil will work if you don’t have chili paste, but we got a really spicy chili paste on recommendation from a local market—Spice World International Market. They have an amazing selection, especially considering that we don’t live in or near any really big cities. I wanted to give a shout out to them because there may be others in my area that don’t know this market is around and because it was this chili paste that inspired me to make this dish.
The owner recommended it when we told him we liked hot food. He warned us that you don’t need much paste … he said he even overdid the heat with it once. That almost put me off from buying it, because I don’t do super hot, but hubby very quickly grabbed up a jar and said, “We’ll take it. Thanks!” Yep. He wasn’t going to lose the chance to get something hot in the house. And it is hot, but it really adds a great punch and flavor to the dishes in which we use it. I had no trouble dialing in the desired heat and making this work for us.
Sauté & Serve
While I call this a sauté, it also involves a little steaming to soften up the sprouts. Be sure that the pan you use to sauté has a lid that closes completely so you can hold the steam in. You want to cook the sprouts until they are firm. Don’t cook them long enough, and they will be too hard and crunchy. Cook them too long, and they will be mushy or browned.
The last time I made these I served them with rice and a chicken curry I threw together using leftover chicken from my chicken stock and some of my green sauce. I would be remiss if I didn’t add that this is one of those top last meal dishes for my husband. Spicy, flavorful … what’s not to like?
As an aromatic and flavorful vegetarian dish, Asian-inspired Brussels Sprouts Sauté can easily convert to low sodium. Just eliminate salt or use a substitute. It’s also gluten free.
Meat lovers, don’t despair—I’ve got a Brussels sprouts recipe with you in mind that I’ll share in the future.
I actually love fish and vegetables. I was raised on vegetables! Anything green—spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts—I crave.– Eva Longoria
Asian-inspired Brussels Sprouts Sauté
- 16 oz Brussels sprouts, fresh
- ½ tsp coarse ground sea salt
- ¼ ground black pepper
- 1 medium clove garlic minced
- ½ yellow or white onion chopped
- 1-2 TBSP olive or coconut oil
- chili paste to taste
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp sweet basil
- ½ tsp fenugreek
- Trim bottom of Brussels sprouts and chop in half lengthwise.
- Mince garlic and chop onion.
- Place oil and chili paste in pan and heat to medium
- Add spices and mix well.
- Add vegetables, mix and sauté until Brussels sprouts outer leaves soften.
- Turn heat to low, cover and simmer about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until sprouts are firm (neither crunchy nor mushy).
- remove from heat and serve warm