My first experience with Brussels sprouts was not very pleasant: I used to associate them with small, soggy gray cabbages that looked like lumps of coal on our Christmas spread. Not to mention they smelled horrible. After a while, my mother wouldn’t let a sprout so much as cross the threshold of our doorstep. So one year when my sister wanted to try her hand at making Brussels sprouts for Christmas, it was met with adversity. But I quickly learned that this controversial vegetable doesn’t have to be boiled into oblivion; it can be roasted, sautéed or shredded for differing tastes and textures.
Lately, I’ve often seen Brussels sprouts paired with bacon, and this dynamic duo is on its way to becoming a new classic — like spaghetti and meatballs or peanut butter and jelly. Brussels sprouts, like just about any vegetable, benefit from being caramelized in bacon fat for a side dish that draws on the rich flavors of autumn and winter. And the resulting opulent aroma is always nutty and sweet. There’s no question that something salty and porky will be paired with these little cabbages at my next holiday meal.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with a Bacon, Mustard, and Walnut Vinaigrette (pictured above)
Roast these sprouts until tender and charred and toss with grainy mustard, textured walnuts and slab bacon.
Get the Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts, Pancetta, and Parsley
Blanching the Brussels sprouts until “al dente” helps to retain a bright green color while softening their natural bitterness.
Get the Recipe: Brussels Sprouts, Kale and Celery Root Gratin
Brussels sprouts become bedfellows with kale and celery root in this hearty gratin made with thick chunks of ham and a mustard-breadcrumb topping.
Get the Recipe: Brussels Sprouts Salad
If you simply don’t like sprouts for their bulky texture, try delicately sautéing the leaves in duck fat and serving with bacon and Parmesan for a warm salad.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon, Pancetta and Parmesan
Brussels sprouts get hit with bright citrus and salty pancetta and Parmesan.
More Brussels sprouts recipes from family and friends:
Feed Me Phoebe: Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad With Almonds, Manchego and Pimenton Vinaigrette
Cooking With Elise: Perfectly Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Brussels Sprouts With Vinegar and Cranberries
Red or Green?: Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes
And Love It Too: Lemon-Infused Brussels
Virtually Homemade: Fried Brussels Sprouts With Crispy Parsley and Parmesan
Thursday Night Dinner: Brussels Sprouts With Parmesan and Breadcrumbs
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Brussels Sprouts
FN Dish: Simple Brussels Sprouts Recipes