These Simple Skillet Brussels Sprouts are going to change your life for the better. Yes, Brussels Sprouts. As in the mini cabbage-like vegetables. Those little round and green things you always skim right by in the produce section. It’s ok. We used to skim right by them too…
Appreciating Brussels Sprouts
When I was a kid, Brussels Sprouts terrified me. Like they literally scared me. I would look at them on my plate, all soggy and unappealing, and all I could think about was how they looked like little brains. All those layers were just not something I wanted to try. Not an image that makes you want to eat these veggies.
Then, I would take a bite and immediately be hit by the pungent taste of cabbage that had been over cooked and under seasoned. Okay, it is clear that my mom did not know how to make this vegetable. Sorry mom but I am going to blame you for this one! No wonder I didn’t like them- they were just made wrong! However, as a kid, I didn’t know that what I was eating was a vegetable that wasn’t living up to it’s potential. I just assumed that Brussels sprouts were an unappetizing veggie. How wrong I was…
Now that I am older (and so much wiser!), I wanted to give Brussels Sprouts a second chance. I have spent years avoiding them and I felt like that should come to an end. So many people seem to love Brussels Sprouts and I was wondering what I was missing. How could so many people love this terrifying veggie! Yet, looking into Burssel Sprouts more and more I was willing to try them again (maybe not the ones my mom makes though…). After all, they are really quite nutritious and it wouldn’t hurt to have another healthy veggie recipe up my sleeve.
Pan Sauteed Brussels Sprouts
The first thing I considered when contemplating making Brussels sprouts was the cooking method I was going to use. My mom had always steamed them in the microwave and that didn’t seem to be the route to go. Pan searing sounded like a much better option. Getting the Brussels sprouts crispy sounded appealing. Searing all of those layers (that use to scare me) in a hot pan with oil would make them crisp nicely, giving the veggie a little crunch rather than just making them soggy. Also, pan searing would get a little of that natural caramelization on there, add a little flavor…sounded perfect.
I also wanted to add something to the Brussels Sprouts. I saw a lot of recipes that used bacon and while yes, they did sound delicious, I wanted to keep my veggies healthy. I’m a huge bacon fan but why add those extra calories and fats when you don’t need to? Maybe I’ll try the bacon route one day but for now, I was keeping these “beginner Brussels sprouts” vegetarian and healthy!
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Garlic
I opted to go simple with my seasonings and additions, trying to add flavor but keep the essence of the vegetable rather than try to cover it up (which I think many Brussels Sprouts recipes do- I mean it is hard to compete with the taste of bacon!). Garlic, salt and red pepper sounded perfect. They are all basic yet flavorful and also ingredients I always have on hand. They also all seemed to be ingredients that other people enjoyed on Brussels sprouts and yes, I did a lot of recipe research before making my own Brussels sprouts creation as I wanted to be sure to make them perfectly!
To make this recipe a little different, I added some lime juice and also grabbed the coconut oil to cook with rather than vegetable oil. These sprouts were sounding a little bit tropical now…I was liking it! A little spice, a little tang and a little sweet- can’t go wrong there! I was getting pretty excited.
How To Cook Brussels Sprouts
After a lot of research and reading cookbooks, I learned that Brussels Sprouts are best when they are tender on the inside but crispy on the outside (sorry mom, soggy sprouts was never mentioned in anything I read!). In order to achieve this, it is best to cut the sprouts in half. This way, they get seared throughout each layer of the sprout, making the leaves nice and crisp.
Cutting each individual Brussels sprouts is a little bit of a pain but trust me, it is worth it. Unveiling all the layer in the sprouts is key. You want the oil in the pan to get into each individual layer, crisping it fully. Cutting the sprouts also makes sure all of your seasonings get into the center of the sprout making them extra flavorful. Cut them in half and they are ready to fry!
It does take a while in the pan to achieve this perfect texture but once everything was added in, all it took was an occasional stir and they basically cooked themselves! Even when I tried using frozen Brussels, they cooked right up, no problem! No need to search for fresh sprouts when you can almost always find great quality veggies in the freezer aisle (did you know frozen veggies can actually be more healthy and nutritious than some fresh grocery store veggies? Read about it here.)! Why was this way easier than I thought! Why had I been avoiding Brussels sprouts for so long?
What do Brussels Sprouts Taste Like
While I always remember Brussels Sprouts as being bitter and mushy, the sprouts I created with this new recipe were the complete opposite. They had a slight crunch and then gave way to a juicy center. The flavors of lime and coconut oil, spicy red pepper and robust garlic were all very present and made the sprouts irresistible. I literally kept popping them in my mouth! They would definitely pair well with any number of main courses and be a great side dish for grilled chicken, steak or mixed into pasta. However, I’ll be honest, the first batch I made I just ate straight out of the pan. Not ashamed- they were so good!
All in all, my fear of Brussels Sprouts was conquered. While yes, I still think they look a little creepy, I am super excited anytime I buy them as I know I will soon be eating a healthy and flavorful veggie that pars well with almost anything. This veggie has become a staple in my household and I always have a few bags in the freezer.
Also, I did make this recipe for my mom and she couldn’t believe how amazing they were. Turns out, she never liked the way she made Brussels Sprouts either!
With a little sweetness from the coconut oil, a little zing thanks to the lime juice and a spicy kick to top it all off, these Brussels sprouts are the perfect side dish and pair well with many meals.
- 1 lb. fresh (or frozen) brussels sprouts, sliced in half
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon salt/pepper (to taste)
- Preheat stove med-high heat
- In a large skillet add coconut oil and garlic, sautee for 1 minute.
- Add brussels sprouts, lime juice, red pepper powder, salt/pepper (to taste)
- Sautee for at least 10 minutes, turning to make sure they cook evenly.
- Serve immediately.
- You can easily bake these Brussels Sprouts in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Toss all the ingredients together and then spread on a lined sheet tray. Flip them halfways through the baking time to get a nice even crunch.
- These sprouts will keep in the fridge for up to one week.
- Coconut oil can be replaced with an equal amount of vegetable oil or olive oil
- Skip the red pepper flakes if you do not want your sprouts to be spicy.
- Drizzle Sriracha over he sprouts to make them extra spicy.