Brussels Sprouts: Caramelized or Roasted

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

by Cat, Nov 2011 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: Basic Braised Greens (About)

Includes: 1. Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, with Lemon; 2. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans

It took me a long time to warm up to the cabbage family. That is, as a preschooler, I loved cole slaw and sauerkraut, but then in the first grade, I got the stomach flu, the day after I helped my Dad eat a whole pint of sauerkraut. I woke up in the middle of the night with a very uneasy stomach, and vomited before I could reach the toilet. Because what came up was mostly sauerkraut, I could not even look at cabbage for a long time. It was in my 20s that I started eating cole slaw, and my late 30s when I could handle cooked cabbage and broccoli. I still can’t do sauerkraut.

But I’d never even seen a Brussels sprout until I was in my late 30s. I tried them and didn’t like them — too bitter.

Since then I’ve warmed to bitter flavors, but what won me over to the sprouts, was a housemate. Generally, he and I did not like the same foods or ways of preparing them, but we tried to take turns preparing dinner, and one night he made Brussels sprouts. I curled my lip at the thought, but tried one anyway. OMG! So sweet and delicious!

What made them so good? He had cut them in half lengthwise, then caramelized them, cut side down in some butter in a skillet, then added a bit of water to steam them done – a type of braising. And now I make them this way all the time.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, with Lemon

Caramelizing the sprouts really brings out their sweet flavors and I highly recommend this way to cook them. I like the addition of lemon juice (from Better Homes & Gardens magazine, Dec 2011 (1)), but you can skip that if you wish.

Serves 2.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 6 – 8 Brussels sprouts – enough to make 1 ½ cups, halved
  • ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • unrefined sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tsp water (1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp)
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about ⅓ lemon)
  • cast iron skillet


  1. Trim sprouts & halve lengthwise, then rinse well.
  2. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Arrange the sprouts in a single layer, cut-side down; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove lid and sprinkle with the water. Cover again and cook 2 minutes more. The sprouts should be just tender when pierced with a fork, and beginning to caramelize on the cut side.
  4. Remove cover and raise heat to medium high. When cut sides are well-caramelized, toss sprouts in pan, drizzle with lemon juice, and adjust seasoning.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans

I found this recipe on Mercola’s food facts: Brussels Sprouts (2); he sites it from My (3). It sounds delicious and I’ll have to try this soon; I’ve adapted this to use soaked pecans which increases their healthfulness.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped, soaked, and dried
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • rimmed baking sheet


  1. Chop pecans roughly to fill ½ cup, then soak overnight in warm water. Drain, rinse and set on toweling to remove excess moisture. No need to dry them in oven or dehydrator, as they will get dried while roasting with the Brussels sprouts. (see Soaking Nuts).
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil the baking sheet.
  3. Wash, trim and halve the Brussels sprouts. Finely chop the garlic. Toss Brussels sprouts, garlic, pecans on baking sheet, and season with about ¼ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp pepper, or to taste. Turn all the sprouts cut-side down.
  4. Roast 20 – 25 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts are tender and golden on underside.


  1. Better Homes & Gardens magazine, Dec 2011
  2. Mercola on Brussels Sprouts:
  3. My Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans:

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