They're Green and Round, but You'll Be Neither -- 7 Unique Brussels Sprout Recipes

In Season: These cabbage cousins are at the peak of their season from September to February.

What to Look For: Look for hard, bright-green sprout heads, as mushy sprouts yield less flavor. Avoid those with excessive leaf perforations; they may be housing aphids, common garden pests. Choose sprout heads of roughly the same size so they'll cook evenly.

How to Store: Store unwashed Brussels sprouts in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use within three or four days.

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Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Lemon

Brussels sprouts are simmered, then sauteed until golden brown. Lemon juice adds brightness to this easy side dish.

12 ounces Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise, or quartered if large
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges, for serving

1. In a skillet, combine sprouts and 1/2 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has evaporated and sprouts are crisp-tender, 5 to 8 minutes (add 1/4 cup more water if skillet becomes dry before sprouts are done).

2. Increase heat to medium-high; add oil to skillet. Continue to cook, uncovered, without stirring, until sprouts are golden brown on underside, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges.

Brussels Sprout, Apple, and Bacon Hash

Roasting vegetables and fruits intensifies their natural sweetness. Bacon adds the perfect touch of mouthwatering savoriness.

3 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved if large
2 red onions, unpeeled, halved lengthwise
Extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 apple, such as Gala or Golden Delicious, cored
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 ounces thick-cut bacon (about 4 slices), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss brussels sprouts and onions with just enough oil to coat; season with salt and pepper. Spread vegetables in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Fill center of apple with butter, and add to baking sheet. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes for the apple, 40 to 45 minutes for the vegetables.

2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until fat renders and bacon begins to crisp, about 12 minutes. Pour off most fat, leaving behind enough to coat bottom of pan.

3. When onion and apple are cool enough to handle, cut into pieces about the size of brussels sprouts. Add onion, apple, and brussels sprouts to skillet, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 15 minutes.

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Crisp Brussels Sprout Leaves

Separating Brussels sprouts into individual leaves allows them to roast up quickly and crisply. A handful of walnuts and a showering of grated Pecorino-Romano cheese add intrigue.

1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed, leaves separated
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest plus lemon wedges for serving
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano (1 ounce)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss brussels sprout leaves with oil, zest, and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until leaves are crisp and golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with Pecorino and serve with lemon wedges.

Israeli Couscous with Brussels Sprouts

Mixed with a confetti of browned Brussels sprouts leaves and tangy lemon zest, Israeli couscous makes a colorful side dish. Brussels sprouts leaves cook faster than whole sprouts and have a more delicate flavor. To separate them, trim the ends of the vegetables, and peel off as many leaves as you can.

1 1/2 cups water
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cup Israeli or pearl couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups brussels sprouts leaves (from 8 ounces brussels sprouts)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Bring water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous, and simmer, covered, until tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium high-sided skillet over high heat. Cook brussels sprouts leaves until tender and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Stir brussels sprouts leaves into couscous. Stir in remaining tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Smoky Brussels Sprout Gratin

Nutty aged Gouda cheese tops off this decadent Brussels sprout dish, based in a rich sauce of smoked cheese.

For the Bechamel
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese (2 ounces)

For the Brussels Sprouts
Coarse salt
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts

For Assembling the Gratin
2/3 cup finely grated aged Gouda (2 ounces)
Smoked flaked sea salt, such as Maldon (optional) or regular sea salt

Cook's Note

Bechamel can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Cooled blanched brussels sprouts can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Assembled gratin can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the bechamel: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture bubbles slightly but has not started to brown, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Raise heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, whisking often. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with coarse salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Add smoked Gouda and stir until melted.

2. Meanwhile, blanch the brussels sprouts: Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cook brussels sprouts until just tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to an 8-cup (8-by-12-inch) baking dish.

3. Assemble the gratin: Pour bechamel over brussels sprouts and sprinkle with aged Gouda and a pinch of smoked sea salt. Bake, uncovered, until bubbling and golden, about 25 minutes.

Tortellini with Lemon and Brussels Sprouts

With tortellini in the freezer, you always have the base of a great dinner. Toss with the season's freshest vegetables, and sprinkle on a little crumbled bacon, too, if you like.

1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 pound frozen cheese tortellini
Zest and juice from 1 lemon

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook brussels sprouts until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium; add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes.

2. With a large slotted spoon, transfer sprouts to skillet. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until sprouts begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in pot, cook tortellini according to package instructions, then drain. Toss tortellini with vegetables and divide among bowls. Top with lemon zest and juice.

Spicy Shrimp and Brussels Sprout Stir-Fry

The unexpected addition of Brussels sprouts to stir-fry standards such as bean sprouts, scallions, and sesame brings a welcome change to your dinner routine.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded
Salt and pepper
1 cup bean sprouts
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small green chile, such as Thai, thinly sliced
3 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
1 pound medium shrimp (41 to 50), peeled and deveined (tails left on)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Lime wedges, for serving

Cook's Note

A food processor makes fast work of shredding sprouts. Or, do it by hand with a sharp knife.

1. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high. In 2 batches, saute brussels sprouts until tender, 5 minutes total; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter. Add bean sprouts to pan and cook until heated through, 1 minute; add to platter.

2. Wipe out pan, add remaining tablespoon vegetable oil, and return to heat. Add garlic, chile, and scallion whites and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and saute until opaque throughout, about 4 minutes. Add to platter, drizzle with sesame oil, top with scallion greens, and toss. Serve with lime wedges.

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