Hate Brussel Sprouts? You Won’t Hate These!

by nils  - August 19, 2011

Still not a food blog, but here are some more recipes. I got home the other day from a business trip and Sally said “I need to eat more vegetables – we have Brussel sprouts and broccoli in the fridge.” So I made the following, after a quick trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up some portobellos and other supplies.

The finished product
The finished product

If you’re like most normal people, you don’t really like Brussel sprouts, at least not the way they’re usually prepared – steamed or boiled, perhaps with butter. This recipe will totally blow your mind if you’re one of those normal people, as I am. The secret is caramelizing the little buggers, which completely changes the flavor for the better. I kind of accidentally discovered the power of caramelizing them when I thought to add some Brussel sprouts, cut in half, to a wonderful recipe for pan roasted chicken that I got from a Patricia Wells cookbook (Bistro Cooking – fantastic and highly recommended, recipes from bistros around France). So I’ve been experimenting happily with caramelizing them for a while, and while I had been doing my flavoring with chicken broth and meat (roasted pork ribs or bacon, for example), I thought this time I’d do a pure veggie version, using roasted portobellos as the “meat” and my veggie stock instead of chicken stock. I have to say, it came out pretty darn good. Of course this recipe also adds wine and stock and onion and garlic, so how could it go wrong?

Pan roasted portobello with balsamic marinade

  • 3 Tb extra virgin olive oil, separated
  • 2 Tb balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • salt
  • 1 large portobello mushroom, cut into 1/2″ strips

    Pan-roasted balsamic portobello mushrooms
    The portobello mushrooms after pan-roasting - the ones on the right are already cut into 1/2" dice
  1. Whisk 2 Tb of olive oil and next four ingredients together, pour over mushroom slices to marinade for 10-20 minutes.
  2. In a saute pan, heat remaining 1 Tb of olive oil over medium high heat.
  3. When oil is hot, add mushrooms to pan in single layer. Cook on first side for 4-5 minutes, until slices are browned.
  4. Turn mushroom slices, cook on the other side until brown, an additional 4 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, and chop into 1/2″ dice.

Caramelized Brussel sprouts

  • 1/3 c. stock
  • 1/3 c. dry white wine
  • 1 Tb Dijon mustard
  • 4 Tbs olive oil, separated
  • 1/4 small onion chopped very fine
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 lb of brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed, sliced crosswise very finely
  • 1/3 c grated cheese (I used aged Gouda and Manchego)


  • 1/3 c pecans, toasted and chopped coarsely
  1. Mix up stock, wine, and mustard. Set aside.
  2. In saute pan, heat 2 Tbs olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and saute for a minute or two, then add the 1/4 c of water, reduce heat, and cover. Let onions sweat for 10-20 minutes.
  3. Remove cover, increase heat to high, add more oil, and then when hot, and add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds, then add Brussels sprouts.
  4. Saute Brussels sprouts, tossing frequently, until they start to caramelize, meaning getting brown around the edges – about five minute, maybe a bit longer. You might have to add more oil.
  5. When caramelized, add stock mixture, bring to boil, reduce heat, and cover. Let cook for 3-5 minutes, until Brussels sprouts are cooked but not overcooked.
  6. Mix chopped up portobello into Brussels sprouts mixture.
  7. Turn out onto serving dish. Let cool for a minute, then sprinkle with cheese and optional pecans.



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Your host and author, Nils Davis, is a long-time product manager, consultant, trainer, and coach. He is the author of The Secret Product Manager Handbook, many blog posts, a series of video trainings on product management, and the occasional grilled pizza.

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