Brussels sprouts are one of those contentious vegetables that people either love or hate. I haven’t always been fond of them myself, but they’ve grown from being merely tolerable to a vegetable I’d actually seek out on a restaurant menu.
The thing is, Brussels sprouts always seem to be paired with bacon (or some other tasty pork product). Indeed a quick Google reveals that of the 6 million results containing “Brussels sprouts”, 4 million of them also contain the word “bacon”. It’s almost as if chefs feel like they have to balance something so healthy out with something so decidedly unhealthy.
I certainly don’t have anything against bacon, but when you see it so much, it makes you start to wonder if the diminutive heads of cabbage are capable of standing on their own. The answer (as is the case with most foods) is that it’s entirely dependent on how they’re prepared. This warm salad, with grilled Brussels sprouts coated in a tangy mustard vinaigrette is proof that this diminutive cabbage can rock it without any porcine backup.
The grilling imparts a smokiness while bringing out the natural sweetness in the sprout. Paired with red onions, pecans and a steamy honey mustard dressing, it makes for a delicious side that can also make for a meal on its own, thanks to the protein that the pecans bring to the party.
If you’re vegan, just replace the honey with an equal amount of coconut sugar.
Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Warm Mustard Dressing
- 400 grams brussel sprouts (14 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (halve if using regular salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 130 grams red onion (4.6 ounces or about 1/2 and onion)
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 25 grams pecans (.88 ounces, about 1/4 cup)
- Remove the tough outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts and then trim and cut the the sprouts in half (top to bottom so that the core holds the leaves together).
- Add the Brussels sprouts to a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat evenly. Add the salt and pepper and toss to combine.
- Grill the brussels sprouts cut-side down on a medium hot grill until the sprout is lightly charred and cooked through about 4-7 minutes. If you are using a broiler, broil them cut side up.
- While the sprouts are grilling, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a saute pan and fry the onions until tender. Add the mustard and honey and continue frying until the honey starts to caramelize. Add the vinegar, stir to combine, and then pour the hot dressing over the grilled Brussels sprouts.
- Add the pecans and toss it all together. Serve warm.
Yield: Serves 4 as a side
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.