Seasonal Cooking: Maple Walnut Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts have a bad rap.

Every time I buy them, someone asks me how I cook them. When I tell them, their expression goes from something you might expect from someone talking about being dosed with Castor Oil to a look of interest.

Everytime I make them for someone who doesn’t live with me, I have to convince them to take a taste. They usually do with their nose scrunched and their eyes closed.

And then their eyes pop open and they make this little moan in the back of their throat as they chew. That’s the best!

These mini little cabbages are fall and winter crops. In the winter especially, they are sweet and have an amazing flavor. Like cabbages, Brussels sprouts get sweeter after being kissed by frost.

I just realized today that eating in season means I won’t be able to eat Brussels sprouts in the late spring and early summer.

That was even more upsetting than realizing I can’t eat a fresh tomato until summer.

In my house, there is only one way to cook Brussels sprouts. And when I make them, my husband and kids fight over who gets the last sweet little morsel. We ate them tonight with slow cooker baby back ribs (holy cow…this recipe is coming. It was AMAZING. Good Grubbing…that’s what we called food like this when I was growing up) and broiled potatoes.

Yum.

Maple Walnut Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 1/2 pounds of Brussels Sprouts (the smaller the better)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 4 T maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to  taste

Brussels sprouts take a little work. Each little baby cabbage head needs to have the stem end trimmed before it’s cut in half vertically. The top couple of leaves will come off on their own, which is fine. Discard those. Just keep trimming and cutting, filling up a bowl as you do.

While all that prep is going on, start the oil heating up over medium high heat in a big pan. You want the pan nice and hot when you put the sprouts in.

Stand back when you put the sprouts in the hot oil. They’ll pop some, and sizzle. Add the garlic too, and toss to coat the sprouts.

Let the sprouts cook for a while. You want the heat high so that they’ll carmelize farily quickly. It’s overcooking that releases the sulfery stuff in cabbage and sprouts. After about 10 minutes, they should be a nice deep brown.

(In this picture, they’ve been cooking about five minutes.)

Add the walnuts and toss around. Cook another two or three minutes, then finish with the maple syrup. I reccomend using the good stuff if you can afford it, but I’ve made it with cheap store-brand maple-flavored syrup and it’s still scrumptious. Real maple syrup just does something special here.

Toss again and turn the heat off. I usually let things sit for about 10 minutes before serving. This lets the syrup meld with the rest of the flavors, and allows the hot sugar to cool. I personally like Brussels sprouts just warm, not too hot.

Hold your nose and take a bite. You won’t be sorry!

More recipes here. And here.

And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here.

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “Seasonal Cooking: Maple Walnut Brussels Sprouts

  1. I found this on mouthwatering Mondays. Thanks for posting it. I have brussel sprouts in my garden, but I freeze the surplus. So I can eat them year round. My husband taps our trees for syrup (you can see that in the archives on my blog at http://www.kellikolz.blogspot.com). This is the perfect marriage of our trees and garden!

    We even get English walnuts off our neighbor’s trees, so you have made me very happy!

    http://www.kellikolz.blogspot.com
    KelliSue

  2. Hmmm….I’ve always been a vegetable purist. I grew up with two diabetics in the house so no butter or anything on them. I’ve never much liked the idea of sweet on carrots, sweet potatoes or the like. Is it really good? I had brussel sprouts tonight just boiled up and my son ate them happy as a clam. At one point when I questioned his interest in new foods he told me “my taste buds are changing”

    • I’m not huge on sweet on carrots. I’ve had them honeyed before, but it’s too sweet IMO. I like carrots boiled, and then with a little butter and dill. I only make sweet potato casserole (I use brown sugar, apples, and walnuts or pecans) on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Otherwise, I love them baked with butter and brown sugar…so yeah, sweet on sweet potatoes. YUM. I love Brussels sprouts about anyway they come, but I’m telling you, these are like magic they are so good.

  3. Thanks for linking to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday. These Brussels sprouts sound awesome!

  4. I am visiting from Tasty Tuesday and am excited about trying this recipe. It looks delicious and is healthy and easy, right up my alley.
    Laurie@DomesticProductions

  5. What a AWESOME!!! recipe for brussels sprouts.
    Come by and visit so you can enter my GREAT!!! waffle maker giveaway.
    Geri

  6. I’m visiting from TTMT, hubby and I love brussels sprouts and I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  7. these look delicious. if only I could get my husband to eat Brussels sprouts! He doesn’t even like for me to cook them when he is home.
    but oh how I love them.

  8. I love brussel spouts and this looks like another version that I would enjoy.

  9. Pingback: Slightly Indulgent Tuesday – 2/2/10 : Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

  10. I’m definitely going to try this one. I haven’t make Brussels sprouts in a while, but I bought some the other day and was planning on trying a new recipe with them. This is the one I’ll try. We love real maple syrup and walnuts, so I think this will be a hit.

  11. Interesting! I’m on the fence as to whether I like brussel sprouts or not – perhaps I will try this recipe and like them!

    I am the host of February’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free challenge and I wanted to invite you to participate if you can! The theme is “Tropical Vacation” – I know that I could use one right now. I hope to see your entry! 🙂

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