whole food ~ well made


Lemony, Crispy Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

Are you a secret side dish lover? Take this quick test:

  1. When you’re at a restaurant pouring over the entrées, do you decide based on the accompaniments?
  2. Do you peek at the list of extra sides and secretly think they’re more enticing than the mains?
  3. When you’re planning a holiday meal, do you spend more time thinking about the side dishes than dessert?

If you answer yes to all three, then you’re a secret side dish lover. And I’m totally with you!brussels-sprouts-on-a-stalk

Our favorite eat-as-many-side-dishes-as-you-can event of the year is just a week away!

Best Side Dish of the Year: Brussels Sprouts

One of the breakout side dishes for the holidays is Brussels sprouts. They’re turning up roasted, shaved, barbecued, and fried along with the claim that Brussels sprouts can change your life.

Wow! Eating more vegetables can change your life–and in more ways than one.

And as we head into a season of meat-centered feasts, it’s a good time to stockpile the veggies and plan for extra sides to balance everything out.


Kids and their Vegetables

We’ve been having lots of plant-heavy and meatless meals around here. It’s a challenge with two girls who seem to change their preferences every other week.

I often end up serving cut up raw red peppers, carrots and broccoli because they’ll nibble on them all through dinner. Except for the nights that they both insist they hate broccoli.

A few weeks ago, Cece came home from a sleepover declaring that she loved Brussels sprouts. Wowza, was I on it!

When I found them sold still on the stalk at our local market we all had a newfound appreciation for these baby cabbages and how they grow.

{I hoped that I’d be able to use some of the stalk, too, like broccoli stems. But I couldn’t even cut through the hefty stalk with my biggest chef’s knife, so I reluctantly carried it out to the compost bin thinking how well it could serve as a fence post.}

Nope, whole Brussels sprouts are not very user friendly. Still…


A novelty. Cece ate the Brussels sprouts I sautéed picking off the leaves one by one. With her hands. {I kept my mouth shut.}

Brussels Sprouts in Many Forms

Whole Brussels sprouts are best for roasting. Cut in half, the flat sides brown nicely for a sauté.

But what if you play with your vegetables–like Cece–and separate the leaves? Everything changes then!

Granted, it’s a little more work than the usual trimming and discarding any yellowed outer leaves. But if you want to experience the familiar Brussels sprout in a whole new way, I say peel away.


How to prep Brussels sprout leaves:

  1. Using a paring knife, trim the very end of each Brussels sprouts.
  2. With your fingers, peel off the outer leaves of each of the Brussels sprouts (composting any yellowed or dried ones) and put them into a pile.
  3. Trim the ends again and repeat the peeling off of outer leaves until you’re left with the light-colored compact core.
  4. Discard the ends and put the leaves into one pile and the cores into another.

I cooked the leaves just the way my mom always made Brussels sprouts for her kids: sautéed in butter with bread crumbs and lemon juice.


For some reason I can’t explain, I loved them even then.

Side dishes, like these Brussels sprouts sautéed with bread crumbs and lemon zest, rule the holiday table. Here’s wishing you a Thanksgiving that’s fulfilling in every way.


and become a forager

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Breadcrumbs & Lemon Zest

This is a simple and delicate dish--bright with lemon zest and juice. There's a little time involved in peeling the Brussels sprout leaves, but the texture is divine and the cooking is quick. I trust that it will make you rethink this stalwart vegetable, too.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 167kcal
Author Lynne Curry


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs homemade or Panko
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice


  • Trim the ends of the Brussels sprouts with a paring knife. Use your fingers to peel off the outer leaves of each of the Brussels sprouts (composting any yellowed or dried ones) and put them into a pile. When you can't remove any more of the leaves, trim the ends again and repeat the peeling off of outer leaves until you're left with the compact core. 
  • Slice the cores of the Brussels sprouts 1/4-inch thick and put them into a separate pile near the stove.
  • Melt the butter in a small dish in the microwave and toss well with the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced cores of the Brussels sprouts and cook, shaking the pan now and then, until they begin to brown, 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the breadcrumbs and cook, shaking or stirring, until they are toasted and begin to crisp. Add the remaining Brussels sprouts leaves and lemon zest and toss well to coat the leaves in the oil and bread crumbs until they begin to turn darker green and wilt, 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat. Squeeze the lemon juice over the Brussels sprouts, toss well and taste for salt before serving.


Feel free to embellish these with grated parmesan, a sprinkling of dried chili flakes or toasted walnuts.


Calories: 167kcal


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