By Gabrielle. Photos by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.
I couldn’t be happier that November has arrived because Thanksgiving is such an easy holiday to love. I think I like it because A) it’s so self-contained — there are little to no accompanying activities or assignments or tasks, just the big feast! And B) the focus on gratitude and family is pretty darn terrific.
Anyway, I’m not even sure if I’m hosting this year, but I’m already thinking about our Thanksgiving Feast and what will be served. I’m especially thinking about the side dishes. For us, turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing are a given, but the rest is flexible and can change or adapt from year to year.
This year, I’m thinking Brussels sprouts really need to make an appearance. So I asked Lindsey Johnson, who I’ve worked with for years and years, for a really good Brussels sprouts recipe that would work for Thanksgiving. And what she came up with looks so delicious, that I’ve decided I can’t even wait till Thanksgiving to try it! It’s going on the menu this week, instead.
Before we jump into the recipe, I’m curious. What’s your take on Brussels sprouts? Do they ever make it on to your Thanksgiving Menu? Or do they ever make it on your everyday dinner menu? I used to avoid them, but over the last few years, they’ve become one of my favorite vegetables! I know tastes change over time, but it’s a funny thing when you see it happen to yourself. : )
Here’s what Lindsey says:
I look forward to Thanksgiving every year. It’s sort of the kick-off for holiday cooking and baking, but for me, it’s also a chance to create a truly spectacular meal. That may sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but I take that meal very seriously. I start thinking about my menu weeks, and sometimes months, in advance. It’s kind of my day to show off, but not in the way that you think — it’s more about creating truly delicious food for the people I care about and watching them enjoy every bite. (Which, okay, is still kind of selfish.) I’ve perfected a roasted turkey. I’ve mastered mashed potatoes and pie crust. The sides are where the real fun starts. This year Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Parmesan is going to be on our table, and I couldn’t be more excited.
The first time I’d heard of Shaved Brussels Sprouts was at a friend’s house. She invited us over for Thanksgiving and it still ranks in the top 3 of best Thanksgivings ever. The food was incredible. The last touch on the meal was the Brussels sprouts — my friend was in the kitchen slicing the cute little cabbages into thin strips. I don’t remember exactly what she did to those Brussels sprouts, but they were amazing. And it was also the first time I’d been brave enough to try them. We’ve been enjoying Brussels sprouts on a regular basis now.
Shaving the Brussels sprouts makes them easier to eat. It also means they don’t need a long cooking time. Just barely sautéing them is perfect. These are one of those veggies that fare better with lightly cooking rather than overcooking. High heat is a Brussels sprout’s best buddy. Gently wilting the sliced sprouts in a hot pan brings out their natural sweetness.
Because they are a member of the Cruciferous family of veggies, they have an affinity for all of the things that also go well with things like kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. (You know, the scary veggies that taste WAY better than they smell.) And they also go splendidly with bacon and cheese, both of which are in this recipe.
I like to toss the wilted B.sprouts with a sweet and tangy apple cider vinaigrette. It helps cut through the richness of the bacon and cheese, and balances out the other flavors as well. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can totally leave out the bacon and Parmesan and the dish will still be really tasty.
One tip regarding shaving the B.sprouts. Work from the top to the stem using a very sharp knife. If you work from the stem to the top, the leaves can get a little slippery and be more difficult to slice safely.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Parmesan
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: 8-10 servings
1 1/2 to 2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely diced bacon
3-4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup roughly chopped pecans
1/2 cup shaved or grated parmesan cheese
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or honey
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the bacon. Cook, stirring often, until the bacon is crispy. Remove from pan and set on paper towels to drain. Leave about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan and transfer the rest to a jar to save for another use, or discard.
3. Add the shallots to the pan. Sauté until tender and golden brown. Turn off the heat and add the Brussels sprouts to the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper. Let cook for 2-3 minutes in the residual heat to wilt the leaves, then transfer to a serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle the pecans, parmesan cheese, and the reserved cooked bacon over the top. Serve immediately.
– The Brussels sprouts can be shaved in advance to save time, and then used in the recipe. The sprouts can be served warm or at room temperature, but are best on the day they are cooked.
– One large Brussels sprout stalk is equal to around 1 1/2 to 2 pounds.
Holy moly. Doesn’t that look delicious? Thank you, Lindsey! My kids happen to love Brussels sprouts, but I’ve never tried them shaved. It sound like a super fast way to cook them! Can’t wait to try it. And thank you also for the mini-lesson about what food family B.sprouts fall within. I love little bits of info like that!