Growing up, brussels sprouts were not high on my list of veggies to jump up and down for.
They weren’t as bad as creamed spinach, but they certainly ranked below carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
What was it about an entire generation of cooks who felt that the only way to enjoy any vegetable was to cook the heck out of it? To the point of mush. The veggies were reduced to a grey mass with either no taste (the lesser of two evils) or totally bitter (the worse evil) This is how I remember brussels sprouts. So as an adult, I never really gravitated towards them in the grocery store.
Then one day I just decided that this attitude needed an adjustment. At the time I was probably going through the latest issue of Food and Wine or Gourmet fresh off the presses, and some random brussels sprouts recipe must have caught my eye. There was a time in the early 2000’s where brussels sprouts were being reinvented to get some love. Suddenly bacon, pancetta, parmesan, even walnuts and balsamic vinegar were being added to the preparation. They were getting roasted off in the oven. And suddenly people were liking brussels sprouts. And I turned into one of them!!
One of the early recipes that I shared here on The Lemon Apron, was for a Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds and it was a bit of a fresh take on the whole roasting method. Instead of the typical seasonings or the bacon and the parmesan, this recipe has coriander, cumin and celery seed, and is finished off with a good sprinkling of bright and tangy pomegranate arils (yeah, I learned that they aren’t called seeds, they are called arils!) These add such a vibrant contrast to the creamy, somewhat rich brussels sprouts. And we love this dish. It works great all through the Autumn, it goes with so many dishes, from turkey to chicken, to a pork roast, or as an option for a vegetarian feast.
But today I want to share a way to make them that is perfect for the Spring time. This is a touch lighter, and brighter, thanks to lemon and sumac. And some crunch comes from toasted pine nuts. I have made this so many times, and we never get tired of it. In fact, the last time I included this recipe for dinner, Jim remarked, after popping a sprout into his mouth (and chewing, he didn’t speak with his mouth full, naturally!) “How can people not like brussels sprouts?!” He loves this version! And you know, that if it passes the ‘Jim Test’, then I can confidently share it with all of you!!
This recipe comes together pretty quickly, so it may be the last thing you prepare when making dinner. Of course, it could easily be heated up if needed, but then I wouldn’t dress it with the toasted pine nuts, as they may go a bit soggy in the process. The first part of the recipe involves placing the sprouts that you have halved, into a heated sauté pan with a smidgen of water. And then the lid goes on. The heat will cause these little guys to steam quickly, speeding up the cooking process.
Then, once softened, you will add some butter or olive oil, and the seasonings. This all gets sautéed till a lovely char starts to show up on the outsides of the sprouts. After this you will add the minced garlic, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over everything, and sprinkle with zest. Sauté another few seconds, and then finally toss with pine nuts that you had already toasted. That’s it. Simple, quick, but full of bright Spring flavours.
Let me know what you think of this dish- would love to know how many you manage to convert to brussels sprouts lovers after serving them this!
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Sumac Cinnamon and Pine Nuts
A fresh and vibrant way to prepare brussels sprouts. Lemon and Sumach add the perfect tart contrast to the creamy richness of the sprouts and pine nuts. Cinnamon lends an earthy exotic flare.
- 3 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 lb halved brussels sprouts trimmed
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1/4 tsp sumac
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
In a clean sauté pan or heavy skillet, over medium heat, toast the pine nuts until golden and fragrant. Stir occasionally to avoid charring. This should take about 5 minutes, but keep an eye on them. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1/4 cup water and Brussels sprouts to pan; cover with a tight lid and cook for 5 minutes.
Add butter, sumac, cinnamon, salt and pepper to pan; cook, uncovered, 3 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in garlic, lemon juice and zest and cook for 30 seconds OR until brussels sprouts reach desired tenderness. If they are larger, they will need longer. In which case, you may want to add another tsp of butter or oil.
Taste and adjust any seasonings.
You can easily replace the pine nuts with slivered almonds.