Lightly toasted and full of Asian flavor, stir fried Brussels sprouts are sure to become your new favorite vegetable side dish.
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Brussels sprouts. By just saying the name, what kind of reaction does it evoke? Does your mouth start to water? Or do you involuntarily make a face and feel like gagging?
I used to be in the latter category. I’ve had Brussels sprouts made by others that were delicious. But when I tried preparing them at home, I always fell flat. No matter what, they always turned out soggy, spongy and lacking in flavor.
That is, until I decided to stir fry them. I found I had a lot more control over that roasted, toasted element I was trying so hard to achieve. Since I’m utilizing an Asian technique for cooking, why not step away from tradition and toss in some Asian flavors like sesame oil and soy sauce?
I was thrilled with the results. The sprouts were deliciously charred on the outside, while tender and juicy on the inside and they absorbed the flavors effortlessly. Don’t reserve this for you next Asian take-out fake-out. These stir-fried Brussels sprouts pair perfectly with chicken, turkey or pork.
What are Brussels Sprouts anyway?
Upon closer inspection, Brussels sprouts look like tiny baby cabbages. They are, in fact, part of the cabbage family. But they are not baby plants. You may see them in stores sold in bunches still on the stalk, which is how they grow, or already picked and sold individually.
Brussels sprouts are believed to have first been cultivated in the area now known as Belgium, hence the name. The correct way to pronounce the name is Brussels sprouts, with an s. When writing the name, the B is always capitalized.
No surprise, Brussels sprouts are really good for you. They are low in calories and high in fiber, antioxidants and essential vitamins and nutrients.
How to Prep
Plan on purchasing Brussels sprouts no more than three days before you plan to serve them. Any longer than that and they could become brown and wilted. Look for sprouts that are firm, pale green in color, with tight leaves. Stay away from any sprouts that look brown or withered or have holes in the leaves.
Store unwashed sprouts in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. Right before cooking, give them a good rinse under cold water, remove any loose outer leaves, and trim the dried end at the end of the base.
Depending on size, you can roast Brussels Sprouts whole. However, it can take longer for the sprout to cook all the way through. I prefer to cut them in half length-wise. I have noticed in some grocery stores you can buy prepackaged sprouts already cut in half. This is fine if you plan on using them within 24 hours. Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing how long ago the sprouts were processed. Like many fresh vegetables, they start to take on an unappetizing color soon after being cut.
How to Prepare Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts
I used an electric wok to prepare my sprouts. It distributes heat more evenly and provides for surface area. However, if you don’t already own a wok and don’t see the need to invest in one, a large frying pan will also do the trick.
I started by heating two tablespoons of vegetable oil in my wok over medium high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer (which means it’s hot) add 1 ½ pounds of Brussels sprouts that you’ve already washed, trimmed and cut in half. Stir the sprouts around to get them good and coated in the oil, then spread them out an even layer across the bottom of the pan. Let them sauté for two minutes undisturbed. Stir, then spread them out again and sauté for another three minutes until the sprouts have developed a nice, golden char on the outside.
Reduce the heat to medium, then add one whole diced shallot. Shallots are a type of onion. Light purple in color, they are smaller, are oblong in shape and have a milder flavor than a regular onion. If you can’t find shallots, try substituting with a sweet yellow onion.
Sauté the shallots for about 2-3 minutes until they are soft. Then add two cloves of minced garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant, that is, until it starts to give off its garlicky scent.
Add one tablespoon of soy sauce, one teaspoon of sesame oil and one tablespoon of rice wine vinegar. If you can’t find rice wine vinegar, look for cooking sherry instead. Cover the pan and let the Brussels sprouts steam for two minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully remove the lid – watch for hot steam! Sprinkle the spouts with sesame seeds just before serving.
Leftover Brussels sprouts need to be stored in the fridge within two hours. Place them in a container with a lid and be sure to eat them within four days. I don’t recommend freezing, as this can change the texture and result in mushy, watery sprouts.
What to Serve with Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts
- Roast Chicken
- Pot Roast
- Wild Rice Stuffed Turkey Breast
- Oven Roasted Roast Beef Dinner
- Pesto Rice Stuffed Pork Loin Chops
Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts tips removed and sliced in half
- 1 shallot diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or cooking sherry
- Sesame seeds optional
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a wok or large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the Brussels sprouts, stir to coat them in the oil, then spread them out an even layer across the bottom of the pan. Let them sauté for two minutes undisturbed. Stir, spread them out again, then sauté for another three minutes until the sprouts have developed a nice, golden char on the outside.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the shallots and sauté until soft, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. Cover the pan and let the Brussels sprouts steam for two minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Season with salt. Serve warm.