Did you know that the cute little vegetables that look like mini-cabbages are called Brussels Sprouts? Not brussel sprouts? I’m so embarrassed to admit that I am one of many guilty of calling and spelling these pungent, tightly wrapped green buds the wrong name. However, after a quick history lesson, I will never make that mistake again. I now know that these veggies are named after the capital city of Belgium, Brussels, where they gained popularity and have been grown since the 13th century. That’s why the “B” is capitalized, and there is an “s” at the end. If you already knew all of this, my apologies. For us, previously unenlightened folks, we no longer risk grocery or farm market humiliation by using an incorrect name. Whew! One last thing to worry about.
As I am on a mission to clear up misunderstandings about these humble, highly nutritious green vegetables, there’s one more common misunderstanding. Brussels sprouts are not baby cabbages, even though they look it! Cabbage is a head that grows out of the ground, and sprouts are buds that grown along a thick, fibrous stalk. However, Brussels sprouts and cabbage are related. They both belong to the cruciferous family, along with kale, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, turnips, mustard, and bok choy.
Everyone has an opinion about Brussels sprouts. It is one of those love/hate vegetables. If my experience is any indication, people turn up their nose because they have never experienced them correctly prepared. I grew up hating Brussels sprouts. The ones I was served, as a kid, were mushy or woody, smelly, and tasted sulfurous – in other words, overcooked! When cooked correctly (steaming, stir-frying, or roasting), sprouts are sweet, a little crisp, and mildly flavored with a nice crunchy exterior and a tender interior. When, as an adult, I tasted perfectly cooked Brussels sprouts, I was hooked for life. This turned out to be a great thing as they are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are also great for low-carb, gluten-free, and keto diet plans.
While I love serving Brussels sprouts as the vegetable course, today, I am sharing another great way to enjoy this healthy food as a bright, spicy refrigerator pickle. The combination of spices and a couple of fresh garlic cloves and, if desired, a hot pepper transforms the sprouts into a slightly sour, savory, tangy, and spicy flavor bomb.
The Brussels sprouts require a little prep. They need to be cleaned, trimmed and halved, and steamed in the microwave.
The smell of the spices infusing in the vinegar in a saucepan permeates the kitchen with an intoxicating aroma. That’s the extent of the cooking! Add the garlic and peppers.
Place the steamed halves of the Brussels sprouts in two small or one large jar and topped with the vinegar solution. The spices will congregate at the bottom of the pan and can be added with a spoon.
Let the pickles develop their flavor for a few days in the fridge before serving. Slightly crunchy and bursting with flavor, these beautiful bright green pickled Brussels Sprouts are a great addition to a cheese, charcuterie, or sandwich platter. They also pair well with roasted meats. My favorite way, however, is just to snack on them straight from the jar!
Easy Quick-Pickled Brussels SproutsCourse: Sides, SnacksCuisine: American, Vegan, Keto, Low CarbDifficulty: Easy
Slightly crunchy and bursting with flavor, these beautiful bright green crisp-tender sprouts are a great addition to a charcuterie platter, sandwich plate, or paired with roasted meats and sandwiches.
1 1lb (24) trimmed and halved Brussels sprouts
1½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup white vinegar
2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
10 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 sliced garlic cloves
1 bay leaves
1 -2 jalapeno, chile or serrano peppers – seeds removed and sliced
- Place trimmed and halved brussels sprouts in a microwave-safe dish. Add a splash of water, cover with a wet paper towel, and microwave for 3 minutes. (If you prefer not to microwave, boil brussels sprouts in salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes.) Sprouts should be bright green. Drain and rinse under cold running water.
- In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar and coarse kosher salt to a simmer. Add remaining spices and garlic and jalapeno. Remove from heat
- Place Brussels sprouts in a jar; add hot vinegar mixture. (You may have some leftover liquid.) Cool to room temperature. Cover with lid, and chill for 4 days, up to two weeks, before serving. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
- Peppers: Remove seeds to reduce pepper heat. For more heat substitute serrano, habanero or chile peppers. Substitute ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper per pepper