Finding fun, creative and delicious ways to serve veggies is an ongoing challenge in my house. When I get requests for a specific side dish, I know I have a winner.
This recipe is a WINNER! It’s a quick and easy side dish for a weeknight dinner and a welcomed addition to a holiday table. The tender-crisp Brussels sprouts, the sweetness of the apple, crunch of the walnuts, and the magical nutty flavor of brown butter offers a myriad of color, taste, and texture that even non-Brussels sprouts eaters will enjoy.
Prep the walnuts
To get going, toast the chopped walnuts in a small skillet on med-high heat. If you preheat the pan before adding the walnuts, it will only take a minute or two. Do NOT walk away from the burner! The nuts need stirring and constant attention. Seriously, the nuts will go from looking and smelling beautiful to a burnt mess in a matter of seconds. Remove them from the pan onto a plate or bowl to cool as soon as they smell toasted.
Nothing is worse than the smell of burnt walnuts (it’s worse than burnt popcorn), and they taste horrible. There’s no recourse once they blacken. It’s game-over. If you don’t have or like walnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios, or pine nuts will all add crunch and taste. If nut allergies are a concern, croutons are a great substitute.
Prep the apples
I had Gala apples in the fridge, so that’s what I used today, but almost any apple will work – even “non-baking” apples as they are just getting a quick saute. Before doing anything, please thoroughly wash the apples! Apples have the most amount of pesticides on them compared to any other fruit. You want to get all the gross chemicals off before you start to cut. Cut the apple into thin slices. If you get any of the core, just cut it off.
Thyme adds a depth of earthiness to the dish without overpowering the other flavors. Fresh thyme is best if you have it. I grow it in my window herb garden; it requires little care. If fresh isn’t an option, use dried thyme. The conversion is two teaspoons of dried thyme for two tablespoons of fresh thyme.
Prep the sprouts
The Brussels sprouts take a few minutes to prep. I do it in three steps; for me, it’s more efficient to do it as a group rather than individually.
First, I trim off all the stems. Then, I remove all the outer leaves. The last step is cutting each spout in half. Place the sprouts in a microwave-safe bowl with about a tablespoon of water and nuke them for 2 minutes. Drain them (using a strainer or colander) and rinse under cold running water. Let them dry on paper towels and give them a little pat to help them along. You don’t want them wet when they go into the hot pan!
Making brown butter magic
To make the magical brown butter, melt it in a large skillet over medium heat and let it cook for 5-8 minutes (it will depend on the type of butter), stirring frequently. When the butter smells fragrant and nutty and begins to turn brown, it’s time to add the sprouts and the salt.
Bringing it all together
Let them cook for about three minutes before adding the apples and thyme to the pan. Cook for another five minutes until the sprouts brown and the apples are slightly tender.
Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the walnuts and crushed red pepper. Enjoy!
Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts with AppleCourse: SidesCuisine: American, Vegetarian, Gluten-FreeDifficulty: Easy
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
¼ cup butter
½ teaspoon salt
2 small/medium Fuji (Honey Crisp, Braeburn, Granny Smith)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- Prep: Toast walnuts in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts to the hot, dry pan. Cook, stirring frequently until the walnuts start to brown and they smell toasted—about 2 minutes depending on the heat of the pan. Immediately transfer to a bowl or plate to cool. Set aside. Wash and thinly slice the apples (removing core and seeds). Remove thyme leaves from stems.
- Trim stems and remove any wilted outer leaves from Brussels sprouts and slice in halves. Place in a microwave-safe bowl with a tablespoon of water. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain on paper towels.
- In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring often until the butter begins to brown and smells fragrant and nutty, about 5 to 10 minutes (reduce heat to medium-low, if necessary, to prevent burning). Add the Brussels sprouts and salt. Cook, turning occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add apples and thyme; cook 5 minutes more or until Brussels sprouts are browned and apple is slightly tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and crushed red pepper, if desired.
- Fresh Thyme: Substitute 2 teaspoons of dried thyme. Dried or fresh oregano can also be substituted for the thyme
- Walnuts: Pecans, almonds, pistachios, or pine nuts can be substituted for walnuts. If nut allergies are a concern, croutons will also add flavor and crunch.
- Crushed red pepper: Adjust the amount of red pepper to your personal tastes (1/4 – 1 teaspoon)
- Zhoosh it: Add bacon or pancetta for additional flavor.