the best Brussels sprouts ever & a little meatball October 25, 2011

I’ve gone on and on in the past about Brussels sprouts and how sad it makes me that some folks have been turned off to them by cruel and unusual cooking – that boiled or (even worse) canned variety that was often seen in the wild. I’ve also been going on and on on Twitter about this most recent Brussels sprout recipe that trumps all others, promising to quickly post it to the blog. That didn’t happen…and I have to talk to you about why.

After a year or so of bandying around the notion of getting a dog, we finally brought home a little meatball. Having an idea in mind of the kind of dog we (mostly me – Mike was more open minded – but still) wanted, Mike and I held out and kept our eyes peeled at our favorite rescue – we just couldn’t fathom the notion of paying a breeder for a dog when so many wonderful animals need homes. Our patience paid off…and two weeks ago…we brought Mingus home. He’s a wonderful pup – full of personality and sweetness with the typical pug stubborn streak. He’s got the most worrisome expression and back fat chub…which makes him perfect. We’ve been adjusting to new puppy parenthood and, well, it’s been a balancing act for sure. Some things just don’t get done.

So rather than sitting down at the computer and talking about these Brussels sprouts and how I totally thought I came up with the idea of marrying fish sauce and sprouts together before David Chang did (not really – i just had no idea!), I’m showing off our new addition in a rare quiet moment as he snores in his bed at my feet. These are the best Brussels sprouts I’ve ever made…and I’ve made them four times already. Paired with the earthy nutty quinoa that’s jazzed up with a bit of sesame, it’s a knockout.

The added bonus – this recipe comes together super fast and is something you can pop in the oven and let be. It cooks on its own as you stand outside discouraging chewing on patio furniture…or putting the bathroom rug back in place after it’s been toted around the house…or looking at leaves pretending not to obsess about just how darned cute your dog is. The whole thing happens in about 20 minutes and makes a hearty veggie bowl dinner or side dish.

A note about fish sauce: It’s gamey. It’s salty. I’ve gotten some feedback that the salt is overpowering at 1/3 of a cup. Please taste the particular brand of fish sauce you’re using and adjust the amount you use accordingly. It’s the only salt in the recipe so the amount was just fine for me – for other palates, it might be too much. I’ve adjusted the recipe to note 1/4-1/3 of a cup depending on your taste.

Fish Sauce Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sesame Quinoa – serves 2 as a vegetarian entree or 4 as a side dish

  • 4 cups Brussels sprouts, tough stems removed and then halved or quartered and loose leaves included
  • 1 tbsp. canola or other lightly flavored oil for roasting
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup fish sauce – please adjust according to taste & saltiness of the brand of fish sauce you’re using
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 2 tsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • For garnish: Sriracha sauce, chopped cilantro, rice wine vinegar

For the Brussels sprouts: Preheat oven to 400F. In a large shallow roasting pan, toss the cut-up sprouts with the canola oil and fish sauce. Mix thoroughly to combine. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 minutes or until the cut sides start to brown and the leaves begin to char. Remove from oven and cover lightly with foil until ready to serve – if you’re making this alongside the quinoa, they’ll finish cooking at around the same time.

For the quinoa: At the same time you preheat the oven, bring the vegetable stock or water – with the chili flakes added to it – to a boil in a saucepan with a lid. Once the liquid has come to a boil, pour in the quinoa. Stir and allow the mixture to come back up to a bubble. Turn heat down to low, cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and stir in the soy sauce and the sesame seeds.

To serve: plate a large spoonful of quinoa and top with the roasted Brussels sprouts. If you’d like, you can garnish with some chopped cilantro or a dash of rice wine vinegar. For some heat, drizzle on a bit of Sriracha.  Serve immediately.


Ben Frank Oct 25, 2011 07:10 pm

Oh man. We will be trying this ASAP!

Stephanie Oct 25, 2011 07:10 pm

Oh, he is too cute! How adorable, and I love the name. :)

(I have never had any urge to try brussels sprouts until now!)

tami Oct 25, 2011 07:10 pm

stephanie – trust me on these. let this recipe be the first time you try ’em :)

Paula - bell'alimento Oct 25, 2011 07:10 pm

I think I’m in love with Mingus ; ) And those sprouts ain’t bad either!

Lucy@acookandherbooks Oct 25, 2011 07:10 pm

Lovely sprouts. And the pup’s a keeper!

Winnie Oct 25, 2011 08:10 pm

Oh he’s completely utterly adorable, and the B sprouts look delicious!

Kami Oct 25, 2011 08:10 pm

Haven’t bought Brussels sprouts yet this season but I’ll be using this recipe when I do. And Otis is most adorable. Check out mugsofpugs.tumblr if you want to see other squished faces.

Cassie Oct 25, 2011 09:10 pm

My husband loves brussle sprouts, and your recipe looks so good, I’m going to save it. Thanks!

Sofie Dittmann AKA German Foodie Oct 25, 2011 11:10 pm

Brussel sprouts are some of my favs, they can be had in SO many delicious ways… Oh, and the pup is a cutie… :)

Joyce Oct 26, 2011 12:10 am

This post was not only after my taste for brussels sprouts (love them), but my love for rescue pups. Congrats on your new addition to your home! I’m sure Mingus will bring much happiness to you both. xo

Cathy @ Savory Notes Oct 26, 2011 01:10 am

This whole post is a complete success. I love that you adopted a dog, how wonderful! And I’ve had brussels sprouts for a few days now, wondering what to do with them. This will be dinner tomorrow night. Love love love.

Cookie and Kate Oct 26, 2011 01:10 am

I’m so smitten with Mingus. Adorable! Your roasted brussels sprouts with quinoa recipe looks like a great fall meal!

Lynn Oct 26, 2011 05:10 am

I love brussels sprouts – roasted is the way to go. I’ll definitely try your version and I just happen to have some quinoa.

Mingus is ADORABLE! So glad you got a rescue pet.

SMITH BITES Oct 26, 2011 07:10 am

enough about the brussel sprouts . . . can we just talk about THAT FACE??!!! you should be glad i don’t live in the vicinity because Mingus might be Minus . . . his current owners – LOL!! and seriously? brussel sprouts rock my world any day . . .

Andrea Oct 26, 2011 09:10 am

These look so fantastic! I love brussel sprouts. I also love pugs and have always wanted one. I am just never home so I don’t feel like I would be a good doggy mommy so instead I have 2 cats.

Lana @ Never Enough Thyme Oct 26, 2011 09:10 am

What an adorable addition to your family! He’s just precious. I’d probably want to do nothing but play with him and take photos all day.

And the brussels sprouts – they look incredible. It’s a shame they have such a bad reputation. I wish more people appreciated how delicious they really are.

Kulsum at JourneyKitchen Oct 26, 2011 09:10 am

I don’t even like dogs but that face is so freaking adorable! Congrats on the new addition. As for brussel sprouts, recently had them the right way and loved it. Canned one’s should be destroyed from the face of earth. Period.

DessertForTwo Oct 26, 2011 02:10 pm

As I’ve told you before, I’m a brussel sprouts fiend. I’m excited to try this! My brussel sprout plants are only about 6″ tall so far!

DessertForTwo Oct 26, 2011 02:10 pm

P.S. Forgot to say that your puppy is freaking adorable! Good luck :)

Kasey Oct 26, 2011 05:10 pm

He is just adorable! Also, I love brussels sprouts! I find that roasting them really is the way to make someone a believer.

TheFromagette Oct 26, 2011 07:10 pm

I REALLY want to give that little guy a squish :)

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen Oct 26, 2011 09:10 pm

Oh sweet is he?! I was never a Brussels sprout fan until I started roasting them, it makes such a difference.

Kiran @ Oct 27, 2011 11:10 am

Mingus is a keeper! What a cute little pug :)

Roasting is the way to go with brussels sprouts. Can, is a huge turn off!

Bob H Oct 27, 2011 02:10 pm

The most recent Cook’s magazine has a brussel sprout recipe that’s very similar. I’ve made them twice in a week. They put a little water in the pan and cover with foil for the first 10 minutes and then remove for the final 10. They also use a higher temp – 450 I think. I look forward to trying the fish sauce now.

Delaney Oct 27, 2011 05:10 pm

Oh, Mingus! I’m afraid my husband may come steal him. Lock your doors.

Also, totally making these yummies THIS WEEKEND. Maybe with some blackened fish. Yum.

kankana Oct 27, 2011 06:10 pm

I am not much of a dog person but that face is sooo adorable!
I have recently started eating quinoa and so far not happy with whatever i paired it with. Brussel sprouts sounds like a great idea and it’s our one of the fav veggie.

Donalyn Oct 27, 2011 08:10 pm

That is one adorable pup & the brussels sprouts look pretty good too!

MikeVFMK Oct 27, 2011 11:10 pm

The pug is adorable. And these sprouts really do look good, which is a lot for me to say. It may even tempt me into making some this weekend. Congrats on the new pup!

The Teacher Cooks Oct 29, 2011 01:10 pm

Your new family member is adorable!

Larry Oct 30, 2011 07:10 pm

I thought that this was a good recipe. However, if I were to make it again, I think I would use about half as much fish sauce as (whatever brand I was using) was so salty it was a little overpowering. Any suggestion?

Love the pug by the way.

tami Oct 30, 2011 07:10 pm

Hi Larry-
I’m sorry that you found the fish sauce to be too salty. I use one particular brand of fish sauce (I wish I could tell you the brand but…I can’t read it!) and the salt level is fine for me. I have made a note in the post about the saltiness of fish sauce and suggested that folks taste the fish sauce and adjust accordingly. Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback!
– tami

Nicole @cookingafterfive Oct 31, 2011 05:10 pm

Too cute! My husband and I just got a puppy in September so I know exactly what you mean about the balancing act. Cheers to parenthood!

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[…] Mingus joined our family a month & a half ago. Having a dog is something I’ve wanted for a long time but never thought I could manage because of my work schedule. Freelance life means I have days upon days of free time…and days upon days of never seeing daylight for being in the studio. I’ve always been a cat person because, well, they’re a lot like me – they sort of do their own thing, look for some pets and encouragement and generally don’t give a damn otherwise. Having a dog – and a puppy, at that – has been really eye opening. For the first time ever, the roles are reversed and someone or something needs me. He didn’t pick me – I picked him and he can’t really leave on his own. He has no thumbs. I’m his everything (as is his daddy) and it’s an odd place to be in. […]

Trader Joes Recipes Mar 8, 2012 12:03 pm

Yum! This looks healthy and delicious! The ingredients are all favorites of mine, so I look forward to trying it.