Ta da! This super quick Brussels sprouts side dish concept came to me when my stomach was growling last week. In an act of dinner desperation, I whipped together some coconut milk, ginger and basic Thai ingredients for a spicy sauce. Then, I cooked Brussels sprouts the quickest way I know how, which uses a combination of the stovetop and broiler and yields tender, caramelized Brussels spouts in about six minutes flat.
The end result was so good that it made me want to do a little jig in my tiny kitchen, but I didn’t have the strength. Also, I’m not a very good dancer. My only move is what I like to call The White Girl Wiggle. It’s exactly what it sounds like.
In hindsight, this dish is a combination of two notable recent meals. The first is the sweet potato wrap at The Mixx in Kansas City, which features roasted sweet potatoes, arugula, coconut ginger sauce and chutney in a cardamom tortilla. Woah.
The second is the Brussels sprouts dish that my grandmother served at Thanksgiving, which consisted of roasted sprouts tossed in a maple-sweetened cream sauce with crispy bacon. It was the little darling of the Thanksgiving table. I’m so glad Brussels sprouts are making a comeback.
In keeping with the quick nature of this recipe and the pre-holiday rush, I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. Make this recipe, please! As written below, it requires a large cast iron skillet and yields enough for two. See my notes for suggestions on how to make a larger batch in the oven and/or turn this side into a complete meal.
- ½ cup light coconut milk
- 1½ teaspoons fresh grated ginger or ¾ teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar or sugar
- 1 teaspoon reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce*
- ½ to 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (to taste)**
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar (or lime juice)
- ¾ pound Brussels sprouts, nubby ends cut off, discolored leaves removed and sliced in half (smaller sprouts are better than large sprouts)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Sprinkle of sea salt
- Preheat your broiler. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut milk, ginger and agave nectar/sugar. Add chili garlic sauce, to taste. Whisk the ingredients together and simmer for a couple of minutes to infuse the flavors, stirring often. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the rice vinegar.
- Set a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Let it heat up for two to three minutes. It should be so hot that a few drops of water sizzle and quickly disappear after contact.
- Toss the prepared Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt. Toss well, so that the sprouts are evenly coated in a thin layer of oil. Once the pan is hot, dump the sprouts into the pan and quickly rearrange them so the flat sides are face down. Let them cook for about two minutes, or until they are starting to brown on the bottom.
- Transfer the pan to your broiler. The pan will be heavy and hot so use oven mitts and be careful! Let the Brussels broil for about three minutes. Check the sprouts for doneness—their tops should be a little browned and the bottoms caramelized. How long you should leave them in there depends on your preferences and your oven.
- Transfer the sprouts to a bowl(s), drizzle with coconut ginger sauce and serve.
Preparation tips: If you want to make more than 2 servings at once, I'd suggest roasting the halved sprouts, lightly coated in coconut oil, at 400 degrees Fahrenheit on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender and caramelized (around 20 to 25 minutes), turning halfway. Multiply the quantities of sauce ingredients as necessary.
If you want to turn this side into a full meal, serve the sprouts and sauce over a bed of long-grain rice and tofu. Find my recommended rice cooking method here. For crispy baked tofu, toss drained and cubed tofu in coconut oil and tamari/soy sauce and sprinkle with arrowroot starch or corn starch (optional). Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, tossing occasionally, until nice and crisp, about 20 to 30 minutes (for more detailed instructions, refer to The Kitchn's method).
*Make it gluten free: Tamari is a delicious, readily available Japanese soy sauce that is gluten free. Regular soy sauce is not gluten free.
**You can find chili garlic sauce in the Asian aisle of the grocery store. I love the stuff. If you can't find it, you could probably add sriracha, to taste, or just a generous pinch of red pepper flakes.