a delicious way to eat brussels sprouts

I feel kind of silly, but I just learned that the correct way to refer to those delicious, tiny cabbages that are so trendy these days is Brussels sprouts, as in the city of Brussels! I’ve been spelling it brussel sprouts for years! The humiliation! I might continue to not capitalize the “b” because that just seems like too much respect for one vegetable.

Anyway, this recipe was inspired by some brussels sprouts I had at The Lowry in Minneapolis a few months ago. Their brussels sprouts were fried, and then drizzled in honey and sprinkled with toasted almonds and goat cheese. Very delicious. I mistakenly got them as an appetizer with a group of (foolish) people who did not like brussels sprouts, and though I also ordered an entree, the brussels sprouts really would have sufficed. They were crispy, caramelized, tangy, nutty, salty, and sweet. Brussels sprouts at their finest.

This recipe was altered a bit to fit the ingredients I already had, but the idea is similar. I used a balsamic reduction instead of honey because I really love vinegar, nixed the almonds because I didn’t want to buy them, and added shiitake bacon to make it a real meal. This would be great with almonds or other nuts, and can be eaten without cheese or with a vegan goat cheese to make it vegan. Enjoy!

Serves 4 as a side dish/appe-teaser. Served 1 as a dinner.

1 lb of brussels sprouts

1 tbsp olive oil

1 c balsamic vinegar (don’t use nice balsamic for this– you’re going to reduce it to a glaze. you could also buy a pre-made reduction)

1 little log or round of goat cheese (will probably use about 1/4 c.)

8 shiitake mushrooms

2 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp liquid smoke (optional. if you don’t have this, you can just add a little more smoked paprika)

1 tbsp neutral oil (canola, vegetable, safflower, etc.)

black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Clean the brussels sprouts and then cut them all in half. Toss with olive oil and some salt (I usually use about 1/2-1 tsp.) Place on a baking tray. Once oven is preheated, put the brussels sprouts in and cook for 30 min, tossing every 10.
  3. While the sprouts are roasting away, prepare your shiitake bacon. Remove the stems from the mushrooms, and cut the caps into long slices.
  4. Combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, paprika, and liquid smoke. Toss the sliced mushrooms in the marinade and let sit for about 10 min.
  5. Preheat a skillet and add the neutral oil. Once hot, add the mushrooms without any of the extra marinade (but keep the marinade). After the mushrooms have cooked down and are starting to brown, add any extra marinade and cook for another couple of minutes until the mushrooms are crispy and a little glazed-looking.
  6. You also have to make the balsamic reduction! You can do this while the mushrooms are cooking (don’t constantly stir the mushrooms so that they will actually get a nice crisp on them). Just add your balsamic vinegar to a small sauce pan, and cook over low heat until it thickens and reduces about about half. This can take a while and be very boring. Perhaps recruit someone fun to sit with you while you cook so you don’t try to hurry this process up and end up burning the vinegar.
  7. Once the brussels sprouts are ready, plate up! Combine the sprouts and shiitakes. Add chunks of goat cheese on top, and drizzle everything with the balsamic reduction. Add a little more salt and pepper to taste, and dig in!

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