Flavorful smoky Brussels sprouts with thinly sliced shallots and smoked paprika make a delicious and simple side dish.
Why you’ll love it: The Brussels sprouts are “dressed up” but are super easy to make.
How long it takes: 20 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: large skillet, sharp knife
People either love or hate Brussels sprouts, right? I’ll admit I didn’t always love them. I don’t remember my mom serving them and that’s probably because my dad didn’t care for them. I was well into adulthood when Brussels sprouts became a popular item on restaurant menus and I experienced how tasty they could be.
You’ll find several recipes for Brussels sprouts on Rachel Cooks now and I am always looking for new ways to cook them up. I love roasted Brussels sprouts but lately I’ve been getting into sautéing (pan frying) them. I really love this recipe because the Brussels sprouts have that extra something added which makes them taste like a special treat but in reality, they are very simple.
About This Recipe
- Lots of flavor but not lots of calories. All too often, Brussels sprouts are drowned in butter, cheese, sauce, or sweet syrup. Not today! These pan-braised sprouts with shallots are enhanced by smoked paprika, which is one of my favorite spices, and fresh thyme, which is a trusty herb friend.
- Easy to make with only 5 ingredients. If you’re really paying attention, there are eight ingredients but I say that water, salt and pepper don’t really count.
- Always tender but not overcooked. It can be a little tricky to get those sprouts cooked just right. They can be too hard and crisp or they may turn out mushy and strong-flavored. That’s why you’ll love this cooking method: the Brussels sprouts are steamed for just a few minutes in the skillet to tenderize them; then they are browned lightly to add so much flavor.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Brussels Sprouts: Look for Brussels sprouts that are dark green and firm, without discolored or spotted leaves. You can buy them on the stalk or in a mesh bag. I figure about 4 oz. per serving.
- Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil adds great flavor and it’s heart-healthy, too. It has a fairly high smoke point which makes it a good choice for sautéing over medium heat.
- Shallots: A cousin of the onion, shallots are smaller in size and more finely textured, with a milder flavor. They have a slightly pink hue. You’ll need a couple of good-sized shallots.
- Smoked Paprika: There are many types of paprika. It’s made from red peppers that are dried and ground. For smoked paprika, the peppers are dried over a smoky oak fire and the paprika has a very definite smoky flavor. It’s not spicy hot and it’s super flavorful.
- Fresh Thyme: This woody herb is often added to savory dishes. Remove the leaves from the stems and chop them finely. If you only have dried thyme, use less because dried herbs are more potent than fresh.
- Salt & Pepper: I usually use kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper for cooking. If you choose fine salt or finely ground pepper, use a bit less than the recipe calls for.
How To Make This Brussels Sprouts Recipe
Prep the Brussels sprouts and shallots. With a sharp paring knife, trim off the stem end of each sprout. Remove any wilted or yellowing outer leaves. Rinse the sprouts with cool water; cut them in half, top to bottom.
Peel the shallots and slice them thinly.
Steam the sprouts. Heat up a splash of oil in a skillet and add the Brussels sprouts; season with salt and pepper. Add a quarter cup of water, cover the skillet and let the sprouts steam for a few minutes.
Sauté the sprouts. Remove the lid from the skillet and add the sliced shallots and smoked paprika; stir well. Continue to cook the Brussels sprouts and shallots until they are tender, five or six minutes. Give them a stir every once in awhile.
Serve. When the Brussels sprouts are ready to serve, sprinkle on a pinch of chopped thyme.
The Brussels sprouts you buy today have been bred to remove some of the bitter flavor which is caused by chemical compounds called glucosinolates (for more information, see this article by SCI). If you have had unpleasant experiences with Brussels sprouts in the past, maybe it’s time to give them another try.
If you still find they have a bitter flavor, make sure you’re not overcooking them. The longer they cook, the stronger the flavor.
Another way to counteract any strong or bitter flavor is to add another flavor. Sautéing the Brussels sprouts with oil or fat, like olive oil, butter, or bacon grease gives them great flavor. Adding a bit of sweetness with honey, maple syrup, or even brown sugar helps, too. Top the Brussels sprouts with a dressing or sauce that contains vinegar or citrus.
Change It Up
- Try a different seasoning. If you’re not fond of smoked paprika or you just want something a little different, substitute my all-purpose seasoning for the paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. A BBQ rub seasoning mix is good, too. You may have another blend you’d like to try out. Feel free to experiment.
- Substitute onion for the shallot. If you don’t happen to have any shallots on hand, try thinly sliced onions (red, Vidalia, yellow, etc).
Make Ahead Ideas
To get a head start on this side dish, the Brussels sprouts and shallots can be prepped up to a day ahead and refrigerated. Trim the sprouts and cut them in half. Peel and slice the shallots. You’ll be able to have this side dish on the table in no time at all if the prep work has been done.
Storage & Reheating Tips
- Refrigerate: Sautéed Brussels sprouts are best eaten immediately. If you happen to have some left over, refrigerate them promptly in a covered container. They’ll keep for 3 to 4 days.
- Reheat: Warm individual portions in the microwave. Overheating them may affect the flavor and texture. For larger amounts, warm them in a covered skillet for a few minutes, adding a bit of water if necessary.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, Brussels sprouts, and season with salt and pepper. Add water, stir, and cover skillet. Cook for 3 minutes, covered.
- Remove the cover, add shallots and smoked paprika. Stir well to coat. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes or until desired tenderness.
- Stir in thyme and serve immediately.
- This recipe is Whole30, keto, vegan, and vegetarian compliant.
- Refrigerate leftover Brussels sprouts for up to 4 days in a covered container. Try not to overheat them when reheating.
- Recipe revised 1/23.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.