Sweet and Spicy Italian Brussels Sprouts

Another Brussels sprouts recipe? Why not? It’s almost spring, after all, and then Brussels sprouts will be a thing of the past, along with squash, parsnips, and hearty stews. So get the most out of these frigid days of March with this sprouts recipe.

The secrets here are the sugar and the heat. The sugar rounds out the cruciferous taste of the sprouts and the high, high heat creates an almost candied taste. Additionally, the cheese replaces the need for salt, while adding a nutty, umami flavor. If you are looking for a recipe to bump up your side dish repertoire, this is it. 

Sweet and Spicy Italian Brussels Sprouts


1 lb. Brussels sprouts, shredded

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 Serrano pepper, minced

1/4 cup Romano cheese

2 tbsp. Italian seasoning

1 tbsp. sugar

1. Turn the heat up to medium high and throw the oil in. When it starts to smoke, toss in the garlic.

2. After a few minutes, when the garlic is fragrant and starts to turn golden, add the jalapenos. Saute for another minute or so – you don’t want the garlic to burn, so…

3. Add the sprouts and the seasonings. Toss the sprouts in the oil and then cover the whole thing with a lid.

Let it cook for about 10 minutes, or until the sprouts are wilted and very soft – the volume will decrease a lot and the sprouts will be glossy and smooth.

4. Remove the lid, add the sugar and cheese, and turn the heat up very high. Mash the sprouts all down into the pan in a single layer and let it cook for about 2 minutes. The kitchen will get smokey. That’s okay…this is where the magic happens. After the first side gets very charred, start flipping the sprouts so all the layers get a chance to touch the bottom of the pan. Be sure not to disturb the sprouts while they cook – the undisturbed cooking time is what makes this work.

Once the sprouts are crispy and almost black in most places…

5. Serve.

The sugar is so amazing with the sprouts – it adds a sweet, unexpected edge to an extremely savory dish. And don’t be scared of the black parts – that’s what  makes this dish so multifaceted. The crispy, deeply charred parts contrasting with the soft, delicate bites and the bite of chiles. This dish would be great the next day in a frittata and is even good cold for a midnight snack.

Eat it while you can, because this is the last time you will want to eat sprouts for many months. Warm weather, here we come!