Orange Jalapeno Brussel Sprouts

Perhaps not surprisingly, I'm back with another fun brussel sprout recipe. These beauties are perfectly caramelized in a skillet, kissed with orange, tossed with charred jalapenos and sweet raisins, and finished with creamy avocado, crunchy pepitas, and fresh herbs. My heaven! And they're just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

If you're looking for a novel veggie side dish or appetizer, you've come to the right place because this recipe is exploding with flavor. It has a perfect balance of sweet and heat, which is a combination I find so incredibly addicting. I love to serve these zesty sprouts as a happy hour snack, but they'd work equally well as a side dish or a veggie-forward main course. Oh my gosh, maybe even stuffed into a taco?? Yes, I need to try that!

My concept for this recipe is based on one of my favorite bar snacks on the entire planet: the fried brussel sprouts at Tortilla Republic on Kaua'i. Dave and I have spent many (oh so many) delightful happy hours sitting at their bar, sipping margaritas, and munching on their amazing bar bites.

I've made some changes to Tortilla Republic's dish in order to make it a bit lighter and more feasible for the home cook, but my flavors are pretty faithful to the original. Instead of frying the brussel sprouts, you'll caramelize them at high heat in a skillet. Tortilla Republic uses both jalapenos and raisins in theirs, which is the most magical combination, so I've kept that in my version. I also added orange zest and juice, as well as some fun toppings, to really make them special.

I was thrilled to find purple brussel sprouts right before I was planning to take these photos. Aren't they beautiful?? But green will be just as delicious if that's what you can find.

One other important note is that you have a lot of options with the jalapenos. You can use one or a few, depending on your heat desire, and either leave the seeds in or take them out. If you're really anti-heat, a poblano pepper would work great instead. The easiest option is to slice the pepper(s) thinly and cook them right in with the brussel sprouts, after giving the sprouts a bit of a head start. But you could also grill the peppers or char them right over a flame and add them after.

Need some serving suggestions? These brussel sprouts are begging to be paired with a margarita! You could go classic, or with something a bit non-traditional like this Ginger Margarita or this Blackberry Coconut Margarita. They would be so fun alongside other Mexican-inspired happy hour snacks like Roasted Corn Guacamole, plenty of chips, Mexican Street Corn Stuffed Peppers, and/or my favorite Margarita Cauliflower. Wow, this is becoming quite the party.

Have fun with these! They're jam-packed with flavor and texture, subtly sweet, delicately spicy, and the best sort of happy hour snack.

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

Brussel sprouts all the time! If you're looking for another fun, Mexican-inspired dish with my favorite veggie, you'll love these Brussel Sprout Nachos.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
  • 4 cups brussel sprouts
  • Oil of choice for cooking
  • Generous salt and pepper
  • One or a few thinly-sliced jalapenos. This is your opportunity to control the heat level. Use one, two, or three jalapenos, or even a poblano instead if you're not into heat at all. You can remove the seeds and ribs if you want minimal heat, or leave them in for more heat. My preference: two jalapenos with the seeds in.
  • Zest of an orange
  • Juice of an orange
  • Big handful of raisins
  • Citrus slices
  • Small handful of roasted, salted pepitas
  • Small handful of fresh cilantro or mint. Cilantro probably makes the most sense flavor-wise, although I love the combination of orange and mint. Use what you like, or use a combination of the two.
  • Sliced avocado
Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. First, prepare the brussel sprouts. For each sprout, cut off the tough stem, then cut in halves (for little sprouts) or quarters (for big sprouts).
  2. Cook the brussel sprouts over medium heat in a large skillet with a splash of oil, tossing them frequently. Add generous salt and pepper.
  3. After about ten minutes, add the thinly sliced jalapenos.
  4. Continue cooking and tossing until the brussel sprouts are tender (but not soft!) and have developed caramelized surfaces and until the jalapenos are soft and browned.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and add the zest and juice of an orange and a big handful of raisins, then toss again. Let it all simmer for a few minutes to concentrate the juice, plump the raisins, and continue softening the brussel sprouts.
  6. Once the orange juice has evaporated, transfer the brussel sprouts to a serving dish. Garnish with a few citrus slices, pepitas, finely chopped herbs, and sliced avocado.


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