(Note: this post was originally published on May 2, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
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 own personal 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.
Just thinking about those brussel sprouts makes me happy! Usually before we go to Tortilla Republic, we do a long, hot, and exposed hike along the coast that leaves us immensely thirsty and a little wiped out. There's nothing more satisfying than some margaritas and these delightfully sweet-and-spicy brussel sprouts (ok, and let's be honest, about three basket-fuls of free chips too). Then once we're appropriately re-fueled, we wander back down to the coast for the sunset. It's a pretty darn wonderful day!
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. Or use a mix of the two!
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.
Finally, you have some options with regards to the citrus. Feel free to swap in any sweet, orange-like citrus that looks good! Regular oranges, blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, tangerines, clementines, tangelos, and even grapefruits will work. I love to garnish these with kumquat slices because they're so pretty, but anything you like will be great.
Looking to make these a meal? I've done it numerous times! They're pretty hearty anyways, especially with the avocado. But if you want to add some additional protein, just toss some black beans in at the end of the cooking time and you'll have yourself a very wonderful comfort food dinner.
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
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 Blackberry Coconut Margarita. They would be so fun alongside other Mexican-inspired happy hour snacks these Mexican Street Corn Stuffed Peppers (and of course lots of chips). Or serve them as a side dish to this No-Cook Rainbow Black Bean Salad. Wow, this is sounding like my kind of party!
One final thought. When you make these, don't hesitate to make a double batch if you have a big enough skillet. The leftovers are great the next day on a Mexican-inspired salad or in a burrito bowl.
Have fun with these! They're jam-packed with flavor and texture, subtly sweet, delicately spicy, and the best sort of happy hour snack.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Loaded with sweet orange and spicy jalapeno, these brussel sprouts are a flavor powerhouse! Enjoy them as a side dish, happy hour nibble, or hoard them all to yourself.