Orange Jalapeno Brussel Sprouts

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(Note: this post was originally published on May 2, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

Sweet Meets Spicy

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 Inspiration

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.

Make It Work for YOU

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.

Let's Talk Ingredients

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.

  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cooking oil. I like to use coconut oil, but whatever you like is fine.
  • Salt and pepper
  • 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 and juice of an orange
  • Big handful of raisins
  • Citrus slices. For garnishing! Use whatever you love.
  • Roasted, salted pepitas
  • Fresh cilantro and/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.
  • Avocado

Closing Thoughts

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.

Share It!

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.

Suggested Pairings

Coconut Paloma

Tropical Guacamole

Blistered Shishito Pepper Salad

Mexican Street Corn Stuffed Peppers

No-Cook Rainbow Black Bean Salad

Orange Jalapeno Brussel Sprouts

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.

Author:
Lee

Ingredients

For the Brussel Sprouts

  • 4 c brussel sprouts
  • Oil of choice for cooking
  • Generous salt and pepper
  • One or a few thinly-sliced jalapenos
  • Zest of an orange
  • Juice of an orange
  • Big handful of raisins

For Garnishing

  • Citrus slices of choice
  • Small handful of roasted, salted pepitas
  • Small handful of fresh cilantro or mint
  • Sliced avocado

Instructions

  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.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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