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I'm an ambassador for Brussels sprouts and I think that Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts prove how good they really are.
It turns out that roasted Brussels sprouts taste absolutely wonderful in a sticky, spicy sweet Kung Pao sauce, served over rice (or Cauliflower Rice as in this Cauliflower Fried Rice for a keto / low carb option) and crowned with a generous handful of salty, roasted peanuts. Or skip the rice and serve as a side dish to something like Grilled Tuna Steaks or other Asian inspired main course.
Try this recipe and you may, even if you've always thought you hated them, find that you're a Brussels sprouts lover too.
How to fall in love with Brussels sprouts.
Is there a more maligned and misunderstood vegetable? When I hear someone say how much they hate Brussels sprouts, I always picture them biting into a boiled, skunky, squishy, waterlogged tiny cabbage and thinking, "Well these are terrible." So I’ll admit that to be a BS lover (that’s Brussels sprouts lover, of course), there are two rules: one, do not boil them; two, cook them every other way or eat them thinly sliced and raw.
Want some suggestions that might surprise you? If you're a Caesar Salad lover, this Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad, in Brussels Sprouts Sauerkraut, in Sweet Potato Hash and Corned Beef Hash or in place of the traditional chicken in these Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts.
How to Make Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts
Step 1: Get your rice going so that it's hot and ready to serve when your Brussels sprouts are ready to serve. (A rice cooker is ideal here because it will keep your rice warm until the rest of the meal is ready.)
Step 2: Toss your halved Brussels sprouts in peanut oil and roast on a parchment lined baking sheet until they're tender with some crispy edges, tossing once during cooking.
Step 3: Meanwhile, make the sticky sweet and spicy kung pao sauce. First sauté the garlic and ginger in a little peanut oil until fragrant. Then stir in the chili paste, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar and a little water and thicken it at the end with a slurry of cornstarch and water.
Step 4: To serve, toss the hot out of the oven Brussels sprouts with sauce, pile over hot rice, and finish with a shower of crunchy peanuts.
Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts
- 1 cup rice I used brown basmati
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts halved
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil divided
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon hot chili paste such as sambal oelek
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (also called Szechuan peppercorns) coarsely ground in a spice grinder or well crushed with a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin
- ½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
- red pepper flakes to taste
- Cook rice according to package directions. (You'll want it to be cooked and hot at the same time that you're ready to serve the Brussels sprouts.)
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil and spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast 20 minutes, until tender with crispy edges, stirring once about half way through roasting time.
- After stirring Brussels sprouts and returning to oven (while they have 10 minutes left to roast), whisk together cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl until smooth.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger; cook and stir until garlic is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add chili paste, soy sauce, water, honey, rice vinegar and crushed Sichuan peppercorns and bring to a boil; stir in cornstarch mixture. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly until sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- When Brussels sprouts are done, transfer to medium bowl. Pour sauce over and toss to coat. Transfer to serving platter or divide among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with peanuts and red pepper flakes (optional); serve with hot cooked rice.
- For a vegan version, skip the honey and use sugar or other sweetener instead.