Dining at a favorite restaurant, my entree arrived with a light and fluffy vegetable side dish. It turned out to be little green ribbons of sliced Brussels sprouts. I had never seen Brussels sprouts sliced or shaved into thin ribbons before. It was brilliant. It’s become my newest way to enjoy this healthy cruciferous vegetable, a cousin of broccoli and cabbage.
Easy to Make
Shaved Brussels sprouts are easy to make. Because they are thinly sliced, they cook quickly, making for a fast vegetable side dish to accompany roast chicken or fish. I’ll often roast or steam Brussels sprouts, but shaving or slicing them is a nice change of pace.
For this recipe I’ve used just a little pancetta to add another layer of flavor. Pancetta is Italian bacon, cured with salt and spices but not smoked, as is American bacon. It’s salty, so watch the addition of any salt to season this dish. If you opt for using bacon, buy the uncured, nitrate-free style, either pork or turkey, your preference.
Sometimes I’ll make this vegan style, using simply olive oil, skipping the pancetta or bacon. It’s delicious both ways.
Brussels Sprouts Purchasing and Prep
When buying, choose Brussels sprouts that are firm and bright green with no yellow edges on the leaves. They come both loose and on the stalk. If loose, I choose large ones for this recipe.
To slice Brussels sprouts I use either a 7” Santoku or a chefs knife. While I use a mandoline for some things, here I find it’s just as easy with a good knife. It’s also one less thing to clean and good knife skills practice. I go for slices about ¼” (.6 cm) thick.
Next, hold the sprout flat on the cutting board by the root end and slice them crosswise into thin ribbons about ¼” (about .6 cm) thick. Discard the root ends. The thin slices will separate into ribbons with some pieces staying intact. Do the same with your shallots. Not familiar with shallots? You must try cooking with them.
Common in French cooking, shallots are a mild, sweet member of the onion family. Shallots are shaped like a large clove of garlic with a brownish, rosy colored papery outer skin. When peeled, the flesh is ivory with a purplish hue. First peel the papery skin off of the shallots, then slice them crosswise into thin rings. Separate the rings.
When buying shallots, they should be plump and firm, not wrinkled or sprouting. Keep them in a cool, dry pantry, next to your onions. You can use shallots in many recipes in place of onions, and a little bit of finely diced shallot gives nice flavor to vinaigrettes.
To cook your Brussels sprouts, heat olive oil in a large fry or sauté pan over medium-low heat and briefly cook the thinly sliced shallot and garlic. Add your Brussels sprouts and stir, cooking until they are soft, wilted and tender to taste. As the sprouts cook they will release moisture and shrink down. Season them up with salt and pepper. Be careful of extra salt if you are using pancetta or bacon.
If you’d like sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley or one a little fresh oregano. For a little crunch, add toasted pine nuts or toasted slivered almonds.
Nutrition Notes – Why Brussels Sprouts are Good For You
Brussels sprouts are full of vitamins, fiber and disease-fighting phytonutrients. An excellent source of vitamin’s K (anti-inflammatory) and C (antioxidant), many studies have shown that eating Brussels sprouts may lower your cancer risk. For more information, enjoy these articles from the Worlds Healthiest Foods and WebMD