Sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon will be your new favorite side dish! These green sprouts are topped with crunchy breadcrumbs and served with savory hickory smoked bacon.
Brussels sprouts, love them or hate them? Sometimes just hearing those two words can make you cringe, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Learning the right technique to make them fork-tender with a crispy surface is a game-changer.
When I was in culinary school, my chef instructor showed us how to cook correctly and flavor these unappreciated yet healthy veggies. This dish pairs crispy smoked bacon and toasted breadcrumbs.
When preparing Brussels sprouts, try to select them at a consistent size, about 1 1/2 inches long. Peel away any discolored outer leaves, and trim the stem to no shorter than 1 inch long, and then halved through the stem. Larger Brussels sprouts about 2 1/2 inches long should be cut into quarters.
When preparing Brussels sprouts, the key is the precooking step. The stems are pretty tough, so a quick blanch in salted boiling water, similar to green beans, tenderizes the stem of the sprout. You then can roast or saute the precooked sprouts to add a little extra flavor and texture, so it’s not just a bland, uninteresting vegetable.
To add more flavor to the sprouts, sauteing shallots brings out its natural sweetness and mellows out the pungent garlic and onion qualities.
Bacon and Brussels sprouts are a classic ingredient combination. The rich, smoky notes from the crispy bacon complement the slight bitterness of the sprouts.
To make each serving even more irresistible, make some quick and crunchy stovetop breadcrumbs. If you have slices of bread at home, especially day-old bread, you can make homemade breadcrumbs in a cast iron skillet in less than 5 minutes! Just a little bit of oil or butter and a sprinkling of salt and seasonings can make any vegetable a bit tastier!
These Brussels sprouts with bacon make an excellent side dish any day of the week or during holiday feasts!
More side dish recipes
- Green Beans with Crunchy Almonds
- Fingerling Potatoes with Lemon Dressing
- Oven Roasted Root Vegetables
How long should brussels sprouts cook?
Boil Brussels sprouts for 5 to 8 minutes, or steam them for 7 to 9 minutes. The timing will vary depending on the size of the sprouts. I always check 1 to 2 minutes before to see if the sprouts are tender in case they’re done cooking sooner. You can also peel the leaves off and saute them dry in a pan for a nutty flavor if you don’t like eating the stem.
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Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups water
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 2 slices bacon
- ½ cup shallots, ⅛-inch thick slices
- black pepper, for seasoning
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until toasted and crisp, stirring frequently.
- Season with ⅛ teaspoon salt, add more as desired. Transfer breadcrumbs to a sheet tray to allow to cool.
- Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- Turn off heat and transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve the pan with the bacon fat. Allow bacon to cool, and then chop into small pieces.
- In a medium-sized pot, add water and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring the water to a boil.
- Add brussels sprouts and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. Immediately drain and shake to remove the excess water.
- Turn heat to medium-high on the pan with the bacon fat drippings.
- Add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally. Push the shallots to the side of the pan, and add the brussels sprouts.
- Cook for about 5 minutes, searing each side until lightly brown. Turn off heat and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the bacon to the pan and stir to combine.
- Transfer to a serving dish and top with breadcrumb topping right before serving.
- MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Gluten-free breadcrumbs can be substituted for regular breadcrumbs, or topped with sliced roasted almonds or toasted almond meal.
- MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE: Olive oil can be substituted for butter.
- MAKE IT WHOLE30 and PALEO: Substitute ghee or olive oil for butter. Add sliced roasted almonds or toasted almond meal instead of panko.
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