Your favorite takeout meal gets a healthy makeover in this Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts recipe. It comes together faster than you can order food from a restaurant, so it’s a terrific dinner dish for busy weeknights.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been on a bit of a stir-fry kick lately. Stir-fries are my go-to meals on busy weeknights and those days when I don’t feel much like cooking. I tend to like spicy stir-fries, but occasionally I’ll go for some a little different, like sweet and sour or teriyaki.
Sweet and Sour Tofu is my go-to recipe when I’m in the mood for a little sweetness. (Sweet and Sour Soy Curls are really good, too!) Recently, I had a hankering, but I felt like changing things up a little. What if I used a vegetable in the place of tofu? A few months ago, I may have used cauliflower, but Dennis has discovered that it causes gout flare-ups. (Oh, cauliflower, how I miss you!) Broccoli just didn’t seem like the right choice. How about Brussels sprouts?
I know, I know. Brussels sprouts equal puke-faced emoji. Every food blogger knows that the quickest way to get nasty comments on social media is to post about Brussels sprouts. I get it. Years ago, I hated them, too. Now, I can’t get enough of them. The key to liking a vegetable you think you hate is to new ways to prepare it. And that’s what I’ve done here by adding it to a sweet stir-fry with chunks of delicious pineapple. I’ve read that you have to eat a food you don’t like 10 times to develop a liking to it. For me and Brussels sprouts, I think it only took 2 or 3 meals.
I’ve blanched the brussels sprouts in this recipe. Blanching is simply flash cooking vegetables in boiling water and then immediately cooling them down in a bath of ice water. The ice water stops the cooking process, so the sprouts don’t get to soggy. Blanching helps remove some of that bitter taste from sprouts and helps them to cook faster once they’re in the pan for the stir-fry.
The sour flavor in this dish comes from pineapples and pineapple juice. There’s no need to out and buy both. A 14-ounce can of diced pineapples holds about 1½ cups of pineapple and ½ cup of juice. Just make sure your pineapple is packed in juice and not a sugary syrup.
- First, you blanch the brussels sprouts.
- Then, you whisk together the sauce ingredients.
- Next, you cook the onion.
- Once they’ve begun to brown, you add the rest of the vegetables to the pan.
- After the vegetables have begun to soften, you add the sauce to the pan.
- And just like that, your dinner is ready!
I like to serve my stir-fries with brown rice, but you can also serve them rice noodles, or even cauliflower rice. Since I like my stir-fries spicy, I usually add a touch of hot sauce to the finished meal.
Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts
Makes 3 to 4 servings
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
- ½ cup pineapple juice (from the can of diced pineapple)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon neutral oil
- ½ cup diced sweet onion (about half an onion)
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 ½ cups diced pineapple (1 14-ounce can)
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 3–4 cups cooked brown rice, for serving
To blanch the Brussels sprouts, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and have a large bowl of ice water ready. Cook the sprouts in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove them from pot with a slotted spoon and place them in the ice water to keep them from cooking. After a few minutes, remove them from the ice water and blot them dry.
Whisk together the pineapple juice, garlic, ginger, tamari, agave, rice vinegar, cornstarch, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
Heat the oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of sea salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the onion starts to become translucent and fragrant.
Add the red and green bell pepper, pineapple, and brussels sprouts to the pan. Cook until the peppers have softened, about 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the sauce to the pan. Gently stir to combine. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until the sauce thickens and is heated throughout. Remove from the heat.
Top with sliced scallions. Serve hot with brown rice.
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