Simple Sautéed Brussels Sprouts and Onions

Simple sautéed Brussels sprouts and onions in a bowl

The Spruce / Katie Workman

  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings

Simple cooked and shredded Brussels sprouts are one of the world’s best vegetable dishes. They're a really easy way to get the benefits of this cruciferous veggie, and they cook up very quickly once they're shredded and tossed into a hot pan. They round out any cold-weather meal perfectly, and they are also great blended into pilafs and other grain dishes, such as this quinoa salad or with herby brown rice. You can cook them until they are just wilted and still have some firmness to the texture, or spend a few more minutes and allow them to cook down and get almost melty. 

This recipe is definitely simple, but if you're wondering what to add to Brussels sprouts, think about what you'd like to serve them with. Consider adding a squeeze of lemon juice at the end of cooking, or a dash of red pepper flakes for some heat, or maybe a bit of sesame oil to accentuate the nuttiness. Brussels sprouts also taste great drizzled with a balsamic reduction or sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese—or both.

This recipe for simple sautéed Brussels sprouts and onions would pair beautifully as a side dish to a variety of main meals. For a straightforward menu, pair this with this sesame ginger salmon recipe or grilled prosciutto-wrapped pork chops. Also, the simplicity of these Brussels sprouts would easily complement a more flavorful chicken dish, such as slow-cooked oven-baked BBQ chicken or hoisin glazed chicken breasts.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts (trimmed and thinly slivered)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.

  3. Add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes until tender.

  4. Add the slivered Brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, until the Brussels sprouts are wilted, or as soft as you would like them. Serve hot or warm. 

How Do You Get the Bitterness Out of Brussels? Sprouts

Brassicas such as kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts have some compounds in them called glucosinolates that contribute to their bitterness, but knowing how to cook these veggies makes all the difference. Boiling won't help the problem. You need the direct heat of roasting or sautéeing, as we have done here, which allows the sugars in the veggies to caramelize, turning the sprouts almost nutty and a little sweet. It changes the whole flavor profile and may make a believer out of a skeptic. When in doubt, a little bit of lemon juice, salt, and pepper go a long way to balance the bitterness, too.

Tips

  • Don’t forget that Brussels sprouts will shrink down as you cook them, so start with a larger amount than you might think necessary. One pound will feed four people, approximately, and you can multiply as needed.
  • Pre-shredded or slivered Brussels sprouts are readily available in bags or containers in many supermarkets, especially during the fall and winter months. 
  • If you want to sliver them yourself, it does take a little time, but they will be super fresh, and some of us find it therapeutic. Use a good sharp knife or mandoline; just be careful to watch your fingers.
  • Leftover shredded Brussels sprouts might be used with all kinds of cheese in a quesadilla or added to stir-fried rice.
  • When making these Brussels sprouts, we recommend using a skillet. A great skillet is one of the most important cooking tools in a well-supplied kitchen. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but buy one that’s heavy so it won’t warp, and make sure it can travel from oven to stovetop without any damage. This will allow you to sear meat, for example, and then finish cooking it in the oven. Finding a skillet you love is an incredibly satisfying achievement—it will be your friend for life.