Monday, November 2, 2009

Brussels Sprouts with Agave, Mustard and Walnuts

Dinner last night was fairly neutral because I was also feeding my 80-year-old parents. A few very unexpected things happened. Most notably my father told me I could make the apple and leek seitan sausage patties again that they were good. What had I just heard? You could have knocked me over with a feather. My Midwestern meat and potatoes eating father liked the seitan. Surely the world is about to blow up. Next, both my parents liked the acorn squash with sautéed apples. This was another one of those what the heck just happened moments. I don’t think my parents have ever eaten an acorn squash that wasn’t coated in syrup and stuffed with sausage. Score two for the vegans. I was in complete shock. My omnivore parents are learning to appreciate vegan food. Never did I think this would happen. If they can change at 80 years old, anyone can.

Okay on to the brussels recipe which I knew everyone would like since I am the only one in the clan that is neutral on the sprouts. My husband and father both love the sprout. I like to include it with dinner when I can since they love it and it is good for them. My father is a colon cancer survivor so I try to get him to eat a healthy diet too. He is nowhere near as compliant as my husband. I do what I can but know that my father is eating all the wrong things when I am not making his meals.

As I have mentioned before brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous vegetable family and are linked to reduced rates of cancer. They also need to be cooked as little as possible to retain the most nutrition. I cook mine until they are just beginning to soften (but are still firm) and then dress then while they are still hot so they start to absorb the flavors of the dressing. Last night 4 people ate 2 pounds of sprouts less a few for my husband’s lunch today. Here is what I did.

Brussels Sprouts with Agave, Mustard and Walnuts
Serves 4


2 pounds of brussels sprouts. trimmed and cut in half
pan spray, or canola oil in a mister
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons amber agave
½ teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped


Heat a heavy bottomed skillet (I used cast iron) over medium/high heat until very hot. Spray the pan with oil and add as many brussels and will fit in a single layer. Cook the sprouts for 3 minutes before you stir them to cook the other side. Cook another 3 minutes and move to a waiting pan. Continue cooking the sprouts in batches until they are all tender crisp.

While you are cooking the sprouts you can make the sauce by combining the Dijon, agave, mustard seed, salt and pepper. If you are going to serve the sprouts right away toss them immediately into the sauce so that they begin to absorb it.

Taste the sprouts for salt and pepper and adjust before serving. Add the walnuts and toss to combine just before serving so the walnuts will remain firm. The walnuts will absorb the sauce and get softer the longer they are in the dish.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 154.63
Calories From Fat (41%) - 63.23

Total Fat - 7.5g
Saturated Fat - 0.79g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 749mg
Potassium - 779.62mg
Total Carbohydrates - 19.56g
Fiber - 7.39g
Sugar - 4.44g
Protein - 7.43g


Not surprisingly this was my husband’s favorite dish tonight. My hubby hasn’t met a brussels sprout he didn’t love. I cooked these lightly to retain as much of the nutrition as possible. The agave and mustard sauce makes these sprouts something even a sprout avoider (like myself) can enjoy.

This dish has a decent amount of nutrition. Each serving contains more than 1,700IU of vitamin A, 140mg of vitamin C, 140mg of calcium, 140mcg of folate, 320mcg of vitamin K, and 150mg of phosphorus. Those stats don’t account for the sulforaphane and indole 3 that is found in members of the cruciferous vegetable family. Brussels sprouts are a very healthy vegetable. If you can cultivate a taste for them, it would be a good thing. Scientists say some foods need to be consumed 15 times for the body to develop a positive taste memory. I reminded myself of that until the sprouts grew on me. With the nutrition they provide I am glad I continued to eat them until I found them acceptable. I don’t think I will ever love them like my husband, but at least I can eat them now without feeling tortured, which was how I felt initially.


  1. I'm waiting for locally grown organic sprouts to hit the market around here...then I"m all over this recipe.

  2. Rose,

    I was very excited when I saw the stalks of brussels at the market. The odd look of the plant is something I find fascinating. My loves how they taste, so we are both happy.

    As you know I am not a sprout lover, but they are good cooked this way, even to me.


  3. Oh yum Alicia! I love brussels sprouts - me siding with your husband again in the flavour stakes! - and will try this recipe out this week! Probably with your seitan patties too. Can't wait.

  4. Jenny,

    I can't wait to hear what you think of the sprout recipe and the seitan patties. Please let me know.

    talk to you soon,

  5. Hi again Alicia. Just popping in to say that this recipe was indeed delicious and so quick and easy to make - I think this will become my standard sprout recipe. I made the apple and leek patties too (photo on my blog) and they were equally as good. I think that the recipe is more versatile and so I will probably experiment with different flavours next time - I quite fancy trying a mushroom variation. Or sundried tomatoes and olive. I loved the cooking techniques you used too. Believe it or not I had never water sauteed anything before. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful recipes.

    By the way I have a question - in France I buy something that is called "pure gluten" on the packet and it is a very fine powder. Is Vital Wheat Gluten pure? Or is it cut with other ingredients? I have always supposed that Vital is the brand. Is that correct?

    Right I really do want to get on with my book (no talking to me when I have a good book on the go! A family trait).

    Speak to you soon.

    Have a good day


  6. Jenny,

    Yay! You made my day. I am so glad you liked the brussels and the apple and leek seitan sausages. I feel like a proud recipe mommy.

    Vital Wheat Gluten is just gluten, nothing added. It is just what they call it here. I didn't realize it had a different name in Europe. If I ever post anything and you don't recognize the name of an ingredient please ask me to clarify. I am happy to do it.

    Enjoy your book and talk to you soon,


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