I have always been someone who puts hot sauce on everything, and vegetables are no exception. So when I saw Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts on the menu at Beatrix in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, I knew they would be right up my alley. As predicted, those spicy sprouts were the highlight of my meal. Obviously, I had to recreate them in my home kitchen, and I’m thrilled to say they were a success.
If you wrinkle your nose at the mention of Brussels sprouts, you’re definitely not alone. They have a pretty bad reputation, being the stinky mini cabbages that they are. But if you haven’t tried them since your mom forced you to choke them down at the dinner table, this recipe is a fantastic re-introduction. Likewise, if you’ve never had Brussels sprouts, roasting and tossing them with spicy kung pao sauce and crunchy peanuts is a great way to see if you like them.
The recipe below yields about three to four small servings as a side, or two servings if you’re eating the sprouts as an entrée over rice or quinoa. For extra protein, I recommend frying some tofu and tossing it in the sauce with the Brussels sprouts just before serving. By the way, the sauce is inspired by one of my all-time favorite meals by Minimalist Baker. Her General Tso’s Tofu Stir Fry is simply incredible. I turned up the heat in my iteration; so if you’re sensitive to spicy foods, cut the chili garlic sauce in half.
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce (I used the Huy Fong brand)
- 1 ½ Tbsp. maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- ½ Tbsp. + 2 tsp. sesame oil, divided
- ½ Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tsp. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. water
- 1 bundle green onions, sliced on the bias
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts
- Cooked rice for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the hard ends off the Brussels sprouts and slice them in half lengthwise. If you have any exceptionally large sprouts, quarter them. Transfer the sprouts to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to evenly coat. Roast for 20 – 25 minutes, flipping the sprouts halfway through to ensure even browning. When done, the Brussels sprouts should be tender and caramelized on the edges.
- Meanwhile, make your sauce. Combine the chili garlic sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce, cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, ginger, rice vinegar and water in a mixing bowl. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Set sauce aside.
- Add ½ tablespoon of sesame oil to a large, deep skillet and heat over medium-high. Once hot, add the green onion and sauté until bright green and slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove the Brussels sprouts from the oven and add them to the skillet. Toss with the green onion and sauté for a minute more. Then pour in the sauce. Continue to cook for 2 – 3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the sprouts are coated. Remove from heat and stir in the peanuts.
- Serve Brussels sprouts as a side dish or scoop over rice for a heartier meal.