Crisp Marinated Brussels Sprouts


By Freya Bellin

Boiled Brussels sprouts have a reputation for being mushy, but this recipe succeeds in saving them from that fate. Shocking the sprouts before they have a chance to soften completely helps preserve both the crunch and color of the vegetable. They retain a nice green freshness, and I chose to use red onions in the marinade for the bright color contrast. The dressing is very versatile, and that basic combination could be used on a variety of vegetables or salads. The recipe would also work just as well with roasted Brussels sprouts if you prefer those, although it would be a hot dish rather than this cold one. I didn’t end up using the full amount of dressing that was called for, so you may want to mix it in a few tablespoons at a time to be safe.

When buying Brussels sprouts, keep in mind that you’ll lose the outer layer of leaves of each one, so you may want to get a bit more than what the recipe calls for. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

Crisp Marinated Brussels Sprouts

Makes: 4 to 8 servings

Time: Less than 1 hour, including marinating 

Bright green and slightly crunchy, these make a perfectly piquant finger food, one that doesn’t depend on bacon or cheese for flavor and texture (though you can add a crumble of either to the vinaigrette). Try the same boil-shock-and-dress method with broccoli or cauliflower florets, asparagus spears, carrot coins, whole green beans, or even strips of cabbage.


1 pound Brussels sprouts

1⁄4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry or wine vinegar, or more to taste

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 medium shallot or small red onion, chopped

Black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Trim the hard edges of the stems and remove any loose leaves from the Brussels sprouts. Leave whole or cut in half. Set up a large bowl of water with lots of ice cubes.

2. Drop the Brussels sprouts into the boiling water and cook until they are crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. You should be able to pierce one easily with a sharp knife, but they should still have a little crunch. Drain the vegetables and plunge into the bowl of ice water until cool; drain again.

3. While the sprouts are draining, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, shallot, and some pepper in a large bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more vinegar a teaspoon or 2 at a time until the balance tastes right to you. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the vinaigrette, cover, and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to a day. Serve with toothpicks.


Posted in Produce


  1. Julie Anne Rhodes said...

    Brussels sprouts – how could I hate them so much when I was little, and consider them the ultimate vegetable treat as an adult?

  2. FeastontheCheap said...

    There was a (sorta) old Bittman recipe for crunchy deep-roasted sprouts that marked my first foray into the world of these sulfurous little delights. I’ve since tweaked his recipe to satisfy my own cravings (namely my craving for crispy pancetta), but I haven’t yet braved boiled sprouts fearing the mushy, gooey-ness that original gave these veggies such a bad rap. I’m intrigued though and it’s probably time I got a little more adventurous with this dish… I’ll let you know how it goes

  3. Liz said...

    Why boil them? I steam all my veggies.

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