We all know that people love to hate Brussels sprouts, but they’re honestly delicious if they’re cooked well. (And no, I’m not talking about those boiled-to-death, bitter, almost slimy whole Brussels sprouts we all ate as kids.) If you’re not convinced, I think this recipe for shredded Brussels sprouts, balsamic vinegar, feta, and lemon will show you that they really can be good!
Well-cooked Brussels sprouts are nutty in flavor and have some firmness in texture. One of the keys to this recipe is not overcooking them. Pulling them off the heat as soon as they begin to soften and brighten ensures they’ll have great texture when it’s time to serve them. The toasted pine nuts emphasize the nutty flavor of the Brussels sprouts. The tangy lemon and sweet balsamic vinegar offer some delicious contrast to the vegetable’s earthiness. And finally, the salty feta ties everything together and adds an extra pop of bright flavor.
Notes on This Recipe:
Cooking time: as I mentioned, it’s absolutely imperative not to overcook the Brussels sprouts. Once they start to wilt and soften, and their color brightens a bit, pull them off the heat. (They’ll get a little more cooking later when you mix them with the balsamic vinegar glaze.) This leaves them flavorful, nutty, and firm yet tender. This usually takes about 5 minutes for me. Your exact cooking time will vary depending on your pan, temperature, and even the Brussels sprouts themselves.
Pan size: go for a wide pan that can hold all of the Brussels sprouts in a layer not more than 3/4” deep. If they’re stacked too high, they’ll steam rather than saute, and the texture will be more like the familiar (and dreaded) soggy Brussels sprouts. If you don’t have a pan large enough, cook them in multiple batches for the first round. It’s okay to have them deeper when you add them back into the pan, since at that point you’re just glazing and re-warming them.
Pine nuts: if you don’t have pine nuts, you can substitute other nuts instead. And if your pine nuts aren’t toasted, it’s easy to do yourself. Cook them in a dry pan over medium-low heat until they’re golden-brown on some sides, about 3 minutes. Stir them or shake the pan frequently so they don’t burn, and keep a close eye on them.
Feta cheese: if you don’t have or like feta, substitute good-quality cheddar. It will work similarly in terms of its role in this recipe, while offering a different flavor.
Balsamic Vinegar: use decent-quality balsamic vinegar for this recipe. With that said, there’s no need to splurge on anything too fancy! Make sure you aren’t using balsamic reduction instead of balsamic vinegar. If you do, you’ll need to cook it with the lemon juice for a much shorter time, because it’s already thick and reduced.
Serving Suggestions for Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Balsamic Vinegar, & Toppings:
Main dishes: these shredded Brussels sprouts are a fantastic side dish, but aren’t hearty enough to be a main course on their own unless you’re craving something light. If you’re vegetarian, I’d recommend serving them alongside a main course involving butternut squash and/or halloumi. If you’re not vegetarian, they go great alongside chicken or salmon.
Looking for something to go with this Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Balsamic Vinegar, Feta, Pine Nuts, & Lemon recipe? Try my Baked Honey Teriyaki Salmon With Melted Leeks!
Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Balsamic Vinegar, Feta, Pine Nuts & Lemon
- 15 medium to large Brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- pinch of chili flakes (optional)
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Trim the Brussels sprouts, removing the stems and the outer leaves. Slice them in half from top to bottom, then into strips across their width to create shreds.
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a pan large enough to hold the shredded Brussels sprouts. Add the salt, Brussels sprouts, and chili flakes (optional). Saute until the shredded Brussels sprouts are softened and brighter green, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan (now empty of Brussels sprouts), add the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until it begins to visibly thicken, about 5 minutes.
- Add the Brussels sprouts back into the pan and stir to thoroughly coat and heat through, about a minute. Transfer to a serving dish and finish with the crumbled feta, pine nuts, and lemon zest.
Want to remember these shredded Brussels sprouts for later? Save the recipe to your favorite Pinterest board!