This Brussels sprouts leaves recipe makes great use of parts of the plant that might end up on a compost pile or in the trash can.
Brussels sprouts leaves (AKA tops) are not sold in stores. You get them by growing the plants themselves.
The leaves that are used for this recipe are the ones that grow at the top of the plant over the small Brussels sprouts themselves.
They are much larger and are cooked like any other green.
Are Brussels sprouts leaves edible?
Many readers of the blog often as this question. Fortunately, for those who hate to discard any growing part of a vegetable, the answer is yes.
We’ve likely all seen an entire stem of Brussels sprouts at the store. However even in this presentation, the leaves are missing.
As the stalk of the Brussels sprouts plant grows, the leaves form a head at the top of the plant. They look a lot like a very loose head of cabbage.
These Brussels sprouts leaves ( also called Brussels sprouts tops) are edible and are just as flavorful as the sprouts themselves.
If you don’t grow the vegetable itself, you may be lucky enough to find some Brussels sprouts leaves at your local Farmer’s Market.
While a Brussels sprout is made up of tiny leaves, and these could surely be used in my recipe, I am actually intending the recipe for the larger leaves of the Brussels sprouts tops.
How are Brussels sprouts tops used in recipes?
The leaves of Brussels sprouts plants are used in the same way as collard greens, cabbage leaves or kale.
While very similar to collard greens in look, Brussels sprouts leaves are much more tender, so they require less cooking time.
Shred the leaves and used them in salads. Steam them and add them to a stir-fry recipe. You can even add them to a green smoothie for an extra healthy kick.
My favorite way to use Brussels sprouts leaves in by sautéing them, which is how we’ll be using them for this tasty recipe.
Brussels sprouts – a cool weather crop
Brussels sprouts are a cool weather crop. Here in North Carolina, the time to harvest them is in early spring or late fall.
My vegetable garden is producing well right now, so I have lots of Brussels sprouts leaves to use in my recipe, along with garlic and another easy to grow vegetable – the onion.
All three vegetables taste delightful with bacon, so using them together allows me to use up even more of my plentiful harvest.
Brussels sprouts leaves recipe – a tasty Thanksgiving side dish
Sautéed Brussels sprouts leaves have the texture and consistency of collard greens but have a taste that is more similar to kale.
When harvesting leaves for the recipe, choose the smaller, more tender leaves. They have the best flavor and are sweeter.
The largest leaves which have been growing the longest can taste more bitter as they age, so they should be avoided.
Pick leaves that are less than 4 inches in diameter for the best taste.
Making the Brussels sprouts tops recipe
I like to bake my bacon in the oven for this dish. Cooking it this way removes a lot of the fat.
This makes for an overall less calorie rich dish while still leaving all the lovely bacon flavor.
The sautéed Brussels sprouts recipe takes only 30 minutes to prepare and you can be cooking the rest of the recipe while the bacon is baking.
Dice the bacon into smallish pieces when it is cooked.
While the bacon is cooking, add olive oil to a pan and dice the onion and cook till it is translucent. When the onion is cooked, add the garlic.
Vegetable stock comes next and then the brussels sprouts leaves are added. Cook the ingredients with the lid on so that the Brussels sprouts leaves will steam.
Finish off the recipe with red pepper flakes for a spicy kick and some lemon juice to add brightness.
Continue cooking until the leaves are soft with a little bit of crunch left. (this took me about 30 minutes over low heat.)
Remove from heat and stir in a small splash of red wine vinegar and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Add the chopped bacon and serve the dish hot.
Pin this Brussels sprouts leaves recipe
For a reminder of this sautéed Brussels sprout tops recipe with bacon, just pin this image to one of your cooking boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.
Nutritional information for this Brussels sprouts recipe with bacon
Brussels sprouts leaves are a cruciferous vegetable – and a member of the Brassicaceae family. Other members of this family are broccoli, kale, and cabbage. They are packed with nutrition and a great disease-fighting vegetable.
The leaves are low in calories and rich in potassium, anti-oxidants and have a large amount of Vitamin C & K. They are also a good source of daily fiber.
This recipe for Brussels sprouts leaves serves four with about 2 cups for each serving. The recipe has 119 calories and 7.5 grams of fat, 1.6 grams of sugar and is high in protein.
The Brussels sprouts leaves taste amazing. They are tender and still have a nice crunch and are beautifully flavored with the garlic and bacon. They make a great side dish that will go along with any protein.
Have you ever used the leaves of brussels sprouts in cooking? If so, how do you prepare them? Please leave your comments below.
Admin note: This recipe for sautéed Brussels sprouts leaves first appeared on the blog in April of 2013. I have updated the post to add new photos, a printable recipe card with nutritional information and a video for you to enjoy.
- 8-9 cups of Brussels sprout leaves, rinsed thoroughly
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 3 slices of bacon.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup of vegetable stock
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Lemon zest
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- A splash of red wine vinegar (to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F, and cook the bacon for 15 minutes on a rack. Cool and dice.
- Add the olive oil to a pan and saute the diced onion until slightly translucent.
- Once the onions start to turn translucent, add the garlic and continue to cook until the onions are soft and the garlic is slightly browned.
- Add the vegetable stock to the pan and bring it to a simmer.
- Add the Brussels sprouts leaves to the pan and cover the pan with a lid, allowing the leaves to be steamed .
- Once the leaves have slightly wilted down, add the pinch of red pepper flakes and the lemon zest.
- Continue to saute the ingredients together, stirring occasionally until they reach the texture/consistency you desire (I prefer mine to be soft, with just a slight bit of crunch. I cook mine on low heat about 30 minutes.)
- Remove from heat and stir in a small splash of red wine vinegar and lemon juice.
- Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the diced bacon.
- Serve hot.
Serving Size:1/4 of the recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 7.5gSaturated Fat: 1.5gUnsaturated Fat: 5.6gCholesterol: 7.5mgSodium: 786.4mgCarbohydrates: 8.2gFiber: 2.8gSugar: 1.6gProtein: 5.6g