The Brussels Sprouts Recipe-Off

The Brussels Sprouts Recipe-Off

On Canadian Thanksgiving, I was invited to a radio interview with Bruce Williams on CFAX to discuss gravy-making, the best potatoes for mashing, my personal pie-threshold, and other important details of the Big Turkey Dinner.

We also discussed Brussels sprouts.

It turns out that Bruce and I are both big fans of Brussels sprouts, and we each think that we have devised the very best way of cooking them. A recipe duel ensued! As we each described our preferred Brussels sprouts cooking methods on air, two things happened:

one) I wondered how the recipes would stack up side by side in a taste testing and

two) several people phoned in to ask if my recipe was on the blog.

My next blog post was born in that instant. I tested the recipes side by side the very next day. (The fact that is has taken me almost a month to write and post the results is a story for another time.)

My method is to parboil halved sprouts, then brown them cut side down in garlic butter. Once they are all browned and nutty, the sprouts are tossed with the remaining garlic butter and roasted walnuts. Crisp garlic is crumbled over the top. So delicious!  I have converted several people from the Brussels sprouts hating camp with this recipe.

Bruce’s method is to cut the sprouts into three or four lengthwise slices, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, roast in one layer on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, then toss the sprouts while they are still warm with some balsamic vinegar. Also sounds pretty good, but garlic and walnuts win out every time, amiright?

Not that I am biased at all.

So, I made each recipe with a pound of sprouts in the same morning and tasted them side by side. Both were fantastic. BUT, even with my bias, I have to admit the Bruce’s Brussels sprouts recipe won out by small margin. Not only did his sprouts taste nutty and bright, they were also much easier and quicker to make than mine. Not that I am repudiating the Fink family sprouts recipe at all, but I might be willing to admit that I *might* use Bruce’s recipe at Christmas. IF my sister will let me (she is exceptionally attached to the garlic-walnut version of things).

Both recipes are included below, to give you a chance to try whichever one suits your fancy. Happy Thanksgiving!

PS – Bruce, this shall not be our last recipe duel.

PPS – BLOG READERS: EXCITING NEWS! Keep a careful eye on the blog over the weekend. A new post is coming soon about the next Great Rancho Vignola Giveaway, with information on where you can find the very best walnuts for this, and other, recipes.


Serves 6 to 12 (depending on how many other side dishes there are and how many sprout-lovers at the table)


  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts (preferably local)
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 5 Tb butter
  • ½ cup local fresh walnut halves
Read the whole recipe on Lip Smacking by Chef Heidi Fink