Pan-fried cinnamon & thyme Brussels sprouts


Are you a Brussels sprouts hater? I’m guessing that many of you are.

I’m not. But then I’ve never been subjected to over-boiled Brussels.

So how did I escape the boiled Brussels? I’m from Fiji. Brussels sprouts don’t grow in a tropical climate. And after we moved to Australia, I escaped them again — because my parents weren’t familiar with the sprouts, they never cooked them. Thus, thankfully, my childhood never got scarred by boiled, mushy sprouts. Unlike many of you, it seems.

I didn’t realise how bad the loathing was for this (yummy) vegetable until I came across two recent instances:

A girlfriend, whom I do my weekly shop at the markets with, really wanted to give them a try — she had never had Brussels sprouts since her (scarred) childhood. Jacq was so nervous about buying them, that it took a few visits to the market before she decided to give them a go. You can read what happened here.

The other instance was through someone I know via social media. She had taken some pics of Brussels sprouts on Instagram, saying that she was “trying to be adventurous” and needed some recipes to make them yummy.

So why even bother with this vegetable? Well, Brussels sprouts belong to the Brassica family, along with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages and kale. Brassicas contain sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anticancer properties. Apparently boiling reduces the level of the anticancer compounds in Brasiccas, but steaming and stir frying do not seem to cause significant loss. Another reason not to boil these beautiful babies!

I’ve made Brussels sprouts a few times. I think of them as baby cabbages (they look like it, don’t they?), and find them rather delicious. When steamed or stir-fried, they have a slightly sweet, nutty taste.

So after hearing about all the abhorring that’s going on for this mistreated vegetable, I thought I’d post up a simple, yet delicious recipe.



  • 280 g (about 2 cups) Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) ghee or coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 3–4 sprigs fresh thyme (use sprig if soft, otherwise leaves only)
  • sea salt, to taste

Wash sprouts, trim the ends and halve lengthwise. If your sprouts are large-ish, cut them into quarters. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a fry pan (that has a lid) over medium heat. Add garlic, turmeric, cinnamon and chilli, then add the sprouts and thyme almost immediately so that the garlic doesn’t burn.

Season and sauté over low heat for about 10 minutes with the lid partly on, or until cooked through (soft, but still firm enough to hold their shape). You will need to stir continually, so the sprouts don’t catch on the pan.

Adjust seasoning, and enjoy as a side to any meal. I had mine with dhal, basmati rice and beetroot raita.

For more delicious Brussels sprouts recipes, check out 101cookbooks.

Do you love or hate Brussels sprouts? Please share in the comments below. And if you have a quick easy recipe, also add that in. If you hate them, why not try out this recipe or others mentioned in this post? Then report back here on your experience. Go on. You may just get converted. 

Have a happy , healthy weekend,

Lesh xx

26 thoughts on “Pan-fried cinnamon & thyme Brussels sprouts”

  1. thank you! i needed this recipe. last time i bought brussel sprouts, they just sat in the freezer for months. this gives me an excuse to try again

  2. I LOVE brussel sprouts, always have done – even when boiled! Recipe sound yummy, might just have to make it tonight. Thanks

  3. Oh yum! I recently discovered the joy of roasting and sauteing Brussels sprouts and they are like candy in my mouth – delicious! I’ve just done them so far with some EVOO, sea salt and cracked pepper but this looks so good 🙂

  4. I’m currently eating brussels sprouts roasted in the oven after tossing them with coconut oil, panch phora, and black sea salt, at least three times a week. SO GOOD.

  5. We were served the horrid boiled brussel sprouts as kids and always tried to find inventive ways to hide them – my sister once stuffed it inside an unwanted roast potato! But recently having read how nutritious they are I have started adding them to my repertoire and I have to agree – when not boiled they are really cool little vegies! I hadn’t thought of using cinnamon though so will certainly try it!

  6. great info! i used to ALWAYS boil brussel sprouts before doing anything else with them! i will have to follow your recipe next time ! thank u love

  7. Yum!
    I have a standard recipe I use to cook brussel sprouts – I slightly steam them, then heat some ghee in a pan and add spices* then saute the sprouts for a minute or two before adding fresh lime juice and a good handful of fresh parsely. * I use the maharishi Ayurveda Vata and a touch of Kapha churnas for the spice.
    Thanks Lesh.

    1. That sounds delicious, Danielle! I like the idea of slightly steaming before pan frying with ghee & spices. Tell me more about this Ayurveda Vata & Kapha churna spices – what’s in them and where do you buy them from? Thanks x

  8. Great share. I don’t fully agree, though. You can have good Brussels sprouts when boiled. The secret of that is: don’t boil too long. Anyway, I mostly stir-fry them with a bit of shallots, garlic, chopped chilis and cashews. Then add a bit of Indonesian soy-sauce and serve with rice.
    Oh, and our dog LOVES Brussels sprouts. Raw, boiled, makes no difference to him.

    1. Ha! Perhaps I should’ve said “don’t boil the crap out of them!”. 🙂

      Love the sound of your stir-fried version. And yes, my dog would almost eat anything too, including boiled brussels!

      Thanks for visiting, Arjan.

  9. We are brussel sprout lovers here! My kids, ages 9 and 11 love them and all I have ever done is saute them in some butter and salt and serve them as a side. Their friends at school think they are crazy but I teach my kids that most ingredients that are hated are disliked because they just have not been cooked properly in the first place. Overcooked, soggy smelly brussel sprouts will taste awful every time, but cooked the right way, yummo! I think a bit of bacon tossed through at brekkie with an egg would be yummy also or some pine nuts and some balsamic would be nice additions also.

  10. I also love brussel sprouts and have always had them saute’d with butter and bacon and salt n pepper of course yummy.

  11. Roasting is the best. Sometimes they can be bitter, my mom taught me to peel off the loose outside layers, those leaves can bitter, and the remaining is sweeter.

  12. I’m the same – never had brussel sprouts as a kid (I’m from Qld?) and then started cooking them myself and quite liked them. I do a frying-sauteeing thing – half them and put them in a hot frying pan with a shallow amount of chicken stock. Say half a centimetre, not so much as to cover the sprouts but just to soak their bases, give them some flavour and produce some steam. It helps to buy ‘younger’/smaller/greener/fresher ones that aren’t so bitter to start with.

  13. I love to roast them in a hot oven, varying the fats, from olive oil, grape seed oil and coconut oils, sometimes even butter. Garlic and onion, salt and peppers of various sorts, depending what I have on hand.

    My mother always made them by roasting them in the last hour of so of roasting a turkey, into the pan drippings, to carmelize and get that roasted flavour. It is a family tradition, now and forever more.


  14. My favorite way to cook Brussels sprouts is to toss them in a little olive oil and a generous amount of black pepper, and then roast them in a 450º oven for 45 minutes or so. They come out caramelized and tasting like candy. I will probably try your recipe, for something different. However, I will confess that I am leery of trying most recipes for Brussels sprouts because I hate the boiled ones so much – to me they always come out bitter. Thanks for posting this.

  15. oh my goodness– I’ve been literally looking (and talking about) this recipe for years!! I am thrilled to have found it again!!

Leave a Reply to Lesh@TheMindfulFoodie Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s