Bacon fat sautéed brussels sprouts are semi-braised in a carbonara-esque creamy sauce, and then finished with a sprinkle of crispy bacon. You’ll love how the brussels sprouts act like a sponge so when you bite into them, and all that creamy sauce squirts into your mouth!
This is a handy brussels sprouts side dish that’s made entirely on the stove, freeing up the oven for centrepiece roasts!
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with a creamy sauce!
This is a brussels sprouts version of a green beans dish that I shared a few months ago that’s proven very popular with readers. It’s like an easier, quicker version of Brussels Sprouts cooked gratin-style. Gratins, like say Broccoli Gratin, are made with a béchamel sauce that’s poured over pre-cooked vegetables (typically steamed or braised) and finally baked in a casserole in the oven.
In case you weren’t counting, that involves THREE pots/dishes …
By contrast, this dish all happens in one skillet or pan. It’s also cooked entirely on the stove which makes it a super-handy vegetable side for big feasts where oven space is at a premium.
And, we may as well face it: Brussels sprouts divide people and not everyone is into them. But dress them up in a creamy sauce – AND bacon – it certainly ups the appeal to the detractors out there!!
What goes in sautéed brussels sprouts with this Carbonara-esque sauce
I call it a Carbonara-esque sauce just to give you a clue about what it tastes like – creamy but full of tasty, cheesy parmesan flavours with a hint of garlic. (Yes, yes. I know real Roman carbonara uses eggs and no cream or garlic. I mean American-style creamy carbonara!) Here’s what you need to make this:
- Brussels sprouts – they look like mini-cabbages and sort of taste like them too, but are sweeter. Look for small round ones that are tight, not loose-leafed and scraggly, and without black spots. Sometimes they are more oval shaped – and that’s ok too, nature isn’t perfect!
- Chicken stock / broth – this might seem out of place to you in a dish like this, but actually, it serves two purposes: Firstly, to provide a bit of liquid so we can semi-steam the sprouts to cook them through. And secondly, it adds great flavour to the sauce, especially since it gets reduced and concentrated;
- Cream – because we’re making a creamy sauce here!
- Parmesan – for flavour and also to thicken the sauce. Finely grate your own to ensure it melts properly in the sauce. Do not use the store-bought pre-grated parmesan (you know, that sandy type stuff). It won’t melt at all and you’ll end up with grainy bits in the sauce. If you don’t have parmesan, adding a small dab of Dijon mustard will provide a similar thickening effect;
- Cheese – for a touch of irresistible cheesy goodness (flavour!), and also to thicken the sauce;
- Garlic – ummm … for even more flavour 😂; and
- Bacon – not just to finish with a sprinkle of crispy bacon bits, but also because we use the bacon fat to sauté the Brussels sprouts. It’s SO GOOD!
How to make creamy sautéed brussels sprouts
And here’s how to make it:
- Prepare brussels sprouts – trim the woody ends off, and remove any scraggly / loose outer layers;
- Bacon first – cooked until golden, and also to release the bacon fat which we then use to sauté the brussels sprouts;
- Sauté then semi-steam brussels sprouts – Sauté the sprouts for 3 – 4 minutes until they are lightly coloured on the cut face. Then add the chicken stock and simmer for 5 minutes or so, stirring every now and then, so the brussels sprouts almost finish cooking through (they will cook a little further in the creamy sauce.) They essentially semi-steam but also have the added tasty goodness of the bronzing from sautéing – it’s the best of both worlds!
- Add cream and simmer to reduce, to thicken slightly;
- Add parmesan and cheese and simmer for a minute more so the brussels sprouts absorbs the tasty sauce. Now when you bite into them, the creamy sauce will bursts into your mouth … Mmmm – so good!
- Bacon – finish by sprinkling with the crispy bacon and serve!
What to serve with these brussels sprouts
When coming up with menus and pairings, I like to think in terms of contrasts. So with a creamy and cheesy side like this, you want a main that isn’t creamy, with an opposite or different flavour profile.
Any roasts would also make great partners. Marinated Roast Beef or Slow Cooker Pork Loin, say. Or perhaps you fancy Crispy Crackling Roast Pork or Roast Chicken? Of course it’d be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table with turkey!
But really, almost any Western main dish is going go together great with dish. Go wild … and convert those sprout-haters!
— Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Brussels Sprouts in Creamy Carbonara Sauce – with bacon!
- 150g/ 5oz bacon , chopped (use streaky, not lean)
- 750g/1 1/2 lb brussels sprouts (Note 1)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves , finely minced
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock / broth , low sodium (Note 2)
- 1 cup cream , heavy/thickened (Note 3)
- 1/2 cup parmesan , finely grated (best to grate your own)
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or any other melting cheese
- Prepare brussels sprouts: Trim the woody end off, halve, then remove scraggly and loose outer layers.
- Cook bacon: Place bacon in cold non stick skillet, then turn the stove on medium high (Note 4). Cook bacon for 2 to 3 minutes until golden, then remove with a slotted spoon.
- Reserve some fat: Discard excess bacon fat, leaving behind 2 tablespoons (or so). If you're short, add a dab of butter or olive oil.
- Sauté brussels: Add brussels sprouts and cook for 3 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the cut face becomes light golden.
- Add garlic, salt and pepper, then keep sautéing for another 1 minute or until the cut face become golden.
- Braise in stock: Add chicken stock then lower heat to medium and simmer for 4 – 5 minutes, stirring every now and then to encourage even cooking, until the brussels are almost cooked through (check with a knife). Don't let them cook through completely – we will be simmering a little more.
- Add cream and stir. Simmer for 2 minutes to reduce.
- Add parmesan and cheese. Stir until melted, then simmer for a further 1 minute to to let the sauce thicken more and for the brussels sprouts to finish cooking through. (Note 5 on sauce thickness)
- Check for salt: Taste and add more salt if needed (I usually find it doesn't need any more.)
- Sprinkle with bacon: Transfer to serving bowl, sprinkle with cooked bacon and serve hot!
Life of Dozer
Dozer looking dapper for the Melbourne Cup, the horse race that stops the nation!!!