Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Better-for-You Brussels Spouts Gratin and Roasted Sesame Brussels Spouts (Podcast #167)

Brussels Sprouts Gratin gets a healthy makeover with a “cream sauce” made with low-fat milk.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin via #makeover #holiday #casserole #sidedish

Turkeys don’t fly (or at least not the ones you cook for Thanksgiving) but time sure does. It seems like just yesterday we were whipping up sweet potato casseroles and cranberry sauce for our Turkey-Day dinners. This year, we’ve turned our culinary attention to Brussels sprouts. This cancer-fighting cruciferous vegetable is the perfect holiday side dish; it’s nutritious and versatile, and well, perfect for any day of the year.

Brussels Sprouts on a stalk via

On this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we feature two new Brussels sprouts creations. First up is our Better-for-You Brussels Spouts Gratin, a makeover of a cream-laden recipe that one of our Facebook fans asked us to make over. Next up is a recipe for Roasted Sesame Brussels Spouts, which was sent to us by Mindy from The World in My Kitchen. On the show, we also kvell (hey, it’s better than kvetch) over a few other delicious-looking dishes: Brussels Spouts Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts from Alison Lewis at Ingredients Inc., Balsamic Roasted Brussels Spouts with Apples from Regan at The Professional Palate, and Brussels Sprouts Salad from Gluten-Free Girl.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin via #makeover #holiday #casserole #sidedish

Janice’s friends own a farm in western, MA and they gave us two lovely stalks of Brussels sprouts for our week of recipe testing.

Click the play button below for our Brussels Spouts podcast show.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin via #casserole #thanksgiving

Our Facebook fan, Danica, asked us to give a recipe for Brussels Sprouts Gratin from a makeover. In Danica’s words, “Please, oh please, make it over!” The original recipe called for 2½ cups of heavy cream and half-and-half combined as well as 1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese and a teaspoon of salt. When we crunched the nutrition numbers, we were not surprised that each serving had 400 calories, 18 grams of saturated fat (that’s nearly a day’s worth), and over 800 milligrams of sodium.

Better-for-You Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Makes 8 Servings

The secret to our healthy makeover is the roux made with EVOO, just 1 tablespoon of butter, flour, and 1% low-fat milk. We kept the original 4 ounces of lean prosciutto for flavor and depth. The Brussels sprouts come out soft and tender … they literally melt in your mouth.

  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel off any damaged outer layers of Brussels sprouts. Trim the stem to make it flush. Cut small sprouts in half and larger ones into quarters lengthwise. Keep a bit of the core attached.

2. Heat the oil and butter in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the prosciutto and sauté , stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden, about 1 minute. Stir in the Brussels sprouts and stir continuously for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add the flour and continue stirring for 2 minutes. Stir in the milk and sherry, raise the heat, and bring to low boil (keep stirring). Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid thickens and reduces by about a third, 7 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, pepper, nutmeg, and salt. Transfer to an oven-proof casserole dish. Cover with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the Brussels spouts are tender and the top turns golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 200 calories, 10g fat (4g saturated, 0.3g omega-3), 620mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 13g protein, 25% vitamin A, 130% vitamin C, 25% calcium, 10% iron

Print Recipe

Brussels Sprouts Gratin via #casserole #thanksgiving

Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. Vitamin K is important for healthy bones as well as normal blood clotting.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts via

The ingredients for Roasted Sesame Brussels sprouts are pretty basic: Brussels sprouts, toasted sesame oil, kosher salt, and pepper. So easy!

Roasted Sesame Brussels Sprouts via #makeover #holiday #casserole #sidedish

We love this recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts. If you prefer your sprouts very tender, we suggest you place them in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 2 minutes in the microwave before placing in the oven.

Roasted Sesame Brussels Spouts

Makes 3 Servings (total yield 1 1/3 cups)

We sent out a tweet on Twitter asking our followers to share their favorite Brussels sprouts recipes. Here’s a recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts that got tweeted back. We cooked it up today and made a few minor tweaks (that’s tweaks not tweets). Adapted from the blog, The World in My Kitchen

  • 1/2 pound large Brussels sprouts (about 11 sprouts)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1. Remove any wilted or loose leaves from the Brussels sprouts. Rinse and dry them. Quarter them so that each piece still has a bit of the core attached. Place in a bowl and toss with the sesame oil. If there’s not enough oil to coat them lightly but evenly, add a little more. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. When the Brussels sprouts are done marinating, sprinkle with the salt and a few cranks of pepper. Spread the the sprouts in one layer on a baking sheet or in a stoneware baking dish. Place in the oven until the sprouts start to brown and caramelize a bit, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn them over about half-way through. Drizzle with a tiny bit of sesame oil and serve hot.

Nutrition Information per Serving (about 1/2 cup): 70 calories, 5g fat (0.5g saturated), 110mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g protein, 10% vitamin A, 80% vitamin C

Print Recipe

Roasted Brussels Sprouts via

Brussels spouts stalks … minus the sprouts! Thank goodness our intern, Sara, was here today to help us harvest our crop 🙂

Do you have a favorite Brussels sprouts recipe? We’d love to hear about it, so feel free to share a link or description on this post.

14 responses to “Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Better-for-You Brussels Spouts Gratin and Roasted Sesame Brussels Spouts (Podcast #167)”

  1. I am terribly, terribly impressed with your harvest. Wow.

    And the bowl of roasted Brussels sprouts makes me want to jump right in now. Yum.

    Thanks for including a link to my recipe. Much appreciated!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you both.

  2. Mindy says:

    I’m so glad you liked the roasted Brussels sprouts! I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the only way my husband will eat one of my favorite vegetables! 🙂 Thanks for the link!

  3. jo says:

    I love brussels sprouts and so do my kids. Would love to try the gratin but I am vegan. What milk would you suggest to use instead. I usually use rice milk but not sure if its the best for these kinds of recipes. thanks.

  4. Janice says:

    Hi Jo, we have not tried with recipe with rice milk or soy milk but you could sure try it. You could use all evoo and leave out the butter. What do you use as a substitute for Parmesan? Would love if you would post results here for others who are vegan and want to try the recipe. Let us know!

  5. Heather Kufeldt says:

    Hello, I have made this recipe many times and it is on the food network site and is called “Screaming Heads”. Probably screaming from so much fat! Nice work!

  6. Anna says:

    do you think this could be made a day ahead of time?

    • Liz says:

      Hi Anna: Last year, I prepped the Brussels sprouts (i.e. cutting) the day before and organized all of my ingredients. I cooked/assembled on Thanksgiving. I don’t see why you couldn’t make it a day ahead of time. The day of, I’d suggest re-heating part-way in the microwave and then covering w/ foil and finishing off in the oven. If you make it a day ahead, let us know how it works out. I’m making this recipe again this year along with our sweet potato casserole! Enjoy 🙂

  7. Amber says:

    Is there another substitute for sherry? I know the the bottle of “cooking sherry” is a no no right?

  8. Sandi says:

    I made this casserole and it was the hit of thanksgiving! Can’t wait to make it again!

  9. Yvona Fast says:

    I reduced the fat even more and used just 2 T butter. I love evoo but it has a low smoke point so i don’t like using it in dishes that go in the oven like this one.

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