Countdown to Christmas: How to make awesome Brussels sprouts

Loretta Gillespie

Over the next several days leading up to Christmas, Tribune columnist Loretta Gillespie will be sharing Christmas tips with our readers. They will include recipes, craft projects, unique home decorating ideas and more.


Brussels sprouts are ridiculously cheap so it makes good sense to adapt them into recipes that really work.

Every time I think about them I remember the story my Aunt Ruthie told about taking my grandmother to the grocery store in town for the first time. She was awed by the whole experience, but when she spied the Brussels sprouts she immediately became very curious about what she called “those tiny little bitty cabbages.”

Aside from being so cute, Brussels sprouts are good for you, too. The problem is, sometimes they look better than they taste.

That being said, I went about cooking them in a different manner this time, just to experiment a little, and they turned out better than I had even expected.

This recipe evolved as I went along, adding, tasting and adjusting. The flavor is incredible, the sprouts themselves are easy to prepare and cook and the dish is colorful and appetizing. You can add your own touches, or leave off any of the extra vegetables, but the color that they give is as important as the flavor. We eat first with our eyes.  

The prep work is simple; wash and trim any yellowing leaves from Brussels sprouts. Chop off the stem, then cut the sprouts in half, lengthwise.

Sauté the halved sprouts in butter and/or bacon drippings.  


  • 10- 20 small Brussels sprouts
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 8-10 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • One can whole kernel corn, drained
  • One small onion, minced
  • One garlic clove, thinly sliced, or garlic salt, to taste
  • 3/4 stick butter and/or 2 tablespoon bacon drippings
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits or chopped bacon
  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Cajun seasoning (e.g. Slap Ya’ Mama), to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Peel off any yellowing leaves from the Brussels sprouts. Wash them thoroughly.
  2. Remove stems. Cut sprouts in half lengthwise.
  3. Heat butter and/or bacon drippings in a large non-stick pan with a lid.
  4. Add Brussels sprouts, soy sauce and water. Cook and stir until liquid ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Add garlic, onions, carrots, red bell pepper and onion.
  6. Cover and cook over low heat until carrots and Brussels sprouts are fork tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Incorporate seasonings as you go, making sure not to overdo it!   


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