Lemony Brussels Sprouts

Do you get tired of the same old veggies or preparations and want a fun and interesting vegetable side dish? Lemony Brussels Sprouts make a perfect side dish for any day: 5:2 Fast Days (FDs) or feast days aka non-fast days. Brussels sprouts shine as a delicious and “meaty” side dish or even as a main course star. They’re as tasty with vegetarian pairings as they are meat proteins. They fairly scream, “Spring,” especially when brightened with lemon and fruity, extra virgin olive oil. Join Susie T. of Fast Days Healing Days for a quick cooking tip about blanching and receive a new and exciting vegetable side dish, to boot!



Lemony Brussels Sprouts make a perfect side dish on any day: 5:2 Fast Day or non-fast days!

I’m a foodie. I readily confess this obsession to you, my friends. I love fussy recipes. I love easy recipes. I eat as much with my eyes, sense of smell and hearing as I do with my nose and mouth. Textures thrill me. I heartily engage all 5 senses when working with food. But I appreciate simplicity as much as I do complexity. And often, Occam’s razor is the best…or KISS (keep it simple sweetie).

Cooking with fresh herbs elevates simple and wholesome ingredients–and it helps me KISS. Growing herbs in pots is so simple even my brown-thumb can handle it, successfully. And it’s thrilling to walk out to the patio, snip a bit of this or that, and throw it into the latest meat or veg of the day. The flavors are fantastic and taste so different from dried herbs. And I save money, doing it! Most of my herbs are started right now, from seed. And in a few short weeks are big enough to allow harvesting as needed. If I bought the same amounts in a grocery or farmer’s market, I’d pay $2-3/bunch. Ouch! Fresh herbs make dishes taste new and exciting! And the simplest veggie prep gets made into a fresh perfection through their use.


But how do you bring out the flavor of vegetables? How do you make them tender without turning them into mush? Well that’s where blanching and shocking in ice water comes in. Sounds complicated…but it’s such an easy, reflexive step with practice. Blanching is simply the action of par-cooking (especially tougher veggies) foods in order to open them up for flavor and tenderness. Blanching is simple. Bring a pot of water to boil, throw in a generous palm of kosher or sea salt (no measuring needed) and throw in the cleaned vegetable. Depending on the veg it could take as little as 2 minutes, or as much as 7-8 minutes. Here’s a cool page of information about blanching, and types of blanching, along with common blanching times. (Just a word about asparagus: 2 minutes is the magic time for blanching asparagus—regardless of asparagus thickness.)



Lemony Brussels Sprouts go great with Grilled Lamb Steak for a hearty and comforting FD meal.

While the veggies blanch, pour a glass of ice cubes into a bowl of cold water. Poof! The water bath is ready to quench and quickly chill the veggies. Water baths help “set” veggies vibrant colors. And we’d all rather eat a veggie that’s tender but still has good texture (al dente), bright and beautiful color, one that’s had the cooking stopped before they go mushy, limp and grey—yuck!

Hope you will try out Lemony Brussels Sprouts. It’s an easy and exciting variation on a much-maligned vegetable–Brussels sprouts. You can blanch Brussels sprouts up to 2 days ahead—or at least the night before, to have them ready for a quick 2-3 minutes in a skillet with a splash of olive oil, garlic, fresh thyme and lemon with lemon zest. The lemon zest really adds a punch of intense lemon flavor without the tartness. The easiest way to zest is to use a fine grater called a microplane. I use microplanes for zesting citrus, grating ginger and garlic, finely grating hard cheeses, and grating chocolate.

Consider making Lemony Brussels Sprouts as a side dish with Shamalama Lamb Steak (aka Pan-Roasted of Grilled Lamb Steak) and maybe even a bit of roasted acorn or spaghetti squash. Check back soon the FDHD Meal Plans area for a meal plan featuring these great tasting and nutritious 5:2 Fast Day and intermittent ADF recipes.



Lemony Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 9 minutes

Total Time: 19 minutes

Yield: 4 Servings

Serving Size: 1/4 Recipe (about 4 ounces cooked)

Calories per serving: 99

Lemony Brussels Sprouts

Lemony Brussels Sprouts make a perfect side dish for any day: 5:2 Fast Days (FDs) or feast days aka non-fast days. Brussels sprouts shine as a delicious and "meaty" side dish or even as a main course star. They're as tasty with vegetarian pairings as they are meat proteins. They fairly scream, "Spring," especially when brightened with lemon and fruity, extra virgin olive oil.


1 1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts—about 1 bunch
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 lemon wedges


    Wash and trim 1 bunch of fresh Brussels Sprouts. Blanch in boiling water for 5-7 minutes until sprouts are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Remove and dry well with a clean kitchen towel. Split in half, lengthwise.
    Add olive oil to heavy skillet and heat over medium high. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add sprouts and fresh thyme leaves. Sauté until sprouts are golden. Don't move them around too much in the pan. They will toast better that way. Toss sprouts with lemon zest, kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook 30 more seconds. Serve immediately with a 1/2 a wedge of lemon. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice onto your serving and enjoy.


Veggie recipes just don't get much easier than this, nor do they pack such flavor. They reheat great, too. You could probably do this recipe using frozen (defrost before cooking) Brussels sprouts, but fresh taste much nicer and I think they don't have the bitterness that frozen ones sometimes have.

Split the Brussels sprouts after boiling and blanching to prevent the sprout from breaking apart and losing too many leaves.

Serving Ideas Serve with your favorite protein.

Nutritional Information

Per 1/4 Recipe: 99 Calories; 4g Fat (30.5% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 9g Net Carbohydrate

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If you enjoy vegetarian recipes or want interesting new ideas for side dishes, Mollie Katzen has long been considered one of the gurus of vegetarian cooking and eating slow food, cooked wonderfully–using natural, whole ingredients and organic veggies in all their glory! FDHD highly recommends this cookbook!


Copyright © 2013 Fast Days Healing Days. All rights reserved.

Author: Susie T. Gibbs

SusieT is passionately committed to seeking studies and research detailing the most effective strategies for killing inflammation, boosting health, increasing energy and expanding longevity through nutrition. Seeking health through ancestral principles and making darn good food while traveling along life’s path to better health occupies a key place in her personal food philosophy. SusieT develops recipes and writes about cooking, food, health and nutrition news. Find her latest work in CarbSmart Magazine, a digital magazine from the leaders in low carbohydrate information. A two-year survivor from late stage, hormone-positive breast cancer, SusieT encourages everyone to meet their kitchen and begin a love affair with life and cooking good, clean, nourishing meals. The life you save could be your own. Email SusieT with questions and suggestions for new 5:2 and 4:3 ADF/EOD recipes.

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