I love Brussels sprouts for the same reason I hate them: They're basically tiny cabbages! While that is totally adorable, it also means the vegetable can be a real pain to prep. After all, traditional methods have you slice and dice each sprout one by one, and that can take a lot of time. Not to mention, they're small and round and extremely unwieldily, and almost every time I cook with them, some (or all) of my sprouts slip and slide right onto the kitchen floor.
This was before I discovered a couple Brussels sprouts hacks, though. Now, thanks to a few tips from the web and a bit of my own experimentation (plus, for one of the methods, my handy food processor), I know exactly how to cut my sprouts prep time in half. Whether I want to remove the leaves to use in a pasta or shred the full bulbs for a salad, I rely on two easy methods to help me get the job done twice as fast. Here's what I do to speed up the process, plus a few easy ways to cook with the fall vegetable while it's still in season.
To remove the leaves quickly, put the sprouts in a plastic food storage container with a lid and rapidly shake them up and down.
Some Brussels sprouts recipes will instruct you to remove the outer leaves to use in your food, like this Brussels sprouts carbonara from Bon Appétit. If you do it the old fashioned way and pluck each leaf one by one, things are going to get really tedious really fast. Instead this simple trick developed by Tasting Table will help you get the job done in less than a minute, and when I tried it myself, I ended up with enough Brussels sprouts leaves to make that carbonara.
To do it, start by chopping off the ends of each sprout—this will loosen up the leaves so that they fall off more easily while you shake them. Then, transfer them to a container with a lid (they used two bowls, but food storage containers and salad spinners will both work, and they're way more stable). Close the container and vigorously shake the sprouts up and down until a sizable amount of leaves have fallen off. You may have to pluck a few stragglers from the bulbs that remain, but this trick will take care of most of the work for you. If you still aren't sure how to do it, the video below will show you exactly what you need to do.
To make shredded Brussels sprouts, all you need is a little help from your food processor.
Shredding Brussels sprouts by hand is not only tedious, it's risky. If one of those little bulbs goes flying, you might accidentally cut yourself in the process, especially if you're relatively new in the kitchen. Save yourself stress and time by using your food processor to shred them instead.
There are two ways you can do this and it depends on the kind of food processor you have. If your food processor is fancy and comes with a grating attachment (like this one here), you can push the sprouts through the grater while the machine is running to quickly create thin, delicate ribbons. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, watch the video below.
If your food processor doesn't come with a grating attachment, never fear. You can still totally shred your Brussels sprouts in it, they'll just look a little bit less fancy. To do it, first cut each sprout in half, then add them to your food processor, pulse one or two times, and that's it. Here's how my sprouts turned out when I tried this method.
And that's it! Thanks to these two tricks, I use Brussels sprouts in my cooking way more often than I ever did before.
And now you can, too! Try them out in these easy recipes.
Brussels Sprouts and Pear Grilled Cheese
With a little help from your food processor, your sprouts will be ready to melt into this cheesy sandwich in no time. Get the recipe here.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Farro, and Tuna Salad
You'll probably be eating salads like these way more often from now on. Get the recipe here.
Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts from Bon Appétit
Shake your sprouts to loosen up those leaves for this smoky stir-fry. Get the recipe here.