Kid-Friendly Brussels Sprouts Recipe

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Your next flavor-loaded side dish is here! Fresh, healthy Brussels sprouts, crispy chopped bacon, and sweet chewy cranberries combine for a veggie side that kids love. Seconds, please!

brussels sprouts with bacon and cranberries in a serving dish

Did you know kids can LOVE Brussels sprouts? Not just tolerate them, or like them… but really love them, in that “Can I have more please?” way that you thought was only reserved for mac and cheese.

If that seems far-fetched, then you’ve come to the right recipe. Because these Brussels sprouts are the ones that can turn it all around. These cutie cabbages have crispy, garlic-buttery exteriors, tender-crisp interiors, and and two accompaniments almost everyone loves: crispy bacon and sweet chewy cranberries.

You’ll find that this recipe comes together very very quickly, especially if you can manage to squirrel away a couple of slices of cooked bacon ahead of time. So you can saute up these sprouts any old weeknight to serve alongside simple chicken, rice, or pasta. With its bright red and green colors, this recipe impresses as a holiday side dish, too.

One tip to remember: Brussels sprouts come into season in the fall and taste their freshest during the chilly winter months. (Sometimes you can even find them at the store attached to their two-foot long stalk! Trader Joe’s sells them like this. Plus ten points on the fun scale.)

close up of brussels sprouts with bacon and dried cranberries

What Makes Brussels Sprouts So Good for You?

Brussels sprouts belong to the family of cruciferous vegetables (others include broccoli, kale, and cabbage,) and this is a super high-achieving family when it comes to nutrition.

These veggies are rich in fiber, Vitamin K for healthy bones, and Vitamin C for a strong immune system. The antioxidants in Brussels sprouts may calm inflammation in our cells and evenprevent cancer.

Like other cruciferous veggies, Brussels sprouts help maintain healthy blood sugar. Eating lots of them lowers your risk of developing diabetes.

Brussels sprouts also happen to be one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, an important nutrient that’s usually found in fish.

golden brown brussels sprouts with bacon

A Veggie Side Dish Made for Picky Eaters

What makes this recipe such a powerful weapon against kids’ dinnertime nose-scrunching? We’ve taken three ingredients with loads of kid appeal, and built them into one healthy side dish.

Crispy pieces of bacon? Check. Sweetened dried cranberries? Check. Good old fashioned butter? Totally checkin’ that box too.

Encourage your kids to try a bite that has a little bit of everything in it at the same time (you might need to cut up their sprouts for younger kids.)

And remember this other tip to help your kids move towards greater food acceptance skills: let your kids see YOU love these Brussels sprouts. Talk about the different tastes and textures of the dish, and compare the food to something they might have tried and liked before.

spoon scooping out brussels sprouts with bacon and cranberries

Tips for Cooking Perfect Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts can seem intimidating if you’re not used to cooking them. You might be thinking, OK, got the mini cabbages in my fridge, now what?

Even though Brussels sprouts are fairly easy to cook, there’s a little bit of technique required to really coax out the best tastes and textures from this veggie. (Ever tried the dreaded olive-drab spheres of mush also known as steam-table Brussels sprouts? Then you know why cooking them properly is important.)

Here’s a list of techniques and trouble-shooting tips to help you become a pro at cooking this tasty winter veg:

  • Give your sprouts enough room to spread out in the pan. You don’t want to overcrowd them, or else some sprouts won’t get those nice caramelized edges you’re going for.
  • Don’t discard outer leaves that fall off when you’re slicing the sprouts. Some of the most delightful bites of well-cooked Brussels sprouts are the crispy individual leaves that break off the heads. So toss those babies right in the pan. (If you really love crispy sprout leaves, you’ve gotta try Brussels Sprout Chips.)
  • Keep the heat on the lower side. Brussels sprouts actually have a fairly high carb content for a veggie, so they brown quickly on the outsides. Keep the heat medium-low to prevent over-browning.
  • Test your sprouts for tenderness before you serve. Sometimes this veggie can look perfectly golden-brown on the outside, but the heat from the pan hasn’t penetrated into the center, and it’ll be too tough and crunchy to bite into. Test one with a fork to make sure. And if they’re not…
  • Don’t be afraid to braise. To quickly tenderize Brussels sprouts that just aren’t getting the hint, add just a tablespoon or two of water to the pan, and cover for one or two minutes. That hit of steam often does the trick.
delicious brussels sprouts cooked with bacon

More Love for Brussels Sprouts

If this recipe is a hit for your family, try these other tasty recipes featuring this delicious veggie:

Perfectly Crunchy Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Salmon with Gingered Brussels sprouts

Kid Friendly Brussels Sprouts | Healthy Recipes and Ideas for Kids

Kid-Friendly Brussels Sprouts Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Kid-Friendly Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons bacon pieces
  • 1 tablespoon dried cranberries

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic salt.
  • Add Brussels sprouts to the pan and saute over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until tender on the inside and a brilliant green hue.
  • Add bacon and craisins and saute for 1 more minute.
  • Serve warm.
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22 Comments

You’re in Utah, right? Have you been to Eva in downtown SLC at 300 S and Main? We went there 3 times when we were in town a few weeks ago. They have the best brussels sprouts dish. I recreated it tonight and it still tasted great. Here’s a recipe https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CDkQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffox13now.com%2F2012%2F04%2F02%2Fsauteed-brussel-sprouts-with-toasted-hazelnuts-and-cider-vinegar-04-02-12%2F&ei=4AvFUqujMceHogSGgoHICQ&usg=AFQjCNFtCqrgSJy6UHflIlkuJZhkaKjWbQ&sig2=ZJfbhl7ECWNE_1uCpJ0f9w&bvm=bv.58187178,d.cGU

If you add a tablespoon of water in the initial mix and then cover them in foil for 10 minutes and then uncover them for the final 10 minutes, the interiors are softened, i.e., cooked, just a little more.

Help – what did I do wrong? The sauce mixture tasted awesome, but once I put it all in the oven, it ended up burning to a crisp before even 15 minutes was up. The sauce mixture was bubbly and black and the cranberries were charred. 🙁 It was supposed to cook at 450 for 15-20 minutes, right? I can tell that this will be a great recipe – just not sure if I should reduce the cook time or the temperature? Thoughts?

Darn! The first thing I would try is turning the temperature down. It is possible that your oven cooks hotter than others. Try 400-425. The other thing to try is what another reader suggested – for the first 10 minutes cover in foil and then uncover for the next 10 minutes. Good luck and I hope they turn out!

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I heave learned it is very unhealthy to cook or heat honey and never cook with olive oil that high. It’s cancer causing. We should only use refined oils at that high of a temp. Also, another recipe you posted said to peal a cucumber. That is where most of the nutrition is. I’m sorry to be so negative, but I waste a lot of hours looking for new recipies and most of them are not that healthy.

This is a fantastic recipe. I hate brussels sprouts. Really hate them. The last time I ate them, I was 8 years old and I vomited them up all at the table. However, now I have a child and I need to teach him to eat properly. So together we made this recipe… and we *both* loved it. Me as well. I went up for seconds. This is my go-to recipe from now on for brussels sprouts.


I loved this recipe and think my kids will to but would love to have the nutrition information listed if possible. I added some red pepper flakes to add a little kick.

I’m cofused…sone of the comments revert to cooking this in the oven, but the recipe does not say to do this. Also, I assume the bacon pieces need to be cooked? Thank you for your help…making this tonight!

Hi Cara! We’ve updated this recipe because we found a way to make it easier and yummier. So the directions once involved the oven, but now you can do it all in the skillet. 🙂 And yup, the bacon should be cooked before you add it to the sprouts.


I made this recipe as written in the skillet and it was SO good. I added more bacon and craisins than it called for…:)