Boiled Brussels Sprouts with Grapefruit Salad Dressing

Boiled Brussels Sprouts with Grapefruit Salad Dressing Recipe

Cooking Brussel sprouts can be a chore, especially if you roast them. So today since I was running out of time, I simply boiled and mixed them warm with a grapefruit salad dressing. For garnish I added freshly-cut grapefruit segments and sunflower seeds.

Boiled vegetables can be delicious if seasoned and paired with a flavorful sauce. Just look for a few fresh, complementary ingredients before deciding on a particular flavor route.


Yields: 6 servings

2 grapefruits
1 pound Brussels sprouts (about 2 dozen)
2 tablespoons sweet basil leaves, chopped
¼ teaspoon ground fennel
¼ teaspoon sea salt (or regular salt)
¼ teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Little reminder on how to segment grapefruit-citrus: Peel the fruit and divide it in half. Remove the membrane wall on one side around a segment. Apply a little pressure on the segment with a paring knife to separate the segment along the next membrane (use the knife as a separator). Free the segment and gently pull it away from the fruit, removing all the membrane. Repeat and remove the rest of the segments. Separate each segment into 2-3 pieces. This technique releases and spills less juice. Transfer the segments with as much as juice as possible into the bowl. Season with salt and white pepper. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Toss well until all the ingredients are coated with the oil. Set aside.

For the grapefruit salad dressing:

Gather all the broken, unappealing segment pieces of grapefruit in a large strainer. Using a pestle or a large spatula, strain as much juice as possible. Be sure to remove and discard any pulp or solid. Place the grapefruit juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer for about 5-6 minutes. The liquid should reduce to about 2 tablespoons of concentrated grapefruit juice. Remove from the heat. Add agave nectar, ground fennel and mustard. Whisk in the olive oil immediately while the juice is still hot. Set aside.

Prepping the Brussels sprouts:

Trim the ends of the Brussels sprouts. Using a parin gknife, make a deep criss-cross incision at the bottom of the vegetables. That way the vegetable still holds together and is cooked through.

Place them in a small pot and cover with just enough cold water to barely cover the vegetables. Bring to a full boil then lower the heat to medium-high. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain and remove as much liquid as possible. Transfer to an iced bath. Drain one more time, then transfer to another pot filled with boiling salted water. Cook for an additional 20-25 minutes until softened (but not falling apart). Drain them.

Assembly time:

To check the doneness of the Brussels sprouts, a paring knife should cut them easily, without mashing them. Cut the Brussels sprouts into quarters. Season them with salt and pepper. Place them in a large servings bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the warm vegetables. Toss well. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Garnish with the reserved grapefruit segments, sunflower seeds and sweet basil.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Bon appétit!


Boiling the Brussels sprouts helps to make them more digestible.

Agave nectar is a natural sweetener. You can find it in specialty stores such as Whole Foods and in many regular grocery stores. In France, it's called agave honey. Unlike honey, agave nectar has a long shelf life and does not crystallize over time. Agave nectar is made out of the purified sap of cactus-like desert plants. If you can't find it, you could use palm sugar (you can buy this in Asian stores, at Costco or Trader Joe's), honey or granulated sugar.

Did you know? Brussels sprouts and grapefruit are thought to prevent people from having strokes.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on September 20, 2012.


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