Marks Daily Apple
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1 Dec

Bacon Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Brown-butter vinaigrette and a generous garnish of bacon make this veggie side dish almost as satisfying as a main course. Even so, the overall flavor is surprisingly light refreshing, thanks to the crisp, tender texture of the Brussels sprouts and a generous squirt of lemon.

This recipe uses a quick and efficient cooking method that browns the outside of the sprouts while gently steaming the inside. The trick is leaving the Brussels sprouts undisturbed in a lidded pot on the stove for not much more than five minutes. It’s so much faster than roasting Brussels sprouts in the oven and also prevents the wet-sponge texture that makes overcooked Brussels sprouts so unappealing.

The pungency of the Brussels sprouts is tamed by bacon fat and by vinaigrette made from brown butter and lemon. A generous sprinkle of fresh herbs and more of that bacon top the dish off – light, healthy and decadent all at the same time.

Servings: Four to six

Time in the Kitchen: 30 minutes


  • 1 1/2 pounds of Brussels sprouts, bottom trimmed, cut in half (or cut into quarters if the sprouts are really large) (680 g)
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste (15 ml)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (60 g)
  • Several tablespoons of fresh thyme and/or parsley for garnish (15 to 60 ml)
  • Sea salt to taste


In a wide pot or saute pan with a lid, cook the bacon until crisp.

Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside to cool. Chop the bacon into small bits.

Pour all the bacon fat out of the pan into a bowl. You’ll need four tablespoons total, if you don’t have enough then add olive oil or melted butter.

In the same wide pot or saute pan used to cook the bacon, warm half of the fat over medium heat. Add the shallot to the pan then arrange half of the Brussels sprouts (or as many as you can fit in the pan in one layer) by setting them flat side down.

Put the lid on and cook the sprouts between five to eight minutes. The texture should be slightly crisp but tender (not mushy). They should be deeply browned on one side.

Take the lid off and stir the sprouts, using a flat spatula so you can scrape all the delicious browned bits off the bottom of the pan.

Sauté the sprouts a few minutes more then spoon into a serving bowl.

Cook the remaining sprouts the same way: Add about two tablespoons of fat to the pan, set the sprouts in the pan flat side down in one layer, put on the lid and cook for at least five minutes before removing the lid and sautéing a few minutes more.

While the second batch of sprouts is cooking, put the lemon juice in a small bowl. Next, melt the butter in a pan until it turns golden brown. Butter moves from browned to burned quickly, so be ready to turn off the heat and pour the butter into the bowl with the lemon juice before it gets that far.

Whisk together the butter and lemon juice with a pinch of sea salt.

Pour over the Brussels sprouts.

Top with bacon and herbs. Add more lemon juice and sea salt to taste.

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  1. This is literally my signature side dish, minus the lemon. They are incredible.

    You can also add some toasted pecans to take it to the next level!

    GHEE wrote on December 1st, 2012
    • Delicious! I thought I hated Brussels Sprouts but with bacon and butter, they were gorgeous! (I forgot the lemon juice – must try that next time)

      BF wrote on December 5th, 2012
    • Yum! I made this with ghee. It even got devoured by my husband who hates Brussels sprouts.

      Sarah E wrote on December 14th, 2013
  2. Just bought a bag of Brussel sprouts today….. This recipe looks tempting….. Think ill make it instead of the grilled sprouts I was going to make…..

    Jo wrote on December 1st, 2012
  3. I just bought a branch (is that the right term?) of brussels sprouts on Thursday. This recipe looks great, I just need to run to the store and grab some bacon so that I can give this a try! Brussels sprouts are one of my favoriet vegetables.

    Wayne Atwell wrote on December 1st, 2012
    • Are you really telling us that you dont Have any Bacon availiable at home?! 😛

      emina wrote on December 1st, 2012
  4. Browning butter sounds dangerous, won’t it oxidize?

    Logan wrote on December 1st, 2012
    • Only if you have dairy issues. Otherwise the browning of butter creates a nutty tone.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on December 1st, 2012
    • When I was a child my dad would make brown-butter scrambled eggs. They are the best, especially made in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.

      My only question about the recipe above is why Mark thinks the method suggested is easier than roasting. Nothing is easier than roasting Brussels sprouts.

      Mary wrote on December 2nd, 2012
      • Oops. He said faster not easier. Well, roasting takes only slightly longer and it’s a lot easier.

        Mary wrote on December 2nd, 2012
      • I’d never even heard of roasting sprouts – they’re one of my favourite vegetables so I’m going to be trying both methods.

        My mum always boiled sprouts til they were cooked (she never cooked them into mush though – bluergh – we like our veg crisp).

        Maybe boiling sprouts is a UK thing?

        Primal V wrote on December 4th, 2012
        • No. We boil the crap out of them in the States as well. I hated Brussels sprouts as a kid; in fact, they were the only vegetable I remember disliking. Try them roasted in ghee and sprinkled with coarse salt. So good.

          Mary wrote on December 11th, 2012
    • It is the milk solids that brown, not the fats. Butterfat can take a beating, which is why (and how) you can make ghee or clarified butter.

      So no need to worry about oxidizing unless you burn the fat, which is why timing is important.

      Monkeyman wrote on December 4th, 2012
  5. Sounds yummy. I typically roast sprouts using olive oil, then sprinkle on some balsamic and pine nuts. Very good but this sounds easier and just as good.

    Harry Mossman wrote on December 1st, 2012
    • +1 harry us too!

      mars wrote on December 1st, 2012
  6. This looks delicious. I am anxious to try this cooking method. I roast mine with crushed dried rosemary, olive oil and bacon. I dont cook my bacon before roasting

    cindy wrote on December 1st, 2012
  7. My signature dish is also based on a bacon + brussels sprouts combo, but with only one more ingredient: sauerkraut. I chop the bacon & cook it about halfway in a cast iron pan, then add the sprouts & get them nice & brown. I throw the sauerkraut on for the last 5 minutes, add a sprinkle of salt, and voila! My family knows it as Bowl of Win. =)

    Siren wrote on December 1st, 2012
    • Bowl of Win sounds about right! I usually grill/steam my halved sprouts in bacon fat under a lid, then add parmesan and salt. I’ll have to give this a try because, whaddayaknow, the menu tonight is steak and brussels!

      Ted wrote on December 1st, 2012
  8. Just made exact same thing two days ago! Funny how people use brussel sprouts to describe something bad. “Ugh this tastes as bad as brussel sprouts” Just gotta do em right!

    luke depron wrote on December 1st, 2012
  9. Oh my mum used to overcook them. Now I dont like em but am also so curous to try them out myself. I need courage to spend time on making sth that I might not like in the end. :S

    emina wrote on December 1st, 2012
  10. I made this for dinner tonight as a side to my tri tip roast, and it turned out great. I added toasted and chopped pecans per GHEE’s suggestion, and also added a fistful of golden raisins thrown in at the end. I let them get warm, then tossed everything in the vinaigrette. I didn’t toast the butter nearly as much as the picture though. Don’t care for that burnt butter taste so much. Also had a jalapeno cranberry sauce on the side. Went great with the meat!

    Brad wrote on December 1st, 2012
  11. just bought some fresh baby BS’s yesterday.Can’t wait to try this recipe. Prefect timing…Thank you!

    Stephanie wrote on December 2nd, 2012
  12. You can save yourself a step and just cook them in unsalted butter (omitting the bacon or adding it to the end product if you want) letting the butter brown as the Brussels Sprouts do. Finish them with a squeeze of lemon, or better, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

    Lee wrote on December 3rd, 2012
  13. Made these tonight with some locally-grown sprouts. The whole family thought they were “fantastique!”. Thanks for the recipe.

    Mark Cruden wrote on December 3rd, 2012
  14. I tried it today with some “dicke Rippe” (Pork with bone), the recipe is now available in my Blog either, including a picture of my todays cooking. Perhaps somebody is out there to tell me the English translation for the meat. 😉

    Vollzeitvater wrote on December 4th, 2012
  15. I read this funny blog about Brussels sprouts and bacon! Check it out!

    Erin Davidson wrote on December 4th, 2012
  16. This came out terrific! Had it with some nice beef ribs. Thanks Mark.

    ctroman wrote on December 4th, 2012
  17. made this on monday and I loved it! thanks!!

    Meesha wrote on December 5th, 2012
    • just made it again! I still love it!

      Meesha wrote on December 12th, 2012
  18. Total win! Made these tonight just as the recipe was written, and even my normally brussels sprout hating husband had seconds :-)

    Marianne wrote on December 6th, 2012
  19. Made this for dinner tonight- came out great! Tossed in some sauteed mushrooms as well.

    SJ wrote on December 10th, 2012
  20. Wow, great recipe. I wasn’t sure about the “brown butter” part til I added it. Turned brown right away lol.

    I also used Trader Joe’s applewood smoked bacon. Nitrate free. Best bacon in the world IMO. No, I don’t work for Trader Joe’s but if I weren’t a stay at home Mom I’d sure love to!

    This recipe got an A from my hubby who was in ecstasy as he ate them, and to use the rest of the bacon from the package I made the scallops with bacon! Thank you for all the great posts Mark! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

    Kate wrote on December 12th, 2012
    • This has been a main dish more often than a side for me for years, yet I’d never thought to squirt some lemon on it! Fantastic!

      Tom wrote on December 18th, 2012
  21. I’ve had this recipe in the back of my noggin since it was posted … and today was the day! Made it with sweet onions and mushrooms, and served it with pastured, organic bratwurst, and raw fermented jalapeno sauerkraut. YUM!!

    NMCynthia wrote on February 5th, 2013
  22. I’ve never thought to prepare Brussels sprouts as I’ve always been told they taste horrible.

    Well, this recipe made me want to try some! Absolutely outstanding. I couldn’t get enough and have added Brussels to my weekly shopping list! :)

    Sarah wrote on March 4th, 2013
  23. These were the hit of last night’s Thanksgiving table. The non-Primal relatives were swooning. “These are healthful?” Definitely a door to further converts!

    Naomi wrote on November 29th, 2013

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