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Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts

Sometimes real food meals are time consuming. But as you’ll notice my tagline “Balancing real food & real life” isn’t just something I’m plop on to my website; it’s something I live by.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I think we can all agree:

Convenience is everything.

So when I only have 10 minutes to make a meal (and I don’t have any leftovers to heat up), this is a go-to dish.

Just three ingredients and you’ve made culinary magic.

If you’re cooking for a crowd, I’d recommend my recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts, since those are quicker to prep in large quantities (less chopping).

But if it’s just you or one other person, sliced Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts are the way to go (10 min to cook vs. 40 min+).

Tips for Preparing Brussels Sprouts:

When preparing Brussels sprouts, slice off the teeniest bit from the stem end, then remove discolored outer leaves (if any). If some loose, but fresh-looking leaves come off, you can still eat those!

Some people cut off almost half o’ the sprout. That’s not only wasteful but when you cut too much, your sprouts won’t stay together in the pan. If you buy them fresh on the stalk you don’t even need to trim the ends. #endfoodwasterant

Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts

  • ½ lb Brussels sprouts
  • 2 Tbsp butter (ideally from grass-fed cows)
  • sea salt (~½ teaspoon, depending on your taste)


  1. Cut Brussels sprouts, lengthwise, into ¼ inch slices
  2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium or medium high heat. (Why cast iron?
  3. Once hot, add butter, then Brussels sprouts in a single layer. Be sure not to crowd the pan, otherwise your Brussels sprouts won't caramelize or cook evenly.
  4. Cook for 1 to 3 minutes until lightly browned.
  5. Flip your sprouts to brown the other side. Let cook for one minute.
  6. Add a sprinkle of salt and with your lid ready to go, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Immediately put the lid on the pan and let the Brussels sprouts steam until the water evaporates.
  7. These are done when fork-tender. If you’re unable to pierce with a fork, add another tablespoon of water, return the lid, and let them cook for another minute or so.
  8. Serve.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: Be careful not to burn Brussels sprouts. Although caramelization brings out the flavor, burnt Brussels sprouts can taste a bit fishy.

You may add any herbs and spices that you like, but I’m telling you, salt & butter are a winning combination on their own.

Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts
Cook in a single layer.
Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts
Getting nicely caramelized.
Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts
Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts make a delicious side dish.
Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts
Up close and personal. Let me wipe that drool off my face. Yum!

Make it a Meal

To turn this into a meal, simply add some leftover meat or poultry from the night before, quickly sear some salmon (in the same pan after your sprouts are done), or maybe some sliced-up sausage.

If you feel good eating more carbs at your meals, consider some roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash (or serve this with a yummy dessert, like Maple Pots de Creme!).

What would you serve with these Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts? Tell me in the comments below.

Until next week,

PS – Non-starchy veggies, like Brussels Sprouts, are a key part of a balanced gestational diabetes diet.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed and want to learn how simple it can be to manage gestational diabetes with real food, I invite you to attend my upcoming webinar:

“5 Tips to Get Control of Your Gestational Diabetes” on Wednesday, April 22nd at 5pm Pacific Time.

You’ll learn:

  • what it means to have gestational diabetes
  • why managing blood sugar levels during pregnancy matters
  • top 5 things you can do to control your blood sugar
  • which delicious foods keep your blood sugar stable, naturally
  • …and much more in this hour-long, info-packed webinar

Sign up for the FREE gestational diabetes training here!

Veggies: Eat them because you want to, not because you have to

Your guide to making vegetables taste seriously good

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Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.


Leave a comment
  1. I love cooked brussel sprouts! They taste amazing with some marinara sauce!

    • Ooh, that sounds yummy, Cassie. 🙂

  2. Yum! I think I’d eat them all on their own to be honest 🙂

    • 100% on board with that, Adrianne. They make a pretty tasty snack!

  3. I love cooking with veg and being creative, but sometimes the simpler the better, yum!

    • Yeah Caroline, sometimes it’s nice to get back to basics and let the flavor of the veggies shine. This “recipe” (if you can even call it that) is all about technique, but you can easily pump up the volume with a balsamic reduction, a Thai-style sauce, or some fresh herbs.

  4. I have totally been inspired by brussels sprouts lately and love the ease of this recipe. Truffle salt would be excellent as a replacement for sea salt.

    • GOOD CALL, Maisie!

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