This easy one-pot recipe pairs sautéed brussel sprouts and pancetta with white beans for an Italian-inspired gluten-free dinner. Can be served as a main course or as a side dish for roasted or grilled meats.
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Brussel Sprouts Aren’t Evil
I find it strange sometimes that I crave brussel sprouts. Considering when I was a kid (when most of us were kids), brussel sprouts were evil.
They were the healthy vegetable your mother forced you to eat. For some kids, they were the vegetable that sat on your plate and stared at you when your mother said “you are going to sit there until you finish those vegetables.” The horror.
It’s unfortunate that for many American kids, brussel sprouts were delivered to the grocery store frozen. Moms often steamed them or microwaved them and forced them upon their children. Fights ensued.
How To Prepare Fresh Brussel Sprouts
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I started to love brussel sprouts. Fresh ones, not frozen. Sauteed or roasted. Coated in olive oil. Loads of garlic. Sprinkled with crushed red pepper.
Now, I crave brussel sprouts. When they are in season in Europe, we eat them as much as possible.
More often than not, we cook brussel sprouts as a side dish to pair with roasted or grilled meats. The size of the bag sold by our grocery stores, though, means we end up with a ton of sprouts leftover.
We started to experiment with making the brussel sprouts the main show instead of a side show. This recipe can stand on its own or can be served as a side dish.
Health Benefits Of Brussel Sprouts
There’s a reason why moms wanted us to eat brussel sprouts when we were young. They are pretty healthy.
Brussel sprouts are part of the cabbage family. They contain fiber, protein, and are high in nutrients like Vitamin A and C. They are rich in antioxidants. There’s also a high iron content in brussel sprouts and they contain omega 3 fatty acids.
Did you know? The grammar nerd in me recently found out that the proper way to spell these fabulously healthy vegetables. It’s actually Brussels sprouts, because they come from Brussels. No one seems to spell them that way, so I will go with the common, albeit incorrect way!
Pairing Brussel Sprouts And White Beans
The reason why this particular brussel sprouts dish can stand on its own is due to the addition of white beans. Rather than serving a dinner with pasta or rice to fill us up, I often add white beans as an additional form of protein. The protein from the beans helps to fill us up without adding all the carbs that come from pasta. That’s why brussel sprouts and beans pair so well.
Ingredients For Pancetta, Brussel Sprouts, And White Beans
This is another one of those recipes where I feel like all the ingredients are in the title. Just like our Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Parmesan Pasta With White Beans or our Creamy White Beans With Lemon And Dill.
This recipe is best made with fresh brussel sprouts. Rinse them in a colander. Slice the bottom, or stem, of the sprouts and discard those pieces. Then cut them in half or in quarters.
For this recipe cutting them in half will keep them a bit more whole when they are cooked. Cutting them in quarters will make the dish more leafy as the sprouts will start to fall apart more. They will both taste good, but the presentation is a bit different.
The brussel sprouts are cooked in a bit of olive oil, garlic, pancetta, and just a touch of chicken or vegetable broth. This liquid helps them steam and cook quicker. I used pre-diced pancetta because it’s pretty convenient. Really any cured pork or bacon will do.
I like to use a garlic press so that there aren’t big chunks of garlic in the meal. Try the Zulay stainless steel garlic press, which is easy to use. There’s no need to even peel the garlic ahead of time.
Using canned white beans makes this recipe super quick. They only need to be rinsed in a colander and drained. They are added in at the end just to warm.
A sprinkle of grated or shredded parmesan cheese makes the recipe feel a little more Italian. And some crushed red pepper adds a little heat and a bit of color.
How To Make Brussel Sprouts And Pancetta With White Beans
Warm a small dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook it until it starts to crisp and brown. Remove the pancetta and keep warm. Drain the excess grease.
Add the olive oil and garlic. Cook until the garlic starts to sweat, about 1-2 minutes, but before it browns. Use a wooden spoon to deglaze and scrape the bits of pancetta from the bottom of the pot.
Add the brussel sprouts and vegetable broth and coat in the olive oil. Cook 5-7 minutes or until they start to soften. Add the white beans, crushed red pepper, and the pancetta.
Stir and cook covered for 2-3 minutes or until the white beans are warm. Serve sprinkled with grated or shredded parmesan cheese.
- ¾ of a pound diced pancetta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 pound of brussel sprouts, rinsed and halved
- 1/4 cup of chicken broth
- 1 15 ounce can of white beans, drained and rinsed
- sprinkle of crushed red pepper (optional)
- Grated parmesan cheese for garnish
- Warm a small dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add the pancetta and cook until it starts to crisp and brown. Remove the pancetta and keep warm. Drain the excess grease.
- Add the olive oil and garlic. Cook until the garlic starts to sweat, about 1-2 minutes, but before it browns.
- Use a wooden spoon to deglaze and scrape the bits of pancetta from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the brussel sprouts and vegetable broth and coat in the olive oil. Cook 5-7 minutes or until they start to soften.
- Add the white beans and crushed red pepper if using.
- Add the pancetta. Stir and cook covered for 2-3 minutes or until the white beans are warm.
- Serve sprinkled with grated or shredded parmesan cheese.
This recipe serves two for a main course or four servings as a side dish.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1342Total Fat: 100gSaturated Fat: 35gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 59gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 916mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 21gSugar: 5gProtein: 43g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
Modifications And Variations
I like using pancetta because it feels a little more Italian to me. You can also make brussel sprouts cooked with bacon too. Just chop up the bacon into smaller pieces before cooking.
You can also add some kale to the brussel sprouts to add some more healthy greens. Add them when adding the white beans so they don’t wilt too much.