Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Figs



Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Figs

Recipes | Sides | 4 Servings | Cooking Time: 30 minutes

By Mark Zuleger-Thyss, Garden of Healing 

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Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Figs are smokey and sweet. Chat up this "pipsqueak cabbage" for their nutritional qualities, then doll them up to serve and eat.


Some people are too picky. So much so that you have to romance certain vegetables for them, as their palate is, can we say, a bit inexperienced.

Brussel sprouts is a vegetable whose nutritional qualities need to be chatted up before they seem fit to entice some people.

Pairing Brussel sprouts with bacon and figs is a combination made in heaven. So are their nutritional benefits. The sprouts alone pack many cancer-fighting phytochemicals in the form of glucosinolates. Brussel sprouts are similar in nutritional quality to broccoli. They are an excellent source of folic acid, vitamins C and K, and beta-carotene.

Use fresh figs, although dried ones are easier to find.

To make this side dish, you might use a food processor for slicing, or you can shred the sprouts yourself. Careful, please! But you can always leave the sprouts whole, yet it's best to slice them in half at the very least.

Smokey, sweet, and autumnal, this recipe for Brussel sprouts is what you need for the pickiest of eaters.



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 to 8 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed
  • 1 cup dried figs, stemmed and quartered
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, ground
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, or more to taste


  1. Put a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, then bacon. Cook, stirring, until it starts to crisp, 5 to 8 minutes.

  2. Put sprouts through in a food processor equipped with a slicing attachment and shred. (You can also do this with a mandolin or a knife.)

  3. Add sprouts, figs, and 1/4 cup water to pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn heat to medium, and cook, undisturbed, until Brussel sprouts and figs are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Turn heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until any remaining water evaporates, another 5 to 10 minutes. Add vinegar, taste, adjust seasoning, and serve.


What are Glucosinolates?

Glucosinolates are sulfur-containing compounds found in cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale have a characteristic bitter taste and pungent aroma. You can find glucosinolates in other edible plants as well. Cabbage (white cabbage and Chinese cabbage), watercress, horseradish, capers, and radishes. The breakdown products often contribute to the distinctive taste of these vegetables. Glucosinolates are also found in the seeds of these plants.



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