These kung pao Brussels sprouts are a simple side dish that you can make in 30 minutes. The roasted sprouts are tossed in a tangy and mildly spicy sauce along with peanuts. Note that the sprouts won’t stay crispy once they are tossed with the kung pao sauce. Serve the kung pao Brussels sprouts with a side of jasmine rice!
1 to 1 1/4poundsBrussels sprouts
2teaspoonsdark soy sauce
1tablespoonZhenjiang vinegar, (see note 1)
1tablespoonChinese rice cooking wine, (see note 2)
4dried Chinese dried chilis, sliced (see note 3)
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Position an oven rack to the center position.
Rinse the Brussels sprouts and pat them dry. Trim off the bottoms of the Brussels sprouts and slice them in half. If you are working with very large Brussels sprouts (over 1.5 inches in diameter), quarter them. If you are using very small sprouts (under 1 inch in diameter), you can leave them whole. Transfer the sliced sprouts into a mixing bowl.
Drizzle the olive oil over the sprouts and add a pinch of salt. Toss to coat the Brussels sprouts with the oil.
Spread the Brussels sprouts over the lined baking sheet. I like placing the sprouts cut side down so that they brown more. I also like to gather all the stray leaves into one corner of the sheet pan. I remove the leaves halfway through the roasting so that they don’t burn too much.
Bake the Brussels sprouts for about 22 to 25 minutes. Halfway through baking (about 12 to 13 minutes), check the Brussels sprout leaves. If they have browned considerably, remove them from the pan. If they still look quite green, let them roast for another 2 minutes and check again to see if they’re brown. Remove the leaves from the sheet pan and continue roasting the sprouts for another 10 to 13 minutes.
While the sprouts are baking, prepare the sauce. Add all the ingredients for the sauce into the saucepan. Bring the liquids to boil. In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the cornstarch slurry and add it to the saucepan. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat slightly and let the sauce simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Let it sit while the sprouts finish roasting.
Remove the Brussels sprouts from the oven and transfer them to a bowl. Add the roasted peanuts. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of sauce over the sprouts and toss to coat. Taste a sprout and add more sauce, if necessary. (see note 4 on how to use leftover sauce)
This is also known as Chinkiang vinegar. I like using this type of vinegar for this recipe because it adds malty flavor to the sauce. If you don’t have Zhenjiang vinegar, use rice vinegar or white vinegar.
The wine adds depth of flavor to the sauce. You can substitute this with shaoxing wine (紹興花雕酒/绍兴花雕酒), mirin, another cooking wine, or just leave it out.
You can substitute this with 3/4 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, depending on your desired level of spice.
You can use the remaining sauce for stir fries or to flavor fried rice.