After being away for the long holiday weekend, I came home to a pretty empty refrigerator. I found “almost-dead” Brussels sprouts and grape tomatoes that were starting to turn into raisins…not to mention an overgrown pot of herbs (especially the basil and parsley) out on the deck.

Sounds like the start of a perfect dinner, right?

Actually, it was. The Brussels sprouts looked like new after I peeled away the outer layers. The juiciness of the tomatoes is a playful contrast to the crunchiness of the sprouts. Besides being so tasty, this side dish will add such vibrant color to any meal.

We actually ate it that night as an all-in-one dinner, mixed it into some brown-rice-and-quinoa pasta that I buy at Trader Joe’s (cooks in only three minutes!).

I used a 12-inch cast iron pan to cook the Brussels sprouts—if you don’t already know the joys of cooking in cast iron, you will be amazed at what a difference it makes in the outcome of the food it cooks. And I used a 10-inch stainless steel pan for the tomatoes. You don’t want to cook acidic foods like tomatoes in a regular cast iron pan because the acidity can cause the food to absorb a metallic taste. (Enameled cast iron doesn’t have this problem, but that’s not what I have.)

You can also serve the sprouts and tomatoes separately rather than combining. If you do, mix the herbs into to the tomatoes, perhaps with a splash of red wine vinegar, or just put the herbs into their own bowl and let diners add them individually.


1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil
Onion powder
Salt & pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs—basil, parsley or whatever else you may have. (If you don’t have fresh herbs, sprinkle 1-1/2 teaspoons dried herbs over the tomatoes before you drizzle with oil.)


  1. If necessary, peel outer layer of sprouts and trim stems. Slice each in half (or in quarters to speed up cooking, especially for the larger ones) and put into a prep bowl.
  2. Preheat the pan for the Brussels sprouts on medium heat (4-1/2 out of 10).
  3. Sprinkle sprouts with onion powder (I didn’t measure, just shook) and, if desired, salt and/or pepper (I salted before cooking and we peppered individually afterwards). Then drizzle with olive oil and stir to coat.
  4. Slice tomatoes in half and put into a separate prep bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and stir to coat.
  5. Put the Brussels sprouts into the pan to cook, stirring occasionally, to desired doneness. I cooked mine for about 12 minutes, which gave a nice sear on the outside but kept them crunchy on the inside. (If you like yours on the softer side, microwave the sprouts for two or three minutes before putting them into the pan on the stove.)
  6. Just after you start cooking the sprouts, warm up the tomato pan on medium heat (4 out of 10).
  7. After about five minutes, coat this pan with some olive oil and sauté the garlic for about one minute. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring periodically, for about five minutes.
  8. In a serving bowl, combine cooked Brussels sprouts and tomatoes and stir in the chopped herbs.