The Vegetable Butcher Book Review + Pan-Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Brown Butter and Parmesan

Vegetables hold a special place in my heart. They are the most important (yet often under appreciated) food group and vegetables have such power to nourish and heal our bodies. However, vegetables also tend elude many people.

 How do I prepare this vegetable?

What goes well with it?

Heck, what IS it?

These are questions I often hear and sometimes even end up asking myself.  So, when the book The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini  arrived on my doorstep, I immediately bee-lined it to my couch to ogle her stunningly beautiful pictures and inspiring recipes. I was particularly on the hunt for a Brussels sprouts of the veggies I had yet to master the art of preparing.

The Vegetable Butcher Book Review + Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Parmesan

What I found in The Vegetable Butcher went far beyond your typical cookbook. At first glance, I was so entranced by all the delicious looking pictures that I almost wanted to stick a fork in the pages of the book. But, once I wiped the drool off of my pretty new cookbook, I started to read and discovered that I was in store for so much more than just a few great recipes. Cara goes through vegetables alphabetically, explaining how to select them, store them, and what flavors they pair well with. And while you suddenly feel enlighten and empowered to prepare any of the vegetables that come your way, Cara then goes into to provide her readers with amazing recipes for each vegetable. Some are simple and family-friendly (I loved her cauliflower hummus) and others have more of a gourmet feel and are perfect for a stay-at-home date night, a lovely side at a dinner party, or to bring to a friend's house for a nice potluck. I was sincerely amazed at how useful every page of this book was and how inspired I was to try cooking so many vegetables that had intimidated me prior. 

The Vegetable Butcher Book Review + Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Parmesan

But the true test for me was Brussels sprouts. For most of my life, I have detested those green orbs. We just didn't understand one another. But The Vegetable Butcher definitely changed all that.

The Vegetable Butcher Book Review + Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Parmesan

When I found The Vegetable Butcher's section on Brussels sprouts, I knew that I had to try one of the recipes to see if this cookbook made the cut. Wanting my young daughter and painfully-honest husband to also love the mysterious vegetable, I selected a recipe that seemed easy enough for me to whip up for a weeknight dinner but also included some wonderful flavors that were also family favorites (cheese is our magical ingredient). I discovered Cara's recipe for Pan-Roasted Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Parmesan and knew it was time to get cooking. 

Guys. This is *the* Brussels sprout recipe to cook. For real. It was so easy. So delicious. Absolutely everything I wanted Brussels sprouts to be. In fact, as soon as my husband took a bite, he said they were the best Brussels sprouts he'd ever had. Needless to say, Brussels sprouts are back on our menu and The Vegetable Butcher is being flipped through on the regular to inspire the hefty veggie portion of our daily dinner. 

Cara Mangini, The Vegetable Butcher, and Workman Publishing so generously offered to let me share their *amazing* recipe with all of you.

Actually, they are going to do one better. They offered to let me GIVE two of you all of their recipes! That's right....IT'S A GIVEAWAY **said in a true Opera fashion**

TWO of my awesome email subscribers are going to receive their very own copy of The Vegetable Butcher. To enter, all you have to do is subscribe to my email list. That's it! But don't wait to enter! Winners will be selected at random on Sunday, June 19th, 2016. Sorry folks, giveaway is only open to U.S. residents. 

Okay, now for that recipe.....

The Vegetable Butcher Book Review + Pan-Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Brown Butter and Parmesan

Serves 2 to 4


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt + extra for water
  • black pepper to taste


  1. Drop 1 pound Brussels sprouts in a large pot of boiling salted water, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until they are just tender, 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Drain the sprouts and transfer them to an ice-water bath to cool; drain and transfer to a baking sheet lined with a kitchen towel to absorb excess water.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the sprouts, placing them cut side down in the oil. Cook, undisturbed, over medium-high heat, until the cut sides brown, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons butter, ¼ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper, and continue to cook, tossing the sprouts occasionally, until they are browned and crispy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Adjust salt and pepper if needed, and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste.