Blue Cheese + Mustard-Buttered Brussels Sprouts

and the secret to a great Thanksgiving menu

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and with it the daunting task of menu planning. There are family favorites and the many new recipes you’ve been thinking about since enjoying them at your favorite restaurants or scanning through photos on the MENUPOLY app. Pretty soon that turkey is buried under an avalanche of sides.

What’s the secret to a great Thanksgiving menu? I’m not going to tell you what kind of stuffing to make because you’re already craving your grandmother’s recipe. Nor am I going to try and sell you on a hot new ingredient like Romanesco (that pointy, green hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower).

Nope, the secret to Thanksgiving dinner is balance. See, the traditional menu includes rich turkey and gravy, starchy mashed potatoes, stuffing and casserole after casserole after casserole. By the time you make it halfway through that heaping plate your palate is crying “uncle!”

The solution? Introduce a few more savory, fresh and tart dishes that will allow you to really enjoy all those hearty favorites. So make your cranberry with just a little less sugar and try a side like sautéed kale with toasted black walnuts and a splash of vinegar or these quickly steamed Brussels sprouts with a blue cheese and mustard butter.

Bonus: you can make the blue cheese and mustard butter well ahead of time so getting  these on the table is as easy as steaming the Brussels sprouts and tossing them with a few thick pats. Happy Thanksgiving!

Blue Cheese + Mustard-Buttered Brussels Sprouts

Serves 6
Use leftover butter with steaks, chicken, green beans, cauliflower, squash…

Jonathan Bardzik cooking Brussels sprouts
Photography by Martha FitzSimon

1-1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1/2 pound butter, softened
4 ounces sharp bleu cheese, softened
2 tbs grainy mustard
1 shallot, finely minced
2 tbs minced parsley
Sherry vinegar


  • Trim bases of Brussels sprouts, cut in half and remove any loose or discolored leaves.
  • Bring a 4 quart pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Blend together butter, bleu cheese, mustard, shallot and parsley using a spatula or food processor. Blend in 1/2 tsp vinegar, a few drops at a time.
  • Add Brussels sprouts to the boiling water. Cook until just crisp-tender. The core should still be very firm. Remove Brussels sprouts from water and toss with 3-4 tbs butter. Season to taste with salt, pepper and an additional splash of vinegar if needed.
  • Roll remaining butter in parchment or plastic wrap and freeze.

Jonathan Bardzik is a storyteller, cook, speaker and author based in Washington, DC. Jonathan believes life can and should be lived well, a goal within reach every single day by preparing a simple meal and sharing it with the people we love. You can find more recipes, videos and Jonathan’s cookbooks at Discover what he’s up to each day by following him on Instagram @JonathanBardzik.

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