Brussels sprouts Gjelina

Before it was a Los Angeles hotspot, Gjelina was a casual neighborhood joint in Venice, serving up creative, vegetable-intensive food to live on – like this smoky, sweet brussels sprouts dish with bacon, dates and a splash of vinegar. From the Gjelina cookbook.


  • 3 ounces (85 g) bacon (2-3 thick-cut slices), cut into 1/4-inch wide matchsticks
  • 1 pound (500 g) brussels sprouts, cut ends trimmed and halved through the stem end (or quartered if they are very large)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) soft dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar


  1. Heat a large cast-iron frying pan over medium-high heat, and cook the bacon until it has rendered most of its fat but is still juicy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove bacon to a dish, leaving the fat, and add brussels sprouts to the pan, turning as many sprouts cut-side down as possible. Resist the urge to shake the pan or turn the sprouts, and let them sear until well-charred and beginning to blacken, about 4-6 minutes.
  3. Flip the sprout halves and season with salt and pepper. Add the dates and bacon to the pan and stir well. Add the stock (or water) to the pan, a little at a time, using a spoon to smash the dates into the sauce. Once the dates are incorporated into the sauce, add the vinegar.
  4. Cook another minute or two until the sauce is thick enough to coat the brussels sprouts, without being reduced too much (add a little more water if you need to loosen it up). The sprouts should be bright green and somewhat firm inside, but tender to the bite. Check seasoning; the sprouts should be well salted and peppered.
  5. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve warm.

Serves 4 as a side dish.


  • Balsamic vinegar is also nice if you don’t have red wine vinegar.
  • The book has a mismatched measurement for the dates (1/4 cup vs 85 grams, which is more like 1/2 cup). The lower amount seems sufficiently sweet here, but as with any recipe feel free to adjust to taste.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.