This Brussels Sprouts au Gratin recipe is low carb at its best — creamy, rich, and just a little bit smoky from bacon and a little kick of chipotle. You can even assemble it up to two days ahead of time and bake it just before serving.
Honestly, when you think about it, the low carb lifestyle is great during the holidays. If you are low fat or low calorie you have to give up all of the rich sauces, gooey and cheesy dishes, and buttery yumminess that low carb allows. I this side dish for Thanksgiving and everyone (except the Brussels Sprouts haters) loved it and didn’t realize it was low carb until I said something. Even then they didn’t care they just went back for more.
Fresh Brussels sprouts are cooked, drained, tossed with bacon then covered with a gooey, creamy cheese sauce that has been infused with chipotle and guijillo chiles. Bake it for 30 minutes and it’s ready to go.
If you are not familiar with guijillo chiles you should be. They are a dried chile pepper with a mild heat and a fruity flavor. Think of raisins with a kick. They add depth and complexity to almost anything you put them in. The chipotle adds smokiness and just a little more heat but nothing that you can’t handle. It’s all wrapped up and balanced by the cheese sauce.
This sauce is made by simmering the chiles in the cream while it reduces. When you take the chiles out the flavor remains. Just whisk in the cream cheese and add grated cheddar, stirring until smooth. Taste it and add a pinch of chipotle powder if you want more heat. That’s it. It just doesn’t get easier than that.
You can also assemble this Brussels sprouts au gratin recipe a day ahead of time. Just cover it and refrigerate until just before you are ready to bake it. I suppose you could microwave the dish if you need to but it does tend to cause the sauce to break and become oily.
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Here in Texas it is pretty easy to get big bags of dried chiles of various kinds. If you can’t find them at your store you can get them on Amazon.
Brussels Sprouts au Gratin
- 2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts trimmed and cleaned
- 3 slices bacon
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 dried guijillo chile
- 1 dried chipotle chile
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 2 cups grated cheddar or pepperjack
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch of chipotle powder if desired
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or pepperjack
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Cook the Brussels sprouts in salted water until tender.
- Fry the bacon until crisp.
- Remove bacon from the pan.
- Add the onion and cook until transparent and tender.
- Remove the onion from the pan.
- Add the cream and the chiles to the same pan.
- Simmer slowly, uncovered, until the cream is reduced to about 3/4 cup.
- Remove the chiles.
- Add the cream cheese and stir until the mixture is smooth.
- Whisk in the grated cheese and garlic powder until the mixture is smooth and well blended.
- Taste, adjust the salt, and add the chipotle powder if desired.
- Add the Brussels sprouts, onion, and bacon to a casserole dish or 13x9-inch baking pan.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the top and stir to combine well.
- Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the top.
- Bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until heated through and the sauce is bubbling.
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