My husband loves — no, adores — brussels sprouts. I have tried valiantly to learn to enjoy eating these cute cousins of cabbage, but the smell of cooking brussels sprouts never fails to ruin my appetite. Even roasting them with olive oil can’t take the bitter smell away. This September, however, I just couldn’t avoid them any longer.

In an attempt to avoid COVID-19 boredom, I convinced my husband to go apple picking, even though I don’t even like to eat apples much (though I don’t hate them the way I do brussels sprouts). That’s just how bored we were. We came home with a whole peck of apples — four different varieties. Now, what to do with them?

I turned to Google, and was intrigued by a Bavarian apple-sausage hash recipe. German-style apples? With brussels sprouts as a main ingredient — who knew?

I decided to try the recipe, since I had brussels sprouts on hand and had been avoiding cooking them. I didn’t have some of the other ingredients, so got to improvising with what I did have — kielbasa and some Dijon mustard — whatever it took to get rid of the brussels sprouts.

I chopped the onion and began sautéing it while I cut up everything else. As I added the ingredients to the pan, the comforting smell of smoky kielbasa and herb-y, spicy-sweet caraway seeds filled the kitchen. The brussels sprouts turned a brighter green, then wilted slightly. I cooked the hash gently, pausing only to whisk the brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and tangy apple cider vinegar together.

As I poured the mixture over the hash, a lovely sweet-and-sour aroma rose from the pan. I was shocked. The unpleasantly pungent brussels sprouts smell I expected was nowhere to be found. The hash smelled fantastic.

At the table, I carefully took a bite of hash, hoping it wouldn’t taste too much like brussels sprouts. Wow.

The sweet apple flavor combined perfectly with smoky kielbasa. I tasted a hint of onion, and there was just the right amount of the tangy sauce, too. The brussels sprouts — which I had been dreading — added a pleasing crunch, and I couldn’t detect the cabbage-like odor or bitter taste I had been anticipating. It was amazing.

Not only did we fight over the last spoonful, now I’m buying brussels sprouts, a vegetable I once dreaded, every week!


  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 small onion, for about 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 kielbasa (turkey kielbasa is okay)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups thinly sliced brussels sprouts
  • 1 large apple, (Empire, Jonagold, Daybreak Fuji, and other crisp, sweet varieties work well. Avoid Red Delicious.)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


  1. Trim and thinly slice the brussels sprouts, discarding any yellow outer leaves. Peel and chop the onion and the apple. Slice the kielbasa into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick rounds.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add brussels sprouts, sausage, apple, and caraway seeds. Cook until the sausages are lightly browned and the apples are slightly soft, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking.
  4. While the brussels sprouts, apples, and sausage slices are cooking, whisk together the brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and cider vinegar.
  5. Add the vinegar mixture to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce is evenly distributed and warm throughout.
  6. Serve as a one-dish meal or as a hearty side dish.

Nancy Parode is a freelance writer, essay coach, and tutor based in Millersville, Maryland. She writes about wellness, food, travel, wine, and the best ways to combine them all.