It was deceivingly warm for March, which continues to trick the mind into thinking it is already springtime.

The recent snowfall served as a reminder that we still have a ways to go for those crops to grow.

Until then, let’s keep revving up the metabolism with spicy foods and healthy cold-weather vegetables.

Brussels sprouts are one of the hot seasonal vegetables right now. Hammer & Sickle served them with pickled carrots, Pizzeria Lola added roasted squash and onions and I made them with spicy gochujang sauce and water chestnuts.

Remember that Korean pepper paste recipe that I posted a few weeks ago? I ran out of peppers at home and decided to buy a container (Sunchang brand).

While I still liked my homemade mix a bit better, the premade sauce had a unique smokiness to it and offered an earthy flavor.

If you have a pantry of Asian ingredients like sesame oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds, this dish will come together quickly. Serve as a side dish or add tofu or chicken for a hearty meal.

I love cooking everything in coconut oil as it gives a nice tropical essence, but feel free to use peanut or vegetable oil instead.

Spicy Brussels Sprouts
(serves four)

1 tablespoons coconut oil or canola oil, divided
2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 8-oz. can whole water chestnuts, drained and halved
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Sea salt

In a small bowl, whisk together the gochujang, soy sauce and ¼ cup water.

Heat coconut oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add Brussels sprouts and sauce mixture and toss to combine. Cover skillet and cook until Brussels sprouts are bright green, about two minutes.

Add water chestnuts and cook, stirring frequently, until Brussels sprouts are tender and sauce coats the vegetables, about four minutes.

Add a splash of water if the mixture gets too dry. Add sesame oil and toss to combine. Season with sea salt and serve.

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