My little cabbage might be a French term of endearment, but many people are not in love with the little mini-cabbages called Brussels sprouts…until they have them oven roasted. Roasting brings out the wonderful, nutty flavor of Brussels sprouts and turns many into fans. Best, it takes about 18 minutes to roast them. Brussels sprouts are terrific with roast chicken, roast turkey or as part of a vegetarian dinner. They are also a great side dish for upcoming holiday feasts.
Brussels sprouts are a wonderful vegetable, so it has always amazed me how much people dislike them. My guess is they’ve had them overcooked, which makes them gray and strong tasting. Cooked like that I wouldn’t eat them either! Roasting Brussels sprouts is a great technique for several reasons. It’s easy, its hands-off, which allows you to focus on other tasks, and it caramelizes them, bringing out their nutty flavor.
So What Are Brussels Sprouts?
Nutritionally, Brussels sprouts are a member of the same family as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower – the brassica or cruciferous family of vegetables. They deliver vitamin C, soluble fiber and have cancer-fighting properties, so Brussels sprouts are a good thing to add to your diet. And like many vegetables, you just have to find a way to cook them so that they taste good to you.
How To Buy Brussels Sprouts
When buying Brussels sprouts, I go for the medium to larger size. Choose bright green heads with no brown or withered edges. The heads should feel firm and fairly hard, not soft, and have no yellow or black spots (often signs of age or mold).
I prefer to buy loose Brussels sprouts (versus packages) so I can choose them individually for size and freshness. I don’t buy the stalks, because the sprouts are all different sizes. Different sizes mean some will roast faster than others. Consistent size means consistent roasting and even results.
How to Prep Brussels Sprouts
To prep your Brussels sprouts, trim off the root end with a sharp paring knife. Peel off any loose or discolored leaves. Cut them in half top to bottom. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and lay them flat, cut side down. Drizzle with oil, seasonings and fresh thyme, then roast. In my convection oven it takes about 18 minutes. As ovens vary, check yours a minute or two before then and continue if needed. The Brussels sprouts will be browned and tender when pierced with a sharp paring knife.
To serve, sprinkle with pine nuts, lemon zest or a drizzle of Balsamic syrup to bring out their sweetness. A little Parmesan is good too.
Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
- salt, pepper and granulated garlic
- Optional garnishes: Balsamic syrup, lemon zest, toasted pine nutes, fresh chopped chives, grated Parmesan cheese
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a half-sheet sized rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Trim the root end off of each Brussels sprout. Peel of any damaged outer leaves, the cut them in half, top to bottom. Place them cut side down on the baking sheet. When all are ready, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, a little granulated garlic and the fresh thyme leaves.
- Roast until browned and tender when pierced with a sharp paring knife, about 18 minutes. Timing will vary depending on your ovens and the size of the sprouts.
Serve drizzled with Balsamic syrup, sprinkled with lemon zest, toasted pine nuts, or grated Parmesan
If desired, serve along side mashed potatoes
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