Growing up, Brussel sprouts weren’t a staple in our house. In fact, they were only served once. Us four kids weren’t impressed by the bowl of boiled Brussel spouts on the table (nor the accompanying smell) so we entered into negotiations with my parents. My dad – apparently not a fan of mom’s boiled Brussel spouts – agreed to our terms. If our dog (who ate everything) refused to eat one, then we didn’t have to finish the serving on our plate. We whooped with delight when our dog promptly spit out the boiled mini-cabbage and walked away into the other room. It would be 15 years before I ate another Brussel sprout.
I can’t remember the exactly place I had roasted Brussel sprouts as an adult but I remember being blown away and thinking “THIS is what they’re supposed to taste like?!? Brussel sprouts and lima beans seem to be the punching bag of the vegetable world. Thankfully, the former appear to be sprouting (hi oh!) in popularity and popping up on menus near and far. Rumor has it that Brussels sprouts hail from the land of Belgium – not surprising given it’s namesake. Food historians believe that the Brussel sprout as we know it were likely cultivated in Ancient Rome and considered to be part of the same species as cabbage. French settlers brought them over to Louisiana in the 18th century and they’ve been the chagrin of many United States children ever since.
Occasionally, our Trader Joe’s will sell Brussel sprouts on the stalk, which is my favorite way to purchase them. However, I picked up this microwavable bag of whole sprouts at Aldi’s the other day. Do NOT microwave them – your kitchen will smell worse than a middle school hallway in June and then you’ll be subjected to eating steamed Brussel sprouts, which is about as much fun as eating boiled cabbage.
I simply slice off the core of the sprout, discard, and then slice each sprout in half. I don’t pay any attention to keeping the individual leaves in tact – it’s all going to the same place.
I then put them on a piece of parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet and drizzle extra virgin olive oil on them and then sprinkle with kosher salt and a bit of pepper.
I then put a light coating of balsamic vinegar in the sprouts. Note – I love vinegar. I adore vinegar. I could eat vinegar with approximately 85% of my meals. Personally, I would add even more vinegar to the sports but my family appreciates a lighter hand. And because I love them, I oblige and then just add extra vinegar to the spouts on my individual plate. Because vinegar is life. Isn’t my husband a lucky man?
I roast the spouts in a 400 degree oven. Our current oven is gas and runs hot so at about 15 minutes, I check them and move them around with a wooden spoon. I then check again 10 minutes later. They can take anywhere from 25-35 minutes to roast, depending on the day. Our family prefers a little bit of a bite with our sprouts so you may want to roast them a bit longer if you prefer a more gentle sprout experience.
The brown crispy leaves? The best part!
So there you have it – our go-to way to roast Brussel sprouts. Sometimes if we’re feeling extra fancy, we will grate fresh parmesan on top or add a squeeze of lemon. But I find that simple is best with Brussel sprouts because their slightly bitter flavor is able to stand on it’s own.