Perfect Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I get strange looks when I tell people that Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables. This recipe for Perfect Brussels Sprouts can make even the biggest Brussels sprouts hater rethink their stance.

Brussels sprouts have been the victims of a smear campaign. Somehow they got a reputation as one of the worst vegetables on the planet. It’s so unfair! Brussels sprouts are delicious. They’re incredibly nutritious too. I’m not entirely sure what the source of their bad reputation is. Maybe it’s becuase most people are introduced to the frozen, boxed version of Brussels sprouts. Maybe it’s because the art of cooking these tasty little nutrition-packed bites was lost for a few decades in the twentieth century. Whatever the reason, if you think you hate Brussels sprouts, it’s time to give them another try.

It is absolutely critical that fresh Brussels sprouts are used for this recipe. Frozen boxes of Brussels sprouts have their place, they work really well in Brussels sprouts casseroles and gratins, but they aren’t good for roasting.

Cleaning and trimming makes all the difference in the taste of a Brussels sprouts dish. When you first look at them, you’ll notice they look a lot like little heads of cabbage, and in some sense, that’s not far off — they’re from the same family of vegetables as cabbage.

Trimming Brussels sprouts.

You will need to trim the stems just a bit to take off any browned or dry area. Usually just a sliver taken off the end will do the trick, though you may need to cut a bit more. This may cause a few leaves to fall off, but that’s fine, you’ll generally need to pull off an outer leaf or two anyway. Peel off any loose leaves, any leaves with marks, and any leaves with brown or yellow discoloration. You want to reveal the bright white and green leaves below.

Perfect Roasted Brussels Sprouts

4 from 2 votes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or other sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400° F (205° C).
  • Wash and trim Brussels sprouts. Trim off end of stem and remove any loose or yellowing leaves, or any leaves with blemishes until only tight, clean inner leaves remain.
  • Place Brussels sprouts in large baking or casserole dish, or sheet pan — ensure pan is large enough to allow sprouts to rest in single layer on bottom. Pour extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic salt over Brussels sprouts. Toss Brussels sprouts to coat and distribute oil and seasonings thoroughly.
  • Place in preheated oven. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until leaves are partially browned and leaves have loosened a bit with crisp areas. For best results, stir Brussels sprouts once or twice during cooking.

Notes

  • Brussels sprouts must be fresh for this dish, not frozen.
  • If your local supermarket or farmer’s market offers pre-trimmed Brussels sprouts, you can buy those and skip the trimming step.
  • Garlic salt may be substituted with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and an extra pinch or two of kosher salt.

This recipe is very simple, and because of that it’s success rests largely on cooking technique. The good news is, the cooking technique is fairly simple and easy, and something even a beginning cook should be more than capable of turning out a great pan of Brussels sprouts.

Brussels sprouts in single layer in baking dish.

My first technique tip is that you must not overcrowd your baking dish or baking sheet. The Brussels sprouts must lie in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. This allows the Brussels sprouts to brown against the pan, creating the simple caramelized flavor that makes the dish sing. If your pan is too small to allow the Brussels sprouts to lie in a single, unstacked layer, simply use a second pan and split the sprouts between the two so they are not overcrowded.

The second tecnique tip is that you stir the sprouts at least once, if not twice while baking. This allows different sides of the sprouts to rest against the bottom of the pan and create that delicious browned flavor.

I like to serve Perfect Brussels Sprouts with roasted or grilled meats. For holidays and special occasions, I sometimes sprinkle with bacon pieces.

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