By the time we discovered Brussels sprouts could go above and beyond the over-boiled mini cabbages stigmatized in our youth, everyone already had their perfect recipe. In the last year or so, I feel like these lil’ sprouts have become the newly chosen foodie fad. Every up and coming restaurant or food truck seems to have a version of their own Brussels sprouts, whether they’re roasted, flash fried, served with an Asian peanut sauce or drenched in a savory chili concoction.
A while back we were in Long Beach, and we tried a local spot’s Brussels sprouts no less than three different times on our mere five day trip. The monstrous sprouts were flash fried and then tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette/port reduction, grated parmesan, and heaping hunks of salty pancetta, topped with even more dramatic hunks of shaved parmesan. Oh. my. goodness. One night, we each got our own – they were that good. We still talk about them and start salivating. Those sprouts and the Queen Mary are the very best things about Long Beach… Move aside scenic views of the Pacific Ocean – just give me the food and early 20th century history.
We tried making our own version when we got back, but seeing as we don’t have a deep fryer (and desperately do NOT need one), we resorted to using a cast iron with piping hot oil. But it’s just not the same. The sprouts were saturated with oil, and while the first few bites were swoon-worthy, by the end of the meal I felt a thin film of oil cover my entire being.
So meet our current go-to Brussels sprouts recipe. It’s incredibly simple, sans a sauce or any tedious extra steps. We mixed de-stemmed and halved sprouts in a large bowl with freshly chopped onion and garlic, drizzled with olive oil and salt with a few fresh cranks of pepper. Roast those puppies on a high heat on the top rack of your oven and turn them a few times until they’re seriously cooked through, even to a crisp in some spots if that’s what makes your heart happy. While they’re still hot fresh out of the oven, toss them with grated parm, a bit of red wine vinegar, and a generous squeeze of lemon. The result is a highly addictive side dish – or even a main meal.
From time to time we add freshly chopped bacon for an added salty kick or punch of protein. But truth be told, the sour and tart flavors of the vinegar and lemon balance perfectly with the sweet and caramelized flavors of the parm and browned onion. When time allows, I let the sprouts cook extra long in the oven so they reach that level of crunchy texture that could almost mimic a fried one. Veggies should always have the option of being cooked to crunchiness – it takes off the healthy edge and feels dangerously close to a delicious carbohydrate. Yummmm.
What Brussels sprout recipes are on your radar? We’ve tried our hand at quite a few, but we keep running back to the ease and simplicity of these roasted beauties!
Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 24 oz Brussels sprouts
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare the sprouts by chopping off the tough stems and cutting them in half. Discard any rotted or discolored outer leaves.
- In a large bowl, combine the sprouts, diced onion, minced garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Toss well. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet on the top rack of the heated oven. Cook the sprouts for 24 minutes, taking them out and tossing them every 8 minutes or so for an even cook. If you like yours extra crispy, let them cook even longer.
- Once the sprouts are done, place them back into the prep bowl while they are still hot. Add the lemon, red wine vinegar, and parmesan. Toss well and serve warm.