Easy Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprouts
I don’t know about you, but the last couple of weeks have been busy ones. We’ve been hard at work over here between work and other day to day responsibilities. Anyone else feel like you somehow have less time during the summer months?
Regardless, I’ve got a quick and easy recipe here for you! It’s converted even the most hardened of brussel sprouts haters (aka me) into liking this weird little veggie.
Now, maybe it’s because I always had sprouts that had been boiled to a sad mushy death but brussel sprouts have never been a hit in my book. I honestly didn’t realize they were supposed to have a bit of a crunch to them. Again, always boiled to death.
And never any flavor either! I can’t stand bland food. I am a firm believer that food should be spiced and delicious and not sad and boring.
This philosophy is a huge reason why I always encourage people to shake up a recipe. Play around with those forgotten spices in the back of your pantry and see what tickles your fancy! Salt and pepper are great to have as a backbone, but they can’t be the only spices you ever use. So, with that in mind, get creative!
With that in mind, I’ve been out to improve recipes I hated as a kid.
Why? I don’t know, honestly. Maybe for the challenge, maybe to prove to myself that it wasn’t as vile of a food as I always thought? Who knows.
Either way, I’ve slowly learned how to transform those bland, mushy brussel sprouts of my childhood. Also, because I hate having to turn on the oven for longer than necessary, I cheated a bit there too. I was surprised just how easy these came together, which is another win in my book!
So first off, I’ll be the first to say this:
I too, stood staring at that weird lumpy stalk in the grocery store. Awkwardly long and too big to fit in one bag, I didn’t know what to do with it. Then, like a smart person, I thought to look and see if they had any bagged up that had already been removed from the stalk (stem?). Turns out, they did and it was less expensive. Also, they’re in the frozen veggie section if you want to go that route.
I sliced my brussel sprouts in half because I wanted the insides to get crunchy. You can leave them whole- completely up to you. I just find them more manageable when they’re sliced! I tossed mine with some salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder before spreading them evenly over the baking sheet. Drizzle your favorite balsamic vinegar over the top and your sprouts are ready to go!
You can also totally omit the balsamic vinegar and go with a nice olive oil if you’re really watching your carbs/sugar. It’s a fairly small amount we’re using, so I didn’t worry too much, but you do you.
Next up, take your bacon and a cooling rack that fits the length of your baking sheet. I know, you’re wondering why on earth I’m telling you to use a cooling rack with bacon. Stick with me!
If your rack is about the same length and width as your baking tray, plop that bad boy on top of your brussel sprout pile. Lay your bacon across the rack and slide the whole thing into the oven. I normally use leftover bacon grease in my roasted veggies anyways, so this was just simplifying things- at least in my book.
The idea is- in my head- that as the bacon cooks, it drips that goodness onto the brussel sprouts below, adding that extra bit of flavor. Then, once everything was done and roasted to my liking, I chopped up my cooked bacon and tossed it and the roasted sprouts into a big bowl to serve with dinner.
Guys, it helped change my view on this formerly gross vegetable.
Bacon makes everything better, but I really did have my doubts here. Never fear though, between the bacon and the sweet tang of the balsamic vinegar, these should be able to convert even the most ardent sprout hater.
Even, if they don’t 100% drool over them, they’ll probably admit that they taste better than they expected. That’s a win in my eyes!
All in all, this was a pretty quick and easy way to make a delicious side for dinner and I’ll happily keep experimenting with them. Isn’t that the goal? To keep trying new foods and improving where we can?
What are your favorite ways to cook brussel sprouts?
Until next time,
- 1.5 lbs brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 5-6 slices thick cut bacon
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder (or to taste)
- 1 tsp garlic powder (or to taste)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F
- Place your trimmed and halved sprouts in a bowl. Drizzle balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder and mix until well coated. Add more vinegar if you feel it needs it at this point.
- Spread brussel sprout halves evenly over a lined baking tray. Place cooling rack over the top of the sprouts and place slices of bacon on the rack.
- Place your tray in the oven, preferably on the center oven rack. Roast for roughly 30 minutes, shaking the pan gently every 7-8 minutes or so for browning and to prevent burning. Check in the last five minutes for doneness. Sprouts should be soft, but still have a slight firmness to them.
- When done, remove cooling tray with bacon and slice bacon into bite sized pieces. Mix together the roasted sprouts and sliced bacon in a bowl. Add more salt or pepper as needed and serve immediately.
- Notes: Some ovens cook faster than others- mine tends to be on the slower side so I've given my best guess as to an adjustment. Keep an eye on the sprouts near the end and reduce heat or remove from the oven if yours cooks quicker.