If Thanksgiving is synonymous with turkey, Christmas is with a wide range of meat options such as stuffed chicken roast, beef tenderloin, prime rib and the like. Now, whether you plan an over-indulgent, high-on-meat, traditional menu, or a semi-healthy full-course meal, or even better – a totally paleo-friendly/vegan or gluten-free holiday lunch/dinner, the side dishes are the real deal. After all, that is what makes the whole holiday meal an extravagant affair. So if you are waiting for a side dish recommendation this year that will balance out the otherwise meat-dense holiday, it has to be the classic roasted Brussels sprouts – a highly controversial and universally disputed Christmas delicacy.
Brussels Sprouts: A bitter-sweet love saga
Brussels sprouts are a vegetable that divides families on dinner tables. If cruciferous vegetables were a family, Brussels sprouts would be the long lost cousin that nobody likes. For most people, this vegetable ends up getting scraped off to the side of the plate, doomed to be eventually trashed in the bin. Those who hate it, attribute their stark dislike towards this vegetable to its bitter taste. This taste is caused when high amounts of compounds, known as glucosinolates, contained in the sprouts are metabolized in the body. Love them or hate them, you cannot deny that they are one of the healthiest vegetables you will ever lay your hands on. Brussels sprouts contain kaempferol and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which may reduce inflammation, boost immunity, improve heart health and repair tissues among other things. So how do we make them interesting? Let us find out.
How to Make Roasted Brussels Sprouts?
Preparing roasted Brussels sprouts is no mean feat. To make roasted Brussels sprouts, you first clip and cut the vegetable, and then toss them in salt, pepper, ( in some cases sugar) and olive oil in a large bowl. This way the sprouts get evenly immersed in oil, which later ensures uniformity in their roasting. You can use any other oil of your choice if you want, but olive oil and avocado oil are, by and large, the most commonly used oils because of their distinct and subtle flavors. You can also try squeezing lemon juice as it helps to enhance the flavor of the vegetable.
How to Roast the Brussels Sprouts
Following is the step-by-step procedure to roast Brussels sprouts. This way you will know what to do or not to do to get the perfect crispy Brussels sprouts.
- Brussels sprouts, when cooked, can get mushy and soggy. The trick is to make them deliciously crispy, richly caramelized, and almost sweet. So the best way to do so is by roasting them in the oven.
- While you can roast Brussels sprouts as a whole, it is convenient to cut them in half. To do so, trim off the bottom of the tough stem of each of the sprouts. If you come across any yellow or damaged leaves, remove them and cut each of the sprouts in half, lengthwise.
- They should be evenly coated with olive oil and seasonings which usually include salt, pepper, lemon, and sometimes, sugar or parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, and garlic.
- Ensure there is some spacing between the Brussels sprouts as they are placed onto a rimmed sheet pan, with the cut side facing down.
- For easy cleanup, use a parchment paper to place the Brussels sprouts. However, this is an optional step. Some like to skip this procedure and put them directly on the roasting tray.
- Ensure that the temperature of the oven is adjusted to 400 °F. This step is vital as it ensures perfectly crisp Brussels sprouts in the end. Roast them for not more than 25-30 minutes until you get a slightly charred and crisp exterior and moderately tender texture in the center.
Recipe for Crispy and Caramelized Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Let us look at the detailed procedure to make crispy and caramelized roasted Brussels sprouts.
Delicious Crispy, Caramelized Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 2-3 lbs fresh green Brussels sprouts
- 3/4-1 tsp of salt
- 1/4-1/2 tsp of freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- Any optional flavor additions as per your choice in the quantity you prefer
- To make roasted Brussels sprouts, first and foremost, preheat the oven to 400 °F and place the rack in the upper third of your oven.
- Thereafter, take the Brussels sprouts in the aforementioned quantity and trim them in the edges and cut each of them into half at the center. Place them in a mixing bowl. Use the spatula to toss the Brussels sprouts with olive oil so that it spreads evenly among them. This will ensure them to uniformly roast and brown, once put in the oven. Before putting it in the oven, season the sprouts properly with salt, pepper, and lemon or any of the optional seasoning ingredients that you want such as cheese, herbs (of your choice), vinegar or garlic.
- Once done, spread them out on a sheet pan, with the cut side facing down. Ensure that they are evenly spaced out so that they get uniformly cooked in the oven.
- Allow the Brussels sprouts to roast for 25-30 minutes until they are perfectly tender on the inside and browned and caramelized on the outside as well as the edges.
- If you are not too happy with the crispiness of the sprouts, you can place them again on the oven floor and allow them to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until they turn brown. Ensure that the Brussels sprouts don't get burnt in the bargain.
- They are best had when they are served hot! Enjoy! Should there be any leftovers, you can use them in salads and sandwiches. You can also use them as toppings on pizzas. Additionally, they can be added to portions of pasta. You can make your own version of Brussels Sprouts Mac and Cheese!
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