Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan is a perfect side dish to countless meals. Flavors of parmesan, red chili pepper, lemon, olive oil, all work to balance out bitter brussels sprouts that get perfectly roasted.Jump to Recipe
There are a lot of ways you can mess up roasting brussels sprouts. Trust me, I’ve done it on multiple occasions. I don’t really know how because it's really easy once you come across the right recipe, but believe me that the little details matter when working with these bitter little vegetables.
When embarking on finding the perfect roasted brussels sprouts recipe and failing many times, one has to wonder if that’s where they got their bad reputation for tasting off. They require some love and if you don’t give them love, you taste it. And that taste is like bitter sulfur.
It wasn’t until recently when the popularity and knowledge of how to cook brussels sprouts became popular. It was common long ago for them to just be boiled and seasoned with some salt and pepper. And while you can steam brussels sprouts, to get the same delicious deep flavor that develops with roasting, you need to make up for it with the seasoning.
But without all the extra seasoning, they can be mushy and bitter. Who wants to eat that? Which is a shame because similar to cabbage, you can do so much with them – stir them into casseroles, add them as toppings, toss them in a salad, eat them as a side dish. So don’t count these out!
So how then do you get bitter brussels sprouts to taste like the best thing on your plate?
The big takeaway from this is that Brussels sprouts are bitter. The best way to balance a bitter flavor is to contrast it with something salty, sweet, sour, or fat. And when you look at recipes for this vegetable, or any bitter vegetable for that matter (like kale), there’s a common theme going on. That is, the flavors are being balanced by flavors that are opposing to bitterness.
SALTY – sea salt, bacon, parmesan
SWEET – honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, agave, dried fruits
SOUR – lemon, citrus
FAT – bacon, olive oil
Play with these combinations to see what’s your favorite! You can certainly apply this culinary trick to any kind of bitter vegetable as well. Bitterness is that other flavor that is just as important as the rest, embrace it!
Since I’ve failed in almost all the ways making brussels sprouts, here are some tips to help make sure yours come out fantastic every time.
- DO NOT STACK BRUSSELS SPROUTS. Say it again with me. If you try to dump them all on the sheet pan and not space them out so they’re not overlapping, they will steam. Steaming is cool and all, but it's not what we’re trying to do here. To get them to roast and get that beautiful brown color they need space.
- LIE FACE DOWN. The side that is going to get roasted and brown is mostly going to be the side on the sheet, so face the cut side of all your brussels sprouts face down.
- SEASON TWICE. This actually makes a huge difference. We season them once before going into the oven and then one extra time after coming out of the oven – it seriously adds a huge boost of fresh flavor.
- HIGH TEMP. This might be obvious, but don’t ignore the high temp of the recipe. You absolutely need that for it to roast properly.
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH PARMESAN
The flavors in this recipe use the formula above to work the magic. It includes lemon (sour), parmesan (salty), olive oil (fat), and actually replaces sweet with HEAT (red pepper chili flakes)! I really love this flavor combo and I know you will too.
Brussels sprouts are loaded with so many good things for us. Some notable nutrition facts are its high volumes of Vitamin K, C, & A, large amounts of fiber, minerals, antioxidants, & omega-3 fatty acids! This is why it's so important to be able to cook vegetables so that they taste amazing!
AS ALWAYS, IF YOU MAKE THIS – PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pinch of pepper ground or cracked
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 425.
Cut the ends off each brussels sprout and in half, tossing the root end. Add all the sliced brussels sprouts and loose leaves into a large bowl. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, olive oil, lemon juice, and 2 tbsp of the grated parmesan. Toss to combine.
Pour all the brussels sprouts onto a nonstick baking sheet, turning all the cut halves face side down. Spread out evenly and be sure to not crowd or stack. This will allow the brussels sprouts to char and roast instead of steam.
Roast for 20 minutes. Before serving, season the brussels sprouts one more time with a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp of parmesan.
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