Yesterday was October 1st, and I turned the young age of 31. For some reason having a birthday that lands on the first of the month always catches me by surprise. My reaction mostly is, “How is it October already?” Besides adding another year to my age, 10/01 also marks in my mind the official start of autumn. Whether it is or not is irrelevant. I like to think that my birthday signals the go-ahead to start roasting, sauteing, and pureeing all my favorite fall vegetables, and roasted brussels sprouts is at the top of my list. For those that have poked around on the blog, you may have already seen the PR campaign I started for brussels sprouts earlier this year. I clearly have not given it up.
As a result, I marked the start of my 32nd year of life by continuing the campaign and make a huge pan of roasted brussels sprouts that were tossed with brown sugar, sliced shallots, and fennel seeds. The combination lends a distinct sweetness to this sometimes bitter-ish green. While the fennel seeds can be optional, I miss them when they’re not there. I’ve also tried using healthier sweeteners like maple syrup or agave nectar but find that they don’t yield quite the same results. The brown sugar creates a lovely caramelization that’s part of the deliciousness to this dish. Plus, at just 2 tbs., I think we can indulge a little bit, right? After all, we are eating our brussels sprouts, just like our mom would asked us to.
- Brussels sprouts – 1.5 lbs.
- Shallots or red onion – 3 bulbs or 1 small
- Brown sugar – 2 tbs.
- Vegetable oil – 2 tbs.
- Fennel seeds – 1 tbs.
- Kosher salt
- Brussels sprouts – Peel off any leaves that look like they’ve seen better days. Rinse and trim off a bit of the ends. Slice in half lengthwise
- Shallots / red onion – Slice into strips. For a video demo, click here
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- In a bowl, mix together slice brussels sprouts, sliced shallots / red onions, brown sugar, vegetable oil, and fennel seeds
- Spread brussels sprouts out in one even layer on baking sheet. If you’ve got an extra minute, turn all the brussels sprouts so that the open side is facing down
- Sprinkle with kosher salt
- Bake for 10 minutes at 450
- Take pan out, give it a shake and another sprinkle of salt if you’re a salt monster like me
- Place them back in the oven and lower temperature to 400 and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until sprouts are crisp on the outside but soft and cooked through on the inside
- You can preheat the oven with the baking pan inside to get a head start on roasting. That way when vegetables hit the pan, they start cooking immediately
- We start the oven at a hot 450 degrees to get our brussels sprouts nice and caramelized. The lower temperature then finishes the cooking without burning the outer leaves
- We love tossing these sprouts with a heaping bowl of whole grains or pasta. Toss in some nuts, and you’ve got yourself a hearty, healthy meal