Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts

23rd April, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Sides, easy, vegetarian

It seems no one is ambivalent about Brussels sprouts; people love them or hate them. Personally, I think the reason more people don’t enjoy them is because, as children, they were tortured by mushy, overcooked sprouts, bitter and reeking of foul smelling sulphurous compounds. It wasn’t the sprouts’ fault. It’s time to forgive the little green globes, and find a place in your heart, and your diet for them.

Sprouts are a wonderfully nutritious vegetable, and all they require to offer their goodness is a little tenderness, a little care in preparation, and no ovecooking!

Here, we blanch the sprouts before roasting to cut down on the cooking time. Then, the sprouts are tossed with a little olive oil, balsamico, thyme, salt and pepper, and roasted in the pan to caramelize them and bring out their wonderful sweetness.

Ingredients – serves 4

  • One pound of fresh sprouts, preferably on the stalk
  • 2Tbsp olive oil
  • 3Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 0.5tsp dried thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method – active time, 10 minutes; total time, about 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Prepare the sprouts. Remove any wilted outer leaves, trim off the end of the stem, and cut larger sprouts in half. Soak for a few minutes in water with a little salt, then rinse well.

In an oven-safe sautée pan over high heat, blanch the sprouts with in a little salted water until pan is just dry, about 4-5 minutes, gently stirring occasionally.

Add olive oil, balsamico, thyme, salt, pepper and toss to coat.

Place pan in oven on middle rack, and roast until done, about 15-20 minutes. Check after 10 minutes, and toss sprouts to re-coat and ensure even cooking. Do not overcook.

When done, sprouts will have a beautiful, caramelized surface, and be tender crisp inside – sweet and delicious! Finish with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt, and enjoy.

Sprouts are a wonderful accompaniment to a good roast, or seared steaks, or fried chicken, or just about anything else that has a bold flavor. Roasting is a great method, enhancing their sweetness and providing a beautiful, visually appealing color. Eat them early, and eat them often!


Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamins C, K and A, as well as folic acid. They’re a great source of dietery fiber, potassium, and a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Like all cruciferous vegetables, sprouts contain many disease-fighting phytonutrients.

When overcooked, Brussels sprouts will release the glucosinolate sinigrin, which is responsible for the sulphurous aroma that some people find objectionable. Properly cooked, on the other hand, they’re sweet and delicious.

These roasted sprouts are also great cold, and are a great addition to salads.

One Response

  1. Matty Says:

    I made these with some orange zest and rosemary Cornish hens over an open fire. I used some decent balsamico and the sprouts stole the show. I haven’t had sprouts in awhile and these were as sweet as candy. No really.