These crispy oven roasted Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar are the perfect side dish when you want to serve an explosion of flavors with minimal effort. A great make-ahead meal to serve for a weeknight dinner or for the festive holiday season. The Brussels sprouts are roasted crispy golden with olive oil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze adds the finishing sweet and tangy touch.
What are Brussels sprouts?
Brussels sprouts resemble mini cabbage heads and even though they have a similar texture and belong to the same Brassicaceae family group as cabbage, broccoli and kale, they are in fact edible buds of a long fibrous stalk.
These green sprouts seem to have been around since Roman times, but it was only in the 16th century when they were cultivated in the region of Brussels in Belgium that they became popular, hence their name.
Even though Brussels sprouts are quite common to eat in the USA and Europe, they are still a highly under appreciated vegetable. The main reason for their dislike is their bitter taste and distinctive odour, that is, when they are not properly prepared.
When Brussels sprouts are cooked they release sulphur compounds giving that typical ‘cabbage’ odour, at least when these sprouts are overcooked that smell and flavor can become overpoweringly stronger.
But when properly prepared, Brussels sprouts are just mouth-wateringly tasty and delicious.
This roasted Brussels sprouts recipe brings out a deliciously sweet and nutty flavor with only subtle bitter undertones. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze adds an extra layer of Mediterranean flavor.
Which ingredients to use
- Brussels sprouts: Opt for the freshest Brussels sprouts with vibrant green hues and a firm texture. Discard any sprouts that appear aged and feel soft. If using frozen sprouts, make sure they are properly thawed and as much excess moisture as possible is removed before proceeding with the recipe.
- Onion: A red onion provides extra depth of flavor and adds color to this recipe. You can use a shallot as a substitute.
- Olive oil: A good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil ensures a perfectly roasted sprout and adds even more flavor.
- Balsamic glaze: The sweet and tangy flavor of balsamic glaze goes really well with the nutty and slightly bitter roasted sprout. Balsamic glaze is really easy to make at home with this balsamic reduction recipe. You can also use a store bought balsamic glaze as an alternative.
- Seasoning: A pinch of sea salt and a good amount of freshly ground black pepper is all this recipe needs. You may also roast the sprouts with any herbs of your choice, like thyme, rosemary or oregano, but this is optional.
How to make balsamic glaze
Balsamic vinegar pairs really well with roasted Brussels sprouts with just a small drizzle adding so much more taste. I prefer using a balsamic vinegar reduction or balsamic glaze to combine with the roasted sprouts as it is less acidic and instead more sweet with a syrupy texture.
You can buy balsamic glaze in most larger supermarkets, which is fine. However, for this recipe with Brussels sprouts I would recommend making your own as it’s really easy to prepare at home. You’ll find the recipe for my homemade balsamic glaze here with all the detailed information. But in short, it is leaving balsamic vinegar to simmer with optionally a sweetener like honey added in order to reduce it to a syrupy texture. You can make the balsamic glaze while the sprouts are roasting in the oven in order to use your time more efficiently.
An alternative to use for these balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts is to mix 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar with 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or honey and stir until well combined.
Tips for making the best roasted sprouts
- Well prepared sprouts: Rinse the Brussels sprouts well in cold water to remove any dirt, then cut off the ends and remove any discolored, loose leaves.
- Cut in half: When roasting sprouts, it’s best to cut them in half so the inside can be tender and the outside slightly crisp. Make sure they are more or less the same size to allow for equal roasting time.
- Roast at high temperature: Roasting at a higher temperature will roast the outside layers crisp and golden brown, and not soft and soggy.
- Single layer: Use a baking tray or sheet pan that is large enough for the halved sprouts not to be piled on top of one another. Make sure they are all single layered in the tray for optimal roasting.
- Not too much oil: Don’t drizzle too much olive oil before roasting as this will make them soft rather than crispy. I use 1 to maximum 2 tablespoons for 1 pound of sprouts. Rather drizzle the extra olive oil after roasting.
- Don’t overcook: The Brussels sprouts are ready when they are soft but still have a bit of a firm bite. Make sure they are fork tender (test with a fork if they are soft enough) and keep an eye they are not too soft and overcooked.
How to serve
These oven roasted Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar are a great side dish to serve with a variety of chicken, pork and beef dishes like grilled chicken, Flemish beef stew, chicken saltimbocca, French tartiflette and even with venison like in this wild boar ragout.
You can add extra toppings to make a variation of this dish but be sure to let the roasted Brussels sprouts shine through and be the hero of this dish, so don’t go overboard with the toppings. What pairs well with this recipe:
- Dried cranberries
- Toasted pecans
- Grated parmezan cheese
- Crispy bacon or pancetta bits
- Roasted garlic
How to store
Any leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days in a sealed container. Re-heat in the oven for 5 minutes at a low temperature (300℉ or 150℃) until warm.
You can even re-heat them in the air-fryer. They will crisp up while being heated.
More veggie side dishes to try
- Oven roasted fennel and carrots
- Roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut
- Grilled Italian green beans
- Sautéed garlic green beans
Balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts
- 1 pound (450 grams) Brussels sprouts cleaned and ends trimmed
- 1 red onion finely sliced in half moons
- 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze homemade
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- fresh parsley chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400℉ or 200℃.
- Rinse the Brussels sprouts with water, trim off the ends and remove any yellow, discolored or loose outer leaves. Cut the cleaned sprouts lengthwise in half. Finely slice the red onion in half moons.
- Place the halved Brussels sprouts and red onion in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to coat. Arrange them on a baking sheet and spread out evenly in a single layer.
- Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes until tender and crisp, stirring once in between. Test with a fork if they are soft and tender, but still slightly firm.
- Remove from the oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze. Serve with chopped parsley.
- Balsamic glaze: Use either store bought or homemade balsamic glaze. Alternatively mix 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar with 1 teaspoon of honey and stir to combine.
- Storage: Store any leftovers for up to 3 days in the fridge in a sealed container. Re-heat in the air-fryer or oven at a low temperature until warm and crisp.