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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Hubby's Love Affair with Brussels Sprouts

While my mom (a Registered Dietitian) introduced me to a lot of different kinds of vegetables as a kid, brussels sprouts were never a part of the repertoire. I think I ate my first sprout as an adult, actually. My husband, Nick, just loves them, and our freezer is usually stock-piled with brussels sprout steamer bags. He was practically drooling during a recent episode of The Pioneer Woman on Food Network which featured a recipe for brussels sprouts with cranberries covered in balsamic sauce. I attempted to make the recipe for a Christmas dinner at home (our first!) before we headed out to Michigan to be with my family.

Also - important to mention that sprouts contain a TON of nutrients including iron, magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber and Vitamins A, C, K and B6! There is some sugar in the balsamic glaze and the dried cranberries, but all in all, it's a delicious, healthful and hunger-satisfying side dish.

Here we go!

Nick did the cleaning and trimming (basically cutting off the brown stem part) and then cut them in half on a non-stick rimmed pan.

I drizzled the sprouts with olive oil (probably used about 1/8 cup) and then roasted them in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes. I was supposed to sprinkle them with salt and pepper before roasting which may have helped bring out the flavor a bit more (note the balsamic glaze is pretty flavorful, so you may want to season lightly).

I love the color of  the roasted sprouts fresh from the oven. Next time, I'll probably use a bit more olive oil, so they don't get as dried out.

While the sprouts were roasting in the oven, I started on the balsamic glaze which is basically just a mixture of balsamic vinegar and sugar heated and reduced on the stove. Once the sauce had reduced, I transferred the sprouts to a bowl and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then I poured the sauce on top and sprinkled with dried cranberries.

I just love the vibrant greens in the sprouts paired with the red cranberries! The sweetness of both the balsamic glaze and the dried fruit toned down the bitterness of the sprouts. The roasting process also softens the sprouts and improves the texture. This dish is easy enough that you can memorize the recipe and pull it together quickly. It is an impressive side that adds both color and interesting flavors to almost any meal. We served it with roast pork tenderloin and seasoned red potatoes.

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries

Ingredients (note - we halved this recipe - 3 pounds of brussels is a lot for two people!)

  • 3 pounds Brussels Sprouts 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • Salt And Pepper
  • 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Dried Cranberries

Preparation Instructions

Trim/clean Brussels sprouts, then cut them in half if desired (or you can leave them whole). Arrange on two baking sheets and toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper and roast at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until brown.

Combine balsamic vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and reduce until very thick, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the roasted sprouts, then sprinkle on dried cranberries. Toss and serve immediately.


  1. There is a great olive oil and balsamic store in Shirlington. They have a ton of thick, sweet balsamics that I bet you could use and save the time of making the sauce. Just a drizzle of either fig or pomegranate balsamic would add the tang and sweetness, but there would be no pan to clean.

  2. Great suggestion! That would cut down on the calories as well.