No Apologies Brussels Sprouts


It took me awhile to understand and bond with Brussels sprouts. We started off on the wrong foot. It didn’t make a good first impression. It wasn’t until I went on a roasting vegetable binge that I began to appreciate – and now love – Brussels.

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Even my dad was against them. He had a funny offensive nick name for them. If you want to private message me, I’ll be happy to share it with you. But boiled, overcooked, soggy, and cruciferous (gassy, stinky, gross), no wonder he didn’t like them.

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You’ll see lots of recipes out there for bacon this, and duck fat fried that for the sprouts. They are all fine and good. But I think it’s time to stop apologizing for the sprouts themselves. No disguises. Let them speak for themselves and stand on their own.

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This roasted sprouts recipe couldn’t be simpler.  I offer some options to complement the flavor (Lemon! Parmesan!) but if you don’t want to play dress up, feel free to skip them.

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If you can find the sprouts on their stalk from a farmer’s market or some grocery stores, they are even better and fresher (and look Space Age cool, too). However, if you buy them already trimmed, be sure to buy those that haven’t turned dark brown on the cut stem end. That means they are old and perhaps a little tough.


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Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed (leaving just the little cabbage head)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher (not table) salt
  • Zest of one lemon, plus 1 tablespoon of its juice (optional)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F (204C) with rack in the upper third of the oven
  2. Trim the stem end of each sprout. Remove loose leaves and discard
  3. Cut large sprouts in quarters lengthwise, and smaller sprouts in half, lengthwise
  4. Place sprouts in a mixing bowl or plastic bag and drizzle with olive oil, salt and half of the lemon zest (if using). Toss to coat, or shake in a bag to coat the sprouts with the oil
  5. Place the sprouts cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. (Take care not to overcrowd them on the sheet or they will steam, not roast.)
  6. After 20 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip the sprouts over. Return the sheet to the oven
  7. Bake another 20 minutes (40 minutes total). It’s ok if they begin to char; they are even better this way.
  8. Toss with the remaining half of the lemon zest, lemon juice and Parmesan (if using), and place in a serving bowl

Author: gregnelsoncooks

Visit weekly for original and adapted recipes as well as cooking tips to make your kitchen life easier — and more delicious! I’ll include simple, straight forward instructions along with recipes that are truly worth your time making. And, recipes that elevate the familiar and introduce you to the new and unexpected.

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