addictively crispy brussel sprouts

August 13, 2013

roasted brussels sprouts


“Brussels Sprouts? Are you serious?”

Well, yes. I’m sorry if you were hoping for cake.

But, in my defence, these aren’t your average brussels sprouts. They aren’t mushy, or slimy or faintly smelling of fart. They don’t require the addition of bacon or duck fat or some other meaty product in order to make them palatable.

Oh no.

These are the brussels sprouts.

The ones that have your flatmates poking their noses out of their rooms and into the kitchen in hope of snaffling a few stray mouthfuls. The ones that you will somehow feel compelled to make three or four times a week. The ones that you will finish off, whilst leaving perfectly succulent roast chicken behind.

I’m not saying it’s the only way to cook them, but after over twenty batches eaten just in the Winter of 2013, I’m going to put it out there and say that once you’ve made them this way, it’s very hard to go back.


roasted brussels sprouts

It all started with that meal at Glebe Point Diner, months and months ago, where, under a mound of tender Berkshire Pork, I encountered a brussels sprout unlike any other.

Shatteringly crisp with a tender, yet bitey, center. Salty and charred and more-ish.

I tried all manner of ways to replicate them, until research (and discussion) led me to conclude that they’d probably been deep fried and that I shouldn’t try any further.

But I did.

Because I’m stubborn like that.

roasted brussels sprouts

Out came the knife and on went the oven.

On went the spices… and then off they came again, because really. If you’re making sprouts you want to taste sprouts. Right?

On went the olive oil and salt and pepper and into my mouth they went.

Over and over and over again.

We’d hardly go two days without them.

roasted brussels sprouts

“I don’t know why you’d cook brussels sprouts any other way.” said my dad, after (yet another) roast chicken dinner.

“I don’t know why you’d cook them any other way.” said Lou, after eating a bowl of not much other than the green stuff (supplemented with the most meagre spoonful of beef cheek).

“Why would you bother making them any other way?” asked Anna-May’s Irish guest, after declaring his love of cabbage and ‘taters. (High praise indeed!)

And each time, I shrugged, not having made them any other way since the beginning of Winter, and not being likely to do so.

roasted brussels sprouts

I’ve eaten them alongside slow cooked beef cheeks. Next to roast chicken breast. Alongside sausages and tossed into roast vegetables.

I’ve eaten leftovers between chunks of bread with little more than a spicy mustard to moisten the loaf. In amongst bits of spaghetti tossed in butter.

And I’m not sure when I’ll stop – they’re just too easy to have around.

And if you needed further convincing, they’re good for you. Healthy even. Dark leafy greens that have been oven roasted and not fried. They’re cheap and simple. It’s a matter of chop, toss, bake. (With an optional toss in between times.)

But most of all (yes, most of all), they’re addictive. Not quite dried out and dehydrated like the kale chips that threaten to overtake even the most sensible of food blogs – but still, addictively crispy. With charred, smoky edges and bitey cores. With the clear bitter-sweetness of cruciferous vegetables – unsullied by the bacon that is often paired with it.

roasted brussels sprouts


addictively crispy brussel sprouts
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 15 brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp (40ml) olive oil
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper
How to make it
  1. Pre-heat your oven to at least 220C, fan forced and get a big, flat baking tray out.
  2. Give the brussels sprouts a quick rinse to get rid of any dirt.
  3. Chop the end off (where the leaves all meet) and pull away one or two of the outer leaves if they're a bit dirty or sad looking.
  4. Use either a knife or a food processor to finely shred the brussels sprouts into thin ribbons. You don't have to be too fussy about it - think coleslaw!
  5. Toss the shredded sprouts in the olive oil and paprika so that they're coated with a fine sheen of oil.
  6. Spread the sprouts out on your prepared baking sheet and sprinkle salt and pepper over the top. Be generous with the seasoning as the salt really helps the sprouts to crisp up!
  7. Roast the sprouts in your pre-heated oven. After 10 minutes, give them a bit of a turn about with a pair of tongs then let them cook for a further 5 or so minutes. When the edges are charred and you smell just a bit of smoke, they're done!