Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Apples with Caramelized Onions and Pistachios

Roasted Brussels sprouts & applesI’ve always had a real soft spot for things in miniature.  As a child I spent hours decorating and redecorating my dollhouse with tiny little beds covered in itsy-bitsy blankets and even tinier pillows.  I opened and closed the door on the thumb-sized cast iron stove and set the table with pinky-sized plates.  I loved the details of things that we usually take in at a much larger size now in the palm of my hand.

As an adult, I could buy teeny spoons, forks, and knives all day long for serving with sauces, chutneys, and spreads or miniature sauce dishes for holding tamari and hot Chinese mustard…

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & ApplesSo I remember as a child of 7 or 8 taking great interest in Brussels sprouts.  Their adorable little form was like one of my favorite vegetables – cabbage – but in miniature.  One little sprout would have been just the right size for my dollhouse family to have a feast of cabbage & potatoes.

Brussels sprouts

However, the taste was not quite so delicate.  To my young palate, the bold flavor left something to be desired.  The boiled Brussels sprouts were much more bitter than their cabbage-y brethren.  Some bites were okay, but for the most part the sprouts had a pungent aftertaste that lingered on the back of the tongue like horseradish.  I was not a fan.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Apples

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & ApplesSo whenever people tell me that they don’t like Brussels sprouts, I get it.  And then I wonder how they’ve had them prepared.  Because boiling Brussels sprouts is doing them no great service.  Like so many vegetables, to really bring their inherent sweetness to life, roasting is the best course of action.

Asparagus is lovely steamed, but roasted?  I could finish off a platter myself.  Steamed broccoli or cauliflower are totally legitimate as sides, but roast them instead and people who tend to not care about eating their vegetables start asking questions about how they can make them at home.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & ApplesOne night several years ago I was making a roasted Brussels sprouts dish from The Vegan Table on the same evening that I was having a dish with roasted apples.  Then in a vegetable-version of “You got your chocolate in my peanut butter,” a new favorite dish was formed – Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apples with Caramelized Onions & Pistachios.

Not only does the roasting cut any bitterness from the Brussels sprouts, the sweetness of apple and caramelized onions evens the playing field, balancing the sprouts’ more pungent flavor with an edge of lightness.  If I could only have Brussels sprouts one way for the rest of my life, this is how I would have them.

Roasted Brussels sprouts & applesI have been tweaking the dish ever since and serving it at holiday gatherings or during the summer when Brussels sprouts are in season.  It also pairs really nicely with creamy polenta (minus the sun-dried tomatoes) and Field Roast breakfast sausages or apple sage sausages, browned in a skillet.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Field Roast breakfast sausages

So whether you are a long-time Brussels sprout aficionado or confirmed sprout hater from way back, I encourage you to give them a try with the sweetness of apple and nuttiness of pistachios and see if it might change your mind…

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Apples with Caramelized Onions and Pistachios

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Apples with Caramelized Onions and Pistachios

Serving Size: Serves 2 as a side

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Apples with Caramelized Onions and Pistachios


  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, sliced in half length-wise with ends removed
  • 1 Red Delicious apple, cored and cut into small to medium sized chunks
  • 3/4 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 medium-sized yellow onion, sliced very thinly into half moons
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or agave syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons roasted pistachio halves and pieces (I use unsalted. If using salted, adjust other salt in recipe accordingly)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, toss Brussels sprouts and apples with 3/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Layer evenly across baking sheet, being careful not to overcrowd.
  3. Roast Brussels sprouts and apples for 20 minutes, flipping half-way through. (Brussels sprouts can vary in size and cooking time. They are done when they can easily be pierced with a fork. If necessary, roast for 5 to 10 minutes more.)
  4. Put remaining 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick skillet and bring to a medium high heat.
  5. Add onions to the skillet with a pinch of salt and don't move them for a couple of minutes until they start to brown.
  6. Once brown bits have started to appear on the onions, turn the heat to low and continue cooking the onions for 20 minutes, stirring them occasionally with a spatula, and allowing them to caramelize.
  7. In the last minute of cooking time on the onions, add maple syrup or agave syrup to the onions and combine.
  8. Move the onions to one side of the skillet, and add the pistachios. Allow them to brown for 30 seconds to a minute.
  9. Remove Brussels sprouts and apples from the oven and add them to the skillet. Evenly combine them with the caramelized onions and pistachios. Serve immediately.


Inspired by The Vegan Table

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Apples

Disclaimer: Includes an Amazon affiliate link


  1. says

    I have a mini kitchen utensil obsession! I’m not allowed to buy any more, it’s that bad! I have 3 mini spatulas, 2 mini whisks, mini cheese grater, mini funnel, etc. anything mini like that I see and I’ll buy! I must be stopped! In my defense I use them all, I really do!

    Unfortunately I’m one of those brussel sprout skeptics. I’ve only had them a few times ever and I’m sure they definitely weren’t prepared right. Maybe I will get brave and try roasting them though! This recipe does make them seem a bit more appetizing.

    I just tried your balsamic baked tofu recipe from youtube for lunch today and it was so delicious!

    • says

      Wow, what a bounty of mini kitchen tools! I would love all of those things. I have a feeling you and I would be the worst shopping buddies, because we’d enable each other to buy more mini kitchen goodness! :)

      You should definitely give roasting a try sometime with Brussels sprouts. I think preparation method makes all of the difference, especially with a vegetable that can be on the bitter side. If you try it out, you’ll have to let me know what you thought either way.

      I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the tofu! Thanks for telling me!

  2. says

    I love the complete meal you made of it with polenta and sausages. I’m not such a huge fan of cooked apples, but I’d think the sweetness of caramelized onions might be enough to balance the (delicious) bitterness of sprouts.
    Currently picturing a doll family feasting on a single sprout…

    • says

      I know it’s not a totally new revelation, but the sausages and polenta complimented each other so well! I make the Brussels sprouts without the apples sometimes too, and it’s still really good that way.

      I’m glad to hear that I’ve given you some cute things to think about. :)

  3. says

    you seriously hit the nail on the head with this dish! i am pretty much obsessed with apples, brussels sprouts, onions, and pistachios. oh pistachios…. i love them so. i agree that this is the perfect dish for a holiday, but i would totally make this for myself any day of the week.

    • says

      Yay! I’m glad to hear that the elements of this recipe work for you. On the day that I made this batch for photographs, I seriously ate the whole bowl by myself for breakfast! Why not?

  4. says

    I also have a mini kitchen utensil obsession! Or actually, anything mini. I don’t know why, but maybe it has to do with my OCD and space/clutter issues. Regardless, mini is fun. As for Brussels sprouts? Love them, but I’m super boring (big surprise, I know.) I don’t like much muddling up the flavor so just steamed with some Earth Balance is perfect for me. I really should try to roast them some time…

    • says

      Yes, mini is fun! Is it any wonder that my dream car is a Mini Coop? The trend continues!

      You should totally give roasting a go sometime. It doesn’t take much more work than steaming if you just throw them on a parchment paper covered baking sheet with a bit of oil and salt and let them go. Plus, parchment makes for a quick and easy clean-up too.

    • says

      Aw, that’s so sweet of you to say! Thank you, Richa! I got a new glaze that I used on the dish that’s holding the sprouts. I really like how it turned out, and I’m looking forward to using it again on more pieces in the future.

  5. says

    My one and only super power is a deep and enduring love of Brussel sprouts. I’ve never been a sprout dodger, even when they’re boiled half to death. I’m pretty sure I’d be happy with a big bowl of this, a fork and nothing else!

    • says

      I highly approve of your super power. I can’t wait for you to get your own comic book or movie! That’s one superhero film I’d go see! :)

      The way you feel about Brussels sprouts is the way I feel about asparagus. Even when they’re way overcooked, I still love them.

  6. acookinthemaking says

    Yum–I LOVE Brussels sprouts in every form! I totally agree with you that roasting is the way to convert people to any veggie. It’s how my mom came to like cauliflower and my husband came to like asparagus!

  7. says

    I am definitely a fussy brussels sprout eater, they have to be perfect and this recipe sounds amazing. My favourite way I’ve tried them (so far!) is wok fried with lime, mint and chilli but that was at Departure Lounge so of course I’ve never made ’em that good at home!

    • says

      Thanks, Jojo! That lime/mint/chili spin on sprouts sounds really delicious. I rarely use mint, outside of tea, water, or mixed drinks. I’ll have to keep that in mind in the future!

  8. says

    Hey again! Wanted to reply here to your savory tea question. I actually don’t notice the green tea taste in the Millie’s Savory Teas at all. They really taste more like broth….I think there’s just a little tea in the bags and lots of other herbs and spices.

    • says

      Oh, great! Thanks for letting me know. I’m definitely going to pick up one of the sample packs then while they’re on sale.

  9. cookeasyvegan says

    I love the oval serving dish that the Brussels sprouts are in — very elegant shape and beautiful color. The bowls are great, too!

    • says

      Thanks, Andrea! That’s a new glaze that I’m working with and I’m really happy with the results. I initially made the sprouts dish as a holder for 3 little sauce cups; however, it ended up working well as a mini casserole dish too. I haven’t been able to go into the pottery studio for a while, but hopefully I’ll have a chance to make more of them at some point.


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