Roasted Brussels sprouts with apples and caramelized onions is perfect for a Thanksgiving table or as an autumn side dish. It’s topped with a smattering of toasted pistachios. Vegan & gluten-free.
I’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.
I have no restraint when it comes to miniature sauce dishes for holding tamari and hot Chinese mustard…
So 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.
However, the taste was not quite so delicate. To my young palate, the bold flavor left something to be desired.
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 with apples
So 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.
One 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 with apples, caramelized onions, and pistachios.
Not only does the roasting cut any bitterness from the Brussels sprouts, the sweetness of apple and caramelized onions evens the playing field. It balances 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 the roasted Brussels sprouts recipe I would make.
I have been tweaking the dish ever since and serving it at holiday gatherings or during the summer when Brussels sprouts are in season.
So whether you are a long-time Brussels sprout aficionado or confirmed sprout hater from way back, I encourage you to give this roasted Brussels sprouts recipe a try. With the sweetness of apple and nuttiness of pistachios, it might surprise you…
How to make roasted Brussels sprouts with apples
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Slice the hard ends off of the Brussels sprouts. Then cut the sprouts in half.
Next, chop your apple into small to medium sized pieces.
Put the Brussels sprouts and apple pieces on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Toss them with oil.
(If you’re making a double batch, you’ll want to use multiple baking sheets. Foods don’t brown as well when they are crowded on a pan or baking sheet.)
Put them in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, stopping once to flip when one side is brown.
Sprout sizes vary. So you may need to cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
Now move on to the caramelized onions.
Peel an onion and cut it in half. Then cut the onion into thin half moon slices.
Put oil in a non-stick skillet. Put onions into the skillet with a pinch of salt.
Don’t move the onions for a couple of minutes, until they start to brown.
Once brown bits have started to appear on the onions, turn the heat to low. Continue cooking the onions for 20 minutes.
Stir them occasionally with a spatula, and allow them to caramelize.
In the last minute of cooking time on the onions, add maple or agave syrup to the onions and combine.
Move the onions to one side of the skillet, and add the pistachios. Allow them to brown for 30 seconds to a minute.
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.
Roasted Brussels sprouts with apples, caramelized onions, and pistachios
- 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts sliced in half length-wise with ends removed
- 1 large apple cored and cut into small to medium sized chunks
- 1 teaspoon organic canola oil or other neutral-flavored oil, divided
- 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
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, toss Brussels sprouts and apples with 3/4 teaspoon oil and a pinch of salt. Lay them evenly across the baking sheet, being careful not to overcrowd.
- Roast Brussels sprouts and apples for 20 minutes, stopping once to flip. Don't flip the Brussels sprouts until they are nicely brown on one side. (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.)
- While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, put remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil in a non-stick skillet and bring to a medium high heat.
- 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.
- 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.
- In the last minute of cooking time on the onions, add maple syrup or agave syrup to the onions and combine.
- Move the onions to one side of the skillet, and add the pistachios. Allow them to brown for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Remove Brussels sprouts and apples from the oven and add them to the skillet. Evenly combine them with the caramelized onions and pistachios. Taste for salt, and add more if necessary. Serve immediately.
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