Roasted Brussels sprouts with apples and caramelized onions makes a delightful autumn side dish or addition to your Thanksgiving table. It’s topped with a smattering of toasted pistachios. Vegan & gluten-free.
As a child of 7 or 8, I remember taking a 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 sprouts were much more bitter than their cabbage-y brethren. Some bites were okay. But for the most part they had a pungent aftertaste that lingered on the back of the tongue like horseradish.
I was not a fan.
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 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 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 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 recipe I would make.
I have been tweaking the dish ever since and serving it at holiday gatherings and whenever sprouts are in season.
So whether you are a long-time sprout aficionado or confirmed sprout hater from way back, I encourage you to give this recipe a try. With the sweetness of apple and nuttiness of pistachios, it might surprise you…
How to make this side dish
Start by preheating 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
- ½ 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
- ½ medium-sized yellow onion sliced very thinly into half moons
- ½ 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 ¾ teaspoon oil and a pinch of salt. Lay them evenly across the baking sheet, being careful not to overcrowd.
- Roast the sprouts and apples for 20 minutes, stopping once to flip. Don't flip the 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 sprouts are roasting, put remaining ½ 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.
Originally posted April 2014. Content and photos updated September 2019.