balsamic roasted brussels sprouts

When I was a kid, I had to eat everything on my plate before I could get up from the dining table. My mom would start cleaning the table and washing the dinner dishes in the kitchen and my dad would head into the living room to watch television. I, meanwhile, would sit quietly at the table, staring at a plate of Brussels sprouts or stewed tomatoes or cooked carrots, and wonder if I had time to sneak over to the screened window, open the latch, and throw my vegetables out without my parents noticing.

I developed the talent for swallowing vegetables nearly whole. In fact, I could swallow a serving of Brussels sprouts, one sprout at a time, without chewing once. Stewed tomatoes were easier to swallow whole. They slid down easy.

Why did I despise those vegetables? One explanation is that the 1970s and 1980s were an era of boiling food to oblivion and bitter mush. Also, our vegetables tended to come from cans. And then boiled. Another big reason I hated those vegetables is because I was told I HAD to eat them. I HAD to like them. It was required. Rules of the house.

As my husband – and my parents – will attest, I can be quite stubborn. Being told what to do is one of my pet peeves. I refused to like those vegetables partly because of taste, but maybe a lot due to stubbornness.

I am happy to tell you that Brussels sprouts and I have made up and are now best friends. I seriously can’t get enough of them.  I’m guessing there are a lot of you out there who think you don’t like Brussels sprouts. I would hazard a guess that you’ve never had them prepared correctly. And maybe you, too, are stubborn.

Often I will sauté Brussels sprouts with some olive oil or bacon fat. Another favorite way is to roast the sprouts with a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and kosher salt. With a slight sweetness from the caramelized balsamic and a firm yet tender texture, these Brussels sprouts are my new love affair.

And yes, I even chew them now. They are THAT good.

Cooked carrots? Still hate ’em.

Yield: 3-4 side dish servings.

Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts


1 to 1 1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt


Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove tough outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts, rinse well, cut off the stem end. Slice in half vertically (through the stem end).

Toss sprouts with olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Pour onto a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle sprouts generously with 2 to 3 pinches of kosher salt. Roast for about 20 minutes, until sprouts have begun to caramelize on the edges.

Note: These can be made up to 8 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate, then warm in a 300°F oven for 10-15 minutes prior to serving.

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24 Responses to “balsamic roasted brussels sprouts”

  1. 1
    Ang — January 17, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

    I love balsamic. Sometimes, I kind of want to drink it! I also love how simple this is and the few ingredients it calls for. I definitely need to try this!

  2. 2
    Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — January 17, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

    Wait…this is my story; almost exactly! And why did I wait this long? I learned YEARS ago that frozen peas were not at all related to those horrible canned pieces of mush and that broccoli if just steamed til a beautiful green was actually good!

    I saw you mention on Twitter that you have no Costco. I would have to move; it’s that simple. But beyond the many reasons I love Costco is that they do carry a very nice assortment of fresh vegetables so I recently decided to give Brussels Sprouts a 2nd chance.

    I had them for dinner on New Year’s Day and I admit…I let a friend make them. We steamed them first but then he also wanted to cook them a bit in butter and garlic and though not bad they were still a bit too olive green and soft for what I had hoped to experience.

    So I made that salad I mentioned to you that I saw in Food and Wine Magazine that is roasted Brussels Sprout and red cabbage and I fear I may need an intervention. I’ve made it twice so far and yet not a photo in site…that’s what happens when a dish is so good sometimes. I have squirreled away a bit of them to give it the third time’s the charm college try. Wish me luck.

    • 2.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — January 17, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

      Barb – I’m totally addicted to these things now. When I stood at the stove and ate them right off the sheet pan after it came out of the oven, I knew I was in trouble. I may need an intervention, too!

  3. 3
    Liz the Chef — January 17, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

    I think I tweeted you re how good they guys are roasted – am going to add your tip re the balsamic vinegar. Honestly, I have a colander of them sitting next to my kitchen sink – talk about perfect timing! Thanks-

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  5. 4
    Lemons and Anchovies — January 17, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

    I love brussels sprouts prepared this way. The only other thing I add is garlic and crushed red pepper. Otherwise the essence is the same. I agree that the caramelized vinegar makes these outstanding. Those sprouts look so fresh and the cooked version is just totally appetizing!

  6. 5
    Aggie — January 17, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

    These look delicious. I never had brussels growing up, tried em soggy at a friends once and kinda like them. Tried them roasted and LOVED them. I ‘ve never spruced them up this way, I will def try this.

  7. 6
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — January 17, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

    I sat at the table on many a Good Friday staring at a plate of cold and getting colder fish. I still don’t like fish. Much. Brussels sprouts I am learning to like, slowly. Especially if they are served like this. So there is hope for the fishies yet. Or maybe not if you’re a fish. Lovely recipe. Bookmarked!

  8. 7
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — January 17, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

    I’ll take a big bowl of these Brussels sprouts please! I’ve never cooked them with balsamic, but I love that idea!

  9. 8
    megan @ whatmegansmaking — January 17, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    so funny! Your pictures are beautiful. I’ve never been a huge fan of brussel sprouts, but seriously you make me want to try them!

  10. 9

    We had the same rule but lucky for me I loved almost everything. I love this new take on Brussels sprouts.

  11. 10
    RavieNomNoms — January 18, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

    This sounds amazing! I love balsamic and I just discovered my love for brussel sprouts this past year actually so I am so excited to try this!

  12. 11
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — January 18, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

    Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite foods… And, I always roast mine with Balsamic vinegar, too. Delish! Love all of the photos in this post – just stunning!

    • 11.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — January 20, 2011 @ 8:24 am

      Thank you so much, Jen!

  13. 12
    Kate @ Savour Fare — January 19, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

    It’s funny how many things I “disliked” as a child because I knew I was “supposed” to — spinach, liver, parsnips, brussels sprouts. Some of my favorite foods now. I’m definitely on Team Brussels Sprouts.

  14. 13
    Joy — January 19, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

    When I was young my best friend’s mom was the best cook I knew and one night she made brussel sprouts. I had never eaten them before and I off I trotted home to tell my mother all about them. I love my mom but cooking is not one of her strong suits. Suddenly those delicious morsels weren’t so yummy. Overcooked brussel sprouts are the worst. As an adult I learned to cook them until soft but not mud green and they are my daughter’s favourite vegetable. Score! Your balsamic sprouts are absolutely gorgeous!

    • 13.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — January 20, 2011 @ 8:23 am

      Thanks, Joy. Yes, the texture has to be just right – and when overcooked, they are horribly bitter.

  15. 14

    You are so right, the reason most people think they don’t like certain vegetables is because they’ve only ever had them out of a can or cooked beyond recognition! We must stop this vegetable abuse immediately! I like the idea of adding balsamic vinegar, that must complement the caramelized flavors of the roasted sprouts really nicely.

  16. 15
    AllyZ — January 25, 2011 @ 7:11 am

    I love this recipe, but that is because I am biased towards balsamic vinegar. My mom makes something similar to this but will occasionally switch it up with apple cider vinegar. Still tastes great, but I love my balsamic.

  17. 16
    Carla Meine — March 23, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

    I’m with you. I think most people don’t like brussel sprouts because they’re not prepared correctly. This sounds wonderful. I’m going to give them a try. One of my favorite ways to prepare them is after I have boiled them I saute them in a little butter and then drizzle just a little pure maple syrup on them..yum.

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  20. 17
    Mary Beth — May 30, 2013 @ 9:42 pm

    Having brussel sprouts tonight and googled recipes. I came across yours and it looks wonderful. Will update on the results. Thanks

  21. 18
    Marcy — November 20, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

    I stumbled upon this recipe just now and I will try it tonight. My son is a D1 cross country and track athlete and is VERY picky about everything he eats! No butter check, no bacon check, simplicity check! Thanks!

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