If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I love cruciferous vegetables (aka brassicas) with my entire heart. That includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, kale, etc. – all the good stuff. So you can imagine how excited I get at wintertime farmers markets when, at the height of brassica season, pretty much every tent has a bin of bulk Brussels sprouts. They’re impossible to resist! To use up the giant bag of sprouts I got at last weekend’s farmers market, I decided to toss them in an Asian-inspired sauce made with honey and toasted sesame oil and then roast them in a hot oven. Oh man… believe me when I tell you that these are the best Brussels sprouts I’ve ever made. Tangy, wonderfully crispy, faintly sweet, and a little bit spicy, they tick all the boxes for the perfect Brussels sprouts dish.
Start by preheating the oven to 450º. Stick a roasting pan in there to heat up while you prepare your ingredients.
Mince two fat cloves of garlic (up to four cloves if you’re serious about garlic) and dice half a red onion. Add the onion and garlic to a bowl.
In a separate bowl, use a fork to whisk together the following:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of red chili flakes or cayenne pepper
The sauce is pretty forgiving, so taste and adjust to your liking. Add more honey to make it sweeter, more cayenne to make it spicier, more vinegar to make it tangier, and more sesame oil to make it richer. When it tastes about right, pour the sauce over the onions and garlic and stir to combine.
Now prepare the Brussels sprouts. Rinse them and pat dry with a cloth towel. Cut off the fibrous stems, then remove the outer layer of leaves. Cut each sprout in half. When all the sprouts are cut, add them to the sauce and mix. Use a spoon if you want, or, if you’re cool like me, use your hands.
At this point, your oven should be preheated and your roasting pan should be nice and hot. Using an oven mitt, carefully remove it from the oven. Pour the Brussels sprouts over the pan and use a spatula to distribute them evenly. They should sizzle when they hit the pan. Having a hot pan is key to getting a perfect crispy texture because the sprouts start to brown right away.
You can’t tell from the picture, but these are sizzly boys. Mmmm, delicious. Stick them in the oven for fifteen minutes, then use a spatula to stir them around the pan so they cook evenly. Roast for another ten to fifteen minutes, or until they’re nicely browned and crispy. If they’re not as crispy as you’d like, turn the broiler on high for a minute or so. If you do this, keep a close eye on them. They’ll crisp up fast and then they might start to burn if you’re not careful.
This is what we’re looking for – a good mix of crispy and juicy textures. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Taste them again to make sure the flavors are correct. They might need more salt or acid, so you can add a sprinkle of salt or a dash of vinegar.
Take a minute to marvel at their crispy beauty, then serve them hot as a glorious side dish. I had them alongside a simple spice-crusted salmon filet, but I think they would taste even better with steak. I recommend doubling the recipe, since these won’t last very long.
Crispy Honey Sesame Brussels Sprouts
- 1/2 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- Brussels sprouts about 3 large handfuls
For the Sauce
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp honey preferably raw, unfiltered
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A pinch of red chili flakes or cayenne optional, for extra spice
- Preheat the oven to 425º F. Put a roasting pan in the oven to heat up while you prepare the ingredients.
- Mince the garlic and dice the red onion. Add to a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce. Taste and adjust to your liking.
- Pour the sauce into the bowl with the onions and garlic, then mix well.
- Prepare the Brussels sprouts: rinse and dry them, then cut off the fibrous ends. Remove the outer layer of leaves, then cut each sprout in half. Add to the bowl with the other ingredients and stir to combine.
- Carefully remove the hot roasting pan from the oven and pour the sprouts over it. They should sizzle as they hit the pan. Stir to distribute, then put them in the oven for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, stir them again so they cook evenly. Roast for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until brown and crispy. If they're not as crispy as you want, put the broiler on high for one minute, or until they look right.
- Taste and adjust flavors again as necessary, then serve hot.