Maple Jalapeno-Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts: this spicy, New World flavor-filled Thanksgiving offering can be Vegan. Or– it can have bacon! Adjust accordingly.
I came up with this recipe years ago when I was asked to bring a vegetable side to my uncle and aunt’s Thanksgiving dinner. My uncle grills his turkey over charcoal and his spice rub is heavy on the paprika. (The resulting gravy, produced from drippings caught in a pan over the coals, is a bit of smoky heaven.) I wanted to bring a side that would complement the southwestern flavors of the main dish. And I liked the challenge of making an appealing dish out of a vegetable that many people believe they despise.
I knew the key to getting great flavor out of this vegetable was to make sure the outer leaves could crisp and caramelize. So olive oil and oven roasting were a given. The rest of the flavor profile came together as described above.
I’m happy to report that this dish has converted many former Brussels sprouts haters in my Thanksgiving circle of influence into “people who will eat Brussels sprouts if prepared like this.”
I hope you’ll have some conversions, too.
Maple Jalapeno-Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 3 pounds individual Brussels sprouts (off the stalk)
- 1/3 cup good, peppery olive oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup (points for Grade B, though Grade A is fine too)
- 5 fresh jalapenos
- 8 cloves fresh garlic
- to taste, sea salt or kosher salt
- (optional) 1/2 pound bacon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash and vertically halve the Brussels sprouts.Save any loose leaves and be sure to include them; they'll get crispy in the pan.
- Arrange the Brussels sprouts in a baking dish (or even better, a large cast-iron pan) in as even a layer as possible.
- Slice all the jalapenos in half (or quarters, if they're large), vertically, and stagger among the Brussels sprouts.
- Peel and roughly chop the garlic and scatter it over the vegetables.
- Drizzle all with the olive oil; toss.
- Drizzle all with the maple syrup; toss again.
- Sprinkle liberally with salt, to taste. (Don't add as much salt if you plan to include the bacon, though.)
- Roast in the oven until Brussels sprouts are caramelized on the outside and tender in the middle, about 40 minutes total, but pay close attention to them. You will probably need to toss in the pan and return to the oven at least once; this keeps leaves on top from burning and gives everyone a turn in the sizzling oil at the bottom of the pan. Add a little more maple syrup if things look dry.
- Bonus bacon step! If your friends and family are of the opinion that bacon makes everything better, this will put the dish over the top. Dice the bacon and render on the stove top until bacon is cooked, but not yet crispy. Toss it in with the roasted vegetables when they have about 10 minutes to go. The bacon will crisp up, and will candy a bit in the maple syrup. You will be a Thanksgiving hero.