Crispy Lemon Brussels Sprouts

It’s really hard to make Brussels sprouts look sexy.

In case you haven’t noticed I’m very particular about the way food looks on this blog. I tried to make these look as good as they taste, but may not have done them justice. These little guys are tossed in a blend of seasoned olive oil and balsamic vinegar before roasting, allowing them to crisp up and caramelize, bringing out their natural sweetness- a pleasant surprise to those expecting the tough texture and bitter taste they have when cooked other ways.

I peel off the first few layers of leaves (the best part!) and roast them on a separate cookie sheet, as they will cook faster than the thick dense centers. Just before serving, I mix them all together again, and top them with grated lemon zest, parmesan cheese, and a healthy squeeze of lemon juice. If that’s not your style, you can save the leaves as a crispy snack, dip them in a tangy garlic aioli, or even season them and pop ’em onto your next artisan pizza. These sprouts are as versatile as you want them to be!

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Crispy Lemon Brussel Sprouts

This makes enough to serve as a small side to 4 people. You will need two baking sheets, I used one 12-inch sheet and one 14-inch sheet.

  • 1 pound of Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar, additional for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice, about half a large lemon
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • lemon zest to taste
  • grated parmesan cheese to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash, pat dry, and peel brussel sprouts. Separate the first 2-3 layers of leaves from the small crinkly looking centers of each sprout. Toss the leaves in a bowl with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

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Place the leaves on the larger cookie sheet in one fairly even layer. Cut the sprout centers in half, toss them in the remaining olive oil mixture and arrange them in one layer on the smaller baking sheet.

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I placed both sheets in the oven at the same time, sprouts on a lower rack, and leaves on the top rack. Roast the leaves for about 10-12 minutes, the sprouts a little over 15 with a good shake halfway to brown them evenly.

The leaves should be brown and crispy on the edges with deep green centers, some smaller leaves even crispy through the center. If they are too green, the centers will be tough and the edges mushy, so be patient. However, watch the leaves carefully, as they are more prone to burning than the sprout centers. They should look something like the below:

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Mix the sprouts and leaves back together, tossing in the lemon juice. Grate lemon zest over the top.

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When serving on individual plates, sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and drizzle with balsamic vinegar to taste.

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I’m a huge fan of Brussels sprouts, and if you don’t like them, I’ll wager you may have yet to taste them cooked properly. These are the perfect mix of crunchy, earthy, sweet, and tangy. They are quite addictive! Try them and I’m sure you will think so too!

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