A wonderful balance of sweet and salty, this simple savory side (hello alliteration!) uses 5 ingredients, 15-minutes, and one skillet to create a dish that elevates the humble Brussels sprout to a whole new level. I promise you’ll never eat your Brussels sprouts any other way!
Brussel or Brussels?
In the English language, a double plural feels unnatural so it’s no surprise that many people often default to referring to this tiny, cabbage-like bud by dropping the ‘s‘ in the word Brussels. However, this delectable veggie sprout originally came out of the Northern Europe, specifically Brussels, the capital of Belgium, and from there earned it’s name Brussels sprouts!
What if I’m Vegan?
This recipe can easily be adapted and I’ve done just there with a vegan-friendly version of the recipe HERE! 🥰
Now, without further ado…
Here’s what you need to make this wonderful side:
- Brussels Sprouts: Opt for fresh sprouts. The frozen variety simply won’t give you the same results due to the high moisture content in them. Also fresh Brussels sprouts don’t smell as strongly as frozen or precooked ones once heated since there is less liquid in fresh sprouts containing hydrogen sulfide (the compound in Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous veggies that make them smell) that needs to be evaporated.
- Bacon: I’m using thick cut bacon strips that I’ve diced into smaller bits. I use between 4-5 strips of bacon but it comes out to about 5 – 5.5oz of bacon by weight.
- Maple Syrup: A pure, Grade A Rich or Robust maple syrup works well in this recipe.
- Salt: A pink Himalayan or sea salt works great. You can also use a smoked salt for extra flavor and extravagance!
- Pepper: Fresh or pre-ground black pepper works best.
To make your Brussels sprouts:
We’ll start by rinsing our Brussels sprouts and then trimming just the ends off and cutting them in half lengthwise. You don’t want to take too much off of the end because the leaves of your Brussels sprout will start falling off and your sprout can fall apart. If you look at the image above you’ll notice that I removed just enough of the end so that the outside leaves are still attached to the sprout at the base.
Set your halved prepped sprouts aside for the moment.
To a large skillet (cast iron is my personal favorite), add your bacon and on cook it until the fat has rendered and the bacon bits are nicely colored and crispy.
Strain and remove the bacon bits and set it aside for now. Leave the rendered bacon fat in the skillet.
Working quickly, place your halved Brussels sprouts into the skillet, cut-side down into the rendered bacon fat, in a single layer and let it cook undisturbed and uncovered for 4-5 minutes until the undersides begin to brown and caramelize.
Once the undersides are browned, flip them over and allow them to cook another 2-3 minutes. They’re done when they’re tender and a sharp knife can easily slide through them. Fresh Brussels sprouts cook relatively quickly which is yet another reason this makes a great dish!
Remove your skillet from the heat and drizzle the maple syrup over the Brussels sprouts and gently toss to coat them all in the syrup.
Add the crispy bacon bits back into the skillet and gently toss them to combine them and coat them in any remaining syrup that’s on the bottom of the skillet. Season your Brussels sprouts with salt and pepper to taste.
Plate your Brussels sprouts and top with a light sprinkle of any hard cheese of your choosing (I’m using Parmesan today) and enjoy!
This dish is best served and enjoyed right away and makes an amazing side dish for most entrees. What will you pair yours with?? 👀 Let us know in the comments below!
Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts
To top (optional): grated hard cheeses such as Parmesan, Asiago, Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, etc.
- Prep your sprouts by slicing off a small sliver of the end (not too much or the sprouts will fall apart) and slicing them in half lengthways.
- Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook on med-high heat until crispy and the fat is rendered. Scoop the bacon bits out leaving the rendered fat in the pan.
- Place the sprouts into the pan with the rendered bacon fat, cut side down, and let them cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes until the undersides are nicely browned and caramelized. Turn them over and let cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and drizzle the maple over the sprouts while moving them around to ensure all pieces are coated.
- Add the bacon bits back into the pan and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve and enjoy by itself or top with a light sprinkle of any hard grated cheese like parmesan. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.