Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Pistachios

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roasted Brussels sprouts
Part of Christmas dinner!

We don’t seem to get Brussels sprouts in our weekly CSA share, or, at least, we can’t remember getting them. Which is a shame because we really like them; we figure that either they don’t do well, or that Brussels sprouts are a lot of trouble to harvest for 800 people. So, when the CSA is on holiday break, we need to seek other produce, some of which is often Brussels sprouts.

Yes, we know that for many, Brussels sprouts are way down on the list of great things to eat, but we think that, in some cases, it’s just because the sprouts were overcooked. Overcooking Brussels sprouts is a sure way to quickly turn a great vegetable into one that will make everyone want to just push them around on the plate and try to feed them to the dog. But, perhaps, with a dish that includes properly-cooked Brussels sprouts, people might just try them.

Now, this recipe comes from a book we had looked at early in December, but we don’t recall the title of the book, nor the author, nor even the recipe, but what stuck in our minds was the caramelized onions and pistachios (in searching around on the Internet, it may have also included apples, but we didn’t remember that). That was enough to make this dish.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Pistachios

Yield: 3-4 servings

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Pistachios


  • 1/3 cup pistachios
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

Abbreviated Instructions

Place pistachios in a small skillet over medium heat and toast nuts until fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line baking sheet with parchment.

Optionally, bring a large kettle of salted water to a boil. Blanch Brussels sprouts for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain and shock by rinsing with cold water.

Place Brussels sprouts in a large bowl, toss with oil, salt, and pepper to coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and roast for 7 to 10 minutes.

While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, fry onions with a sprinkle of salt and pepper in butter over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.

Remove Brussels sprouts from the oven, stir, top with onions and return to oven to roast until sprouts are charred in spots, another 7 to 10 minutes.

Serve topped with toasted pistachios.

Ingredient discussion:

Not too much here. If you don’t have olive oil, any neutral oil will do. We also think that this would be just as good with walnuts or pecans instead of pistachios.

Procedure in detail:

toasted pistachios
After toasting in a skillet, move the nuts to a small bowl to cool.

Toast pistachios. Place pistachios in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir and shake often, until nuts are fragrant and toasted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer from skillet to a small bowl to cool. Don’t leave them in the skillet, as they’ll continue to toast from the residual heat.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment for easy cleanup.

Blanch (optional). We really recommend blanching Brussels sprouts, especially if you’re sprout-averse. That said, we didn’t blanch our sprouts this time; we will next time. If you want to blanch the sprouts, bring a large kettle of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add Brussels sprouts and bring back to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, then drain and run cold water over the sprouts to cool.

Brussels sprouts
Next time we’ll blanch our Brussels sprouts before tossing them in oil; we think they’ll taste even better.

Oil and season. Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl, drizzle with oil, then add the salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Brussels sprouts ready for the oven
A single layer is perfect. You want the Brussels sprouts to char and cook quickly.

Roast. Transfer the Brussels sprouts to the prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer. Place in the oven for about 7 to 10 minutes.

frying onions
We started with pre-caramelized onions that we’d frozen earlier in the year.

Fry onions. Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and fry, stirring occasionally until beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat.

Brussels sprouts and onions
Sprinkle the onions on the Brussels and return to the oven for more roasting.

Top. Stir Brussels sprouts and spread onions on top. Return to the oven until sprouts are browned and charred in spots. This charring with high heat is what brings out the good flavors from the browning, and the high heat means a shorter cooking time, so the bad flavors from the sulfur compounds don’t get a chance to form.

Serve. Serve Brussels sprouts immediately, topped with toasted pistachios.

Well, we really like our Brussels sprouts and roasting them is one of the best ways to cook them up. The high heat crisps and browns the outside, yet doesn’t cook them long enough to release those bad- tasting sulfur compounds for which brassicas are known. Four stars.

Worth the trouble?

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