On a recent visit to our local farm market, I came across these amazing brussels sprouts. They were huge. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but I had to give them a try. Turns out it was a really good thing. I used a basic but wonderful recipe to prepare them. One that I’ve used many times. It’s an Ina Garten recipe, featured in her cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof.
Before we get started, I must tell you that I made one significant change to Ina’s formula. Instead of using pancetta, I chose to replace it with bacon. Not that I have anything against pancetta …it’s just that sometimes it can be on the salty side. It depends on the brand and how it is cured. Since we try to limit our sodium intake in this household, bacon is usually the first choice.
Normally, I would simply halve my brussels sprouts before roasting them. Not this time. These guys were so large that I had to quarter most of them. The goal is to make them similar in size so that they roast evenly.
And a helpful tip on dicing that bacon …use your kitchen shears. Unless the bacon is partially frozen or super cold, it can be easier to break it down into small pieces with scissors!
So you’re gonna love this part. This whole thing is combined right on the baking sheet. No extra bowls or dishes to clean up. Just pile it on …the brussels sprouts, diced bacon, and olive oil. Toss it around with your hands. Spread it out into a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. That’s it. Hold onto the balsamic vinegar …that’s added after the roasting process.
This is when you’ll use that balsamic vinegar. It can be added to the roasted sprouts right on the baking tray, then tossed together. I prefer to transfer the roasted goodies to a serving dish, then top it off with the syrupy balsamic. Like a drizzle effect. Either way will be delicious.
balsamic roasted brussels sprouts
Perfect side dish for poultry, beef or pork.
- 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed & halved (cut through the core)
- 4 ounces smoked bacon, diced
- 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar (see Recipe Notes)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place the brussels sprouts on a sheet pan along with the diced bacon. Be sure to include some of the loose sprout leaves, which get crispy when they’re roasted. Add the olive oil and toss with your hands to be sure that all of the sprouts are coated. Spread the mixture into a single layer. Season evenly with the salt and pepper.
Roast the brussels sprouts for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’re tender and nicely browned and the bacon is cooked. Toss once during roasting. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle immediately with the syrupy balsamic vinegar. Taste for seasonings and serve while hot.
Aged balsamic vinegar tends to be syrupy. And expensive.
If you prefer, you can simmer regular balsamic vinegar on the stove for a few minutes until it is reduced to half its volume. You will then achieve the desired syrupy texture for the balsamic drizzle.
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