This is one of those times when what you happen to have in the fridge goes into the oven and what comes out is unexpectedly awesome. [Along with being unexpected, I was unprepared and had to make do with my iPhone as a camera and dim, yellow kitchen lighting..]
All I wanted to do for dinner was roast some brussels sprouts, just plain and all by themselves, because I hadn’t had them yet this fall and I love them. But when I go to search on the internet “how to roast the perfect brussels sprouts,” all these exciting things come up. Maple brussels sprouts with bacon, brussels sprouts with apples and walnuts… now my creative juices started to flow a bit. I didn’t have an apple, but I had big red grapes. No bacon, but leaner Canadian bacon which would be delicious all roasted and crispy. Rosemary, because it’s my favorite herb in the fall and the bush outside our house is getting rather large. And maple walnuts, because I had just bought a large bag of walnuts for no particular reason, and candied nuts are such a fall thing [in my head at least].
I had a good feeling when I mixed it all up and put the pan in the oven. And 30 minutes later, the realization came that my brussels-sprouts-roasting had gone to ten new levels. I stacked my fork with each element to get a monster bite which included just about every texture, every flavor – sweet, salty, meaty, herby, nutty, charred – and tasted like cozy sweet fall on a fork. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
At that point I realized this dish deserved a place on the blog, and then I spent too many minutes fooling with my iphone camera and ugly yellow dim lighting to attempt to do it justice in a photo. But just trust me, this dish tastes way better than it looks on here!
Brussels Sprout – Grape – Canadian Bacon Roast, inspired by this
- 1 lb brussels sprouts [this is just an estimate of what I used]
- 2-3 handfuls seedless red grapes
- 4 slices canadian bacon
- 1-2 T olive oil
- 1 t chopped fresh rosemary
- sea salt + pepper to taste
- 1-2 T balsamic vinegar
maple candied walnuts:
- 1 t butter / vegan spread
- 2 T pure maple syrup
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- sprinkle of sea salt
- 1 t rosemary, chopped
Preheat oven to 425F. Rinse and slice brussels sprouts and grapes in half. Keep any leaves that fall off the sprouts as they are the crispiest, tastiest part of this dish! Chop canadian bacon into bite-sized pieces and put all of this in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and toss to evenly coat. Roast in the oven for 25-35 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove when sprouts are tender and outer leaves are starting to brown and crisp.
While this deliciousness is roasting away, prepare your candied nuts. In a small skillet, melt the butter/spread and then stir in the maple syrup. When mixture is bubbling add the walnuts, rosemary and a sprinkle of sea salt. Stir constantly until coated and nuts are sticky and caramelizing. Remove from heat and set aside.
As soon as you remove the pan from the oven, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, add in candied walnuts and toss it all together. Serve warm and enjoy!
Serves 2-3 as a main dish, 4 as a side
These brussels sprouts will definitely be a side dish on my Thanksgiving table this year! What’s your favorite way to cook them??