Brussels sprouts, a hardy cabbage with a slight bitterness, are a tasty, nutritious, readily available vegetable in the winter months. They store well in the refrigerator a good week or so, making them a great vegetable to keep on hand for a last-minute wholesome dish. Brussels sprouts take well to boiling and roasting, and if shaved thinly, are delicious additions to a raw salad. And as a bonus, they, like all members of the cabbage family, are a health nut’s friend: low in calories and high in fiber.
My favorite combination, Brussels sprouts and grapes, seems to be popping up everywhere. For good reason—what a great combination of color, flavor, and texture! The recipes I’ve found use a ratio of about 1:1 or 2:1 Brussels sprouts to grapes. While grapes are undeniably delicious, the bulk of their calories come from sugar. To me, this results in a dish that is too sweet, too sugary,and not in line with the low-calorie and high-fiber attributes I want to highlight. My recipe limits the amount of grapes to keep this both a well-balanced and calorically sound side dish.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Red Grapes
1 pound Brussels sprouts (about 5 cups), washed, ends trimmed, and sliced in half from stem to tip
1 cup seedless red grapes, washed, preferably organic
1 to 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 450˚F. Put some aluminum foil or parchment paper on a baking sheet with a rim for easy cleanup.
- Place Brussels sprouts and grapes onto baking sheet and drizzle with enough olive oil to lightly coat, and season the mixture with salt and pepper. The mixture should not overlap, so that everything can roast evenly. Roast Brussels sprouts and grapes for about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the Brussels sprouts. Toss the mixture once or twice during the cooking process. The dish is done when the sprouts are starting to turn a caramel brown and yield to a fork or knife and the grapes are almost at the point of bursting.
- Just before serving, drizzle with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and check if you need to add additional salt and pepper.
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Apples. Substitute cubed apples for the grapes.
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Red Grapes with Herbs. Embellish this basic dish by adding 1to 2 tablespoons chopped herbs (rosemary or thyme would be nice) to the baking sheet before it goes into the oven and/or adding chopped toasted nuts (such as walnuts or pine nuts) just before serving.
- Simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Strip this dish down and simplify even more—simply roast the Brussels sprouts on their own without the addition of red grapes.
When you halve the Brussels sprouts, some of the outer leaves will fall off. Throw these leaves onto the baking sheet and roast them with the Brussels sprouts and red grapes. If the leaves become overly browned, even blackened, taste them before discarding. These crispy bits can be delicious.
Brussels sprouts are low in calories and a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin B6.
This dish is delicious hot from the oven as well as room temperature. Pack any leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch—just beware that not everyone likes the smell of cooked cabbage.