Today’s smoky vegan Brussels sprouts recipe makes a fantastic plant based side dish for Thanksgiving dinner or a simple weeknight meal. These roasted vegan Brussels sprouts are gluten free and soy free, and can be ready in under 20 minutes. Even if you’ve always avoided eating Brussels sprouts, you’ll be reaching for seconds!
Brussels sprouts get a bad rap even among the most devoted vegetable lovers, but if we look closer, we’ll see that this happens for two reasons.
Why Do Most People Hate Brussels Sprouts?
First, most people just haven’t found a good way to cook them. We’ve all tried boiling, sauteing, pan-frying, roasting them – yet the sprouts still retain their off-putting sulfuric flavor and a weird texture.
Second, as this article from The Guardian suggests, some people are genetically predisposed to hating the flavor of Brussels sprouts. Some of us are born with a special gene that causes us to be bothered by some components of brassica vegetables (such as Brussels sprouts).
A similar thing is the reason for why some of us hate cilantro.
While I can’t help you change your genes, I can definitely give you some pointers for the best way to cook Brussels sprouts.
Use these tips to make my smoky vegan Brussels sprouts recipe, and you’ll be amazed at their rich, umami flavor and fantastic texture: crispy on the outside, and perfectly tender on the inside. Yum!
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What Is the Best Way to Cook Brussels Sprouts?
The best way to cook Brussels Sprouts is by roasting them! Quite a shocker, right? 🙂
The reason why your previous attempts to roast Brussels sprouts ended in failure is that you’ve probably didn’t roast them right.
Tips for roasting Brussels sprouts properly:
1. Trim them right. Rinse your Brussels sprouts and pat them dry. If you bought them loose (not on a stalk), gently cut off the dried-up bottom of each sprout. Be careful not to cut off too much, or the outer leaves will fall off.
(If you’ve cut the sprouts straight from the stalk, the cut will still be fresh, so no need to trim it further.)
Next, cut the sprouts in half lengthwise. Now comes a tedious yet important part: cutting out the core that the Brussels sprout leaves are attached to.
Using a paring knife, make a small diagonal cut into the core of each sprout half, about 3-4 millimeters deep (step 1 in the image below). Repeat on the other side. Don’t cut too deep – you only need to remove a small triangular sliver of the core without cutting into the leaves.
Once the sliver is removed, your sprout will look like step 2 in the image above.
Note that if you’re pressed for time (or just don’t feel like it), you don’t have to cut out the core. However, if you do it, this will improve the texture of roasted Brussels sprouts quite a bit since the core is usually the last thing to soften during roasting, and often stays tough even when the leaves have burned or turned into mush.
2. Put them cut face down (not up!) on a greased baking sheet. This creates a trap for the inner moisture of each sprout half. The moisture will help the inner leaves get perfectly tender while the cut side gets nicely charred and the outer leaves become crispy.
Apply the seasonings (see what I’m using for my smoky Brussels sprouts in the recipe card), then set them face down on a greased baking sheet like I did below. Don’t use parchment paper or silicone liners because they’ll prevent the cut side from getting charred.
3. Set the oven temperature to 425° F. Your oven needs to be quite hot to kickstart the inner steaming of the sprouts. At the same time, it shouldn’t be so hot that the sprouts burn before they get a chance to become tender.
I love throwing together a batch of Brussels sprouts roasted this way, and serving them with my easy 20-minute vegan mashed potatoes.
This is one of the 15 kid friendly vegan recipes from this blog that have been approved by my 2 year-old toddler.
How to Make Smoky Roasted Vegan Brussels Sprouts
My smoky vegan Brussels sprouts recipe follows the trimming and roasting steps outlined above.
Once the sprouts have been trimmed, I toss them with smoked paprika, granulated garlic, dried thyme, a pinch of cayenne pepper, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Then I add maple syrup and oil.
After that, I spread the seasoned Brussels sprouts on a greased baking sheet cut side down. A few detached sprout leaves are OK – they’ll make delicious sprout chips later.
I roast the sprouts in the oven for about 12 minutes at 425° F, then toss them. Some sprouts will stay cut side down, and other will face up – that’s ok.
I put the baking sheet back in the oven, and roast them for another 4-5 minutes until the sprouts become tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. If the detached sprout leaves start becoming too burnt, I take them off the tray before the rest of the sprouts are done.
These smoky vegan Brussels sprouts are simple enough to make for a weeknight meal, yet they are flavorful and festive for serving as a plant based Thanksgiving dish.
Your guests will never guess that their rich, smoky, and distinctly umami flavor is achieved without any animal products.
I came up with this recipe out of longing for the amazing roasted Brussels sprouts recipe from now defunct blog by Kittee Berns called Cake Maker to the Stars.
Before Kittee took her site down, I made this recipe every year during the Brussels sprouts season. I don’t remember the exact recipe ingredients and proportions, so I had to do my best to recreate it and use it again.
Thank you for your recipe inspiration, Kittee, and please know that your blog is dearly missed 🙁
For more healthy plant based side dish recipes from the blog, check out my slow cooker Southern collard greens, easy balsamic sauteed kale and onions, easy 5-ingredient vegan mashed potatoes, easy 4-ingredient gluten free buffalo cauliflower, simple roasted butternut squash (can be made Italian or Indian-style), and gingered broccoli and cauliflower.
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