A sliced pear and balsamic reduction bring balance to roasted Brussel sprouts to create a delicious autumn vegetable side dish.
Few vegetables have psychologically scarred as many people as Brussels sprouts. The bad childhood experiences of being forced to eat these little buggers understandably has turned many of you against this vegetable. However, Newseek last year named Brussels sprouts as one of the Top 12 most popular Thanksgiving side dishes. What gives?
First, I have nothing but respect for the past generation of cooks, of which my mother and granny were a part, but they didn’t prepare Brussels sprouts correctly. We either got steamed or creamed (ugh) sprouts. Second, according to a Mental Floss article, sprouts until the 1990s were terribly bitter due to the method by which they were harvested and the high amounts of glucosinolates called sinigrin and progoitrin. Glucosinolates are a natural but bitter compound found in cabbage, mustard, and horseradish. Farmers searched for heirloom seeds with less amounts of sinigrin and progoitrin thereby finding ways to grow Brussels sprouts that are less bitter.
Brussels sprouts, no longer the hated vegetable, now are embraced by many home cooks and restaurant chefs. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pears is inspired by a Taste of Home recipe. However, the original called for roasting the fruit with the sprouts, but that didn’t make sense to me. Roasting a pear for 25 minutes or more will turn it to mush, so I tossed raw sliced pears into the finished sprouts along with balsamic syrup. I left out the walnuts and rosemary but added a little spice to the sprouts and was pleased with the end results. It’s a well-balanced side dish for the holidays or a Sunday dinner. Let’s get cooking.
To make Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pears, which yields six servings, you’ll need these ingredients:
1½ Brussels sprouts, halved
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Arizona Dreaming salt-free seasoning
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 large pear, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
½ cup balsamic vinegar
My friend, Leslie (an outstanding home cook), recently gave me a small jar of the Arizona Dreaming seasoning. I recommend this Penzeys mix for any kitchen as it's perfect for vegetables, fish, chicken, even pork. But if you don't have any, you can try blending 1/8 teaspoon each of the following: paprika, onion powder, and pepper.
Directions for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pears
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse the Brussels sprouts and trim the bottom stem, removing any discolored outside leaves. Slice the sprouts in half lengthwise. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (makes for easy clean up).
Drizzle sprouts with oil and sprinkle the Arizona Dreaming seasoning and salt. Toss until coated and spread evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes. Flip and sprouts and roast another 10 minutes.
While sprouts finish roasting, heat (medium-high) balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan for 10 to 15 minutes until vinegar is reduced by a third and lightly coats the back of spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.
Wash pear. Cut in quarters lengthwise around the core. Slice each quarter in ½-inch pieces.
Remove sprouts from oven. Toss pears with sprouts and drizzle mixture with balsamic reduction. Serve immediately.
I like the simplicity of this recipe because the flavor of the Brussels sprouts come through. The original recipe’s ingredients of walnuts and rosemary, I think, only mask the vegetable’s taste, and with the improved line of Brussels sprouts we now have, there’s no need for this. The pear adds a lovely sweetness and the balsamic reduction finishes the dish with a tangy and slightly sweet end. I hope you'll try it!
About the blog
Three Women in the Kitchen is an award-winning food blog offering today’s home cooks comforting, hearty recipes with a personal touch. The website also pays tribute to Deborah’s mother, Katie Reinhardt, and paternal grandmother, Dorothy Reinhardt (the “three women” in the kitchen). Whether you’re an experienced or a novice cook, you’ll find inspiration here to feed your families and warm your heart. Subscribe today so you won’t miss a single delicious detail.