Side/ Vegetarian

Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan

December 6, 2019 (Last Updated: June 5, 2020) by Chef Molly

Smashed Brussels sprouts are a great way to embrace Brussels sprouts. Tossed with parmesan, garlic, and salt, they’re crispy, tender, and delicious!

smashed brussels sprouts in bowl with lemon and parmesan cheese and fork and napkin

Finally, Brussels sprouts have arrived at my local marché in Boulogne! I love Brussels sprouts, and had a bunch of recipes I was dying to try out, only to not be able to find them anywhere. I ordered some from a local farmer a few weeks ago, but when they arrived, the sprouts were so tiny that I overcooked them almost immediately. 😑 So, when I spied some big, beautiful sprouts at one of my favorite vendors at the marché, I was thrilled. (My children, perhaps not so much.) I couldn’t decide what to do with them first but settled quickly on this Smashed Brussels Sprouts recipe. 

You may already have a favorite recipe for smashed potatoes, as I do. If not, the concept is that you par-cook the potatoes so that they are tender enough for you to smash on a sheet pan. Drizzle them in oil and salt and bake so every bite is a mix of the crispy, salty edges and creamy, tender potato flesh.

Why not apply the same concept to Brussels sprouts? In this recipe, I steam the sprouts until just barely tender, then drain, dry, and toss with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and parmesan cheese. Smash onto a sheet pan and bake, and you get the same delicious balance of crispy, salty exterior with tender middle. You will find that some of the outer leaves of the sprouts fall off when you smash them. They will brown into chips that some might find a bit on the burned side, but I couldn’t get enough of picking them off the sheet pan and snacking on them like tiny kale chips. Now for the details. 

ingredients for smashed brussels sprouts: sprouts, oil, parmesan, garlic powder, and salt

How do you make Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan?

First, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Farenheit or 230 degrees Celsius. You want a hot oven for this recipe. Rinse 1 pound of Brussels sprouts and drain in colander. Trim sprouts by cutting off the end of each one, and peeling any outer leaves that are dirty or very bruised. They should come off easily after you have cut off the bottom.

Place the cleaned and trimmed sprouts in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add a splash or two of water and cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the wrap and steam for 2 minutes. Give it a toss or a stir, and steam for another 2 minutes. Total time will depend on size of sprouts—if you have very small sprouts, start with only 3 minutes total. If you have large sprouts, you may need to add 30 seconds to cook time. They will be bright green when done and just barely tender. Err on the side of not being tender enough, as overcooked Brussels sprouts are not very appetizing.

steamed brussels sprouts

Drain sprouts and pour onto a clean kitchen towel. Dry very well with the towel, and put into a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon garlic power, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss. Then lay the sprouts out in one layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Using a sturdy jar or glass, press down on each sprout and flatten. If some of the sprouts are a bit undercooked and don’t flatten much, that’s fine. As I said, undercooked is better than overcooked. They will still crisp up nicely in the oven.

smashed brussels sprouts on sheet pan before baking

Put sheet pan into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle on remaining 1.5 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, and bake for another 5 minutes, until Brussels sprouts are browned and crispy. Remove from oven.

baked smashed brussels sprouts

Let cool slightly but serve hot, with extra parmesan cheese and lemon wedges.  

Can you make Smashed Brussel Sprouts in advance? 

Brussels sprouts are a tricky vegetable, and this smashed Brussels sprouts recipe is no exception to the rule. Reheating them can take them from perfectly done to overcooked. However, because this is a two-step recipe, you can definitely get a head start if you want to make it in advance. You can clean, trim, and steam the Brussels sprouts. When they are finished steaming, pour into a colander and run cold water over them so that they don’t continue to cook. Pat dry with a kitchen towel and put in the refrigerator until you’re ready to finish the recipe. You can also prep the grated Parmesan and spice mixture in advance. If you work quickly in tossing the cold sprouts with oil and seasonings and smashing onto your sheet pan, you may need to add a minute or two to the cooking time. 

Why are they called Brussels sprouts? (And not Brussel sprouts)

We call them Brussels sprouts because an area near Brussels, Belgium takes credit for first cultivating them. They may have been grown there as early as the 13th century, but definitely by the 16th century. They later became popular in the Netherlands, which is now the largest producer of Brussels sprouts. Many people refer to them as “Brussel sprouts”, dropping the “s” in Brussels, but that is incorrect. The grammar police thank you for your attention to this matter.

Are Brussels sprouts good for you? 

Brussels sprouts are part of the Brassica family, including kale, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Like many green vegetables, Brussels sprouts are low-calorie but are packed with nutrients. In particular, they are high in fiber, protein, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Brussels sprouts also have high levels of antioxidants, which may help lower the risk of chronic disease and protect against cancer. They are also a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are more commonly found in fish and seafood. As a result, Brussels sprouts are great for vegetarians and vegans who may be looking for plant-based sources for omega-3s! 

When are Brussels sprouts in season?

Like many of its brassica brethren, Brussels sprouts are a cold-weather crop. They are best between September and mid-February, depending on region. Generally they are first picked after the first frost and continue to grow through the beginning part of winter. If you’re lucky enough to find Brussels sprouts right after a frost, jump on them—the frost results in a sweeter sprout. Look for them either still on their thick stalk or already taken off the stalk. You want heads with the leaves tightly packed together and no insect damage.  

Other Vegetable Side Dishes

Love this smashed Brussels sprouts recipe and looking for other delicious vegetable side dishes? Look no farther than my Roasted Broccoli Rabe, Green Beans Almondine, Braised Leeks with Bacon, Roasted Broccoli and Carrots, and Roasted Romanesco Broccoli.

If you’re looking to try something new, don’t miss my recipes for White Asparagus Mimosa and White Asparagus Roquefort Gratin.

close up of smashed brussels sprouts

Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Smashed Brussels sprouts are a great way to embrace Brussels sprouts. Tossed with parmesan, garlic, and salt, they're crispy, tender, and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450g) Brussels sprouts
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2.5 T. (.5 oz/15g) parmesan cheese, divided, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Farenheit or 230 degrees Celsius.
    2. Rinse sprouts and drain in colander.
    3. Trim sprouts by cutting off end of each one, and peeling any outer leaves that are dirty or very bruised. They should come off easily after you have cut off the bottom.
    4. Place the cleaned and trimmed sprouts in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add a splash or two of water and cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the wrap and steam for 2 minutes.
    5. Give it a toss or a stir, and steam for another 2 minutes. Total time will depend on size of sprouts—if you have very small sprouts, start with only 3 minutes total. If you have large sprouts, you may need to add 30 seconds to cook time. They will be bright green when done and just barely tender. Err on the side of not being tender enough, as overcooked Brussels sprouts are not very appetizing.
    6. Drain sprouts and pour onto a clean kitchen towel. Dry very well with the towel, and put into a bowl.
    7. Add olive oil, 1 T. parmesan cheese, garlic power, and salt, and toss.
    8. Then lay the sprouts out in one layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
    9. Using a sturdy jar or glass, press down on each sprout and flatten.
    10. Put sheet pan into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
    11. Add remaining 1.5 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, and bake for another 5 minutes, until Brussels sprouts are browned and crispy.
    12. Remove from oven.
    13. Let cool slightly but serve hot, with extra parmesan cheese and lemon wedges.

Notes

If some of the sprouts are a bit undercooked and don’t flatten much, that’s fine. As I said, undercooked is better than overcooked. They will still crisp up nicely in the oven.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 140Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 406mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Jeff the Chef
    December 10, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    I’m a huge fan of Brussels sprouts, and have never had them smashed. It sounds delicious.

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