There is a season: Time to show roasted Brussels sprouts the love

  • Roasted sprouts and dates, dotted with toasted almonds. What’s not to love? MOLLY PARR

For the Gazette
Published: 11/28/2020 12:18:06 PM
Modified: 11/28/2020 12:17:56 PM

I’m honestly not sure why people complain about Brussels sprouts. First off, they look like adorable mini cabbages.

Secondly, they are incredibly delicious. Brussels sprouts are related to some of my favorites I’ve championed in this column, including cabbage, collard greens and kohlrabi, and they are full of Vitamins C and K.

“What’s not to love?” as my mother would say. 

I must admit that only a few years ago was the first time I’d seen Brussels sprouts on the stalk. They are a lovely sight: all the bright green buds growing up a long, thick stem.

As pretty as they are, Brussels sprouts do require a bit of preparation, even when not on the stem. (My husband has a scar on his thumb from paring sprouts one Thanksgiving, but that’s another story.) It’s a bit tedious and I end up sitting down at the table instead of standing at the counter to prep them. I tend to cut off the rough ends, then slice the sprouts in half, and, if needed, peel off a layer or two if they look a little drab. 

It wasn’t until my 30s that I learned that people added bacon to their Brussels sprouts. Apparently it’s super delicious, although I tend to keep mine vegetarian. For years my go-to was to saute Brussels sprouts with leeks, like my Aunt Bev always does at Thanksgiving. Sometimes I’d add chestnuts to the pan to make them even more autumnal. Perhaps I’d roast them in a hot oven after a toss with maple syrup. 

Last week I was watching my favorite channel — PBS Create — and in a commercial break between cooking shows this newest recipe was suggested by Mike Colameco: roasted with dates and slivered almonds. It sounded so easy, and I am a huge fan of dried fruits and nuts in fall dishes, so I gave it a shot. 

The result was delicious, and was a welcome sight on our Shabbat table. We actually roasted them nestled between four salmon filets in the toaster oven and everything cooked at the same time. We served our sheet pan dishes with a celery root and rutabaga slaw. I enjoyed the leftovers of these so much that I decided to serve them again, six days later on Thanksgiving. 

Roasted Brussels sprouts with dates and toasted almonds 


1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cleaned and quartered (It comes to about 3 cups)

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of kosher salt 

12 dates, pitted and chopped

One quarter cup sliced almonds


Preheat the oven to 400F

Toss the quartered Brussels sprouts with the oil and salt in a medium-size bowl. 

Lay them on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 10 minutes. 

At the 10-minute mark, add the dried dates to the Brussels sprouts and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes. 

While everything roasts, toast the sliced almonds in a small skillet on medium-low heat for about six minutes. Watch them carefully: burnt almonds are worthless.

When the Brussels sprouts have finished roasting — they should be golden and browned in spots — slide them out of the oven, add the toasted almonds. Toss and serve. 

Molly Parr lives in Florence with her husband and two young daughters. She's been writing her food blog, Cheap Beets, since 2010. She was furloughed from Smith for the summer and is using the time to work on her first cookbook. Send questions or comments to 

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