I Tried Ina Garten’s Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Ina Garten and Brussels sprouts: Could there be a more perfect pairing? (Other than Ina and Jeffrey, of course.) When considering the most popular Thanksgiving recipes on the internet — many of which we’re sharing on Kitchn this month — Ina’s balsamic-roasted Brussels immediately came to mind. Not because I’d made them before, but because anybody who has won’t shut up about them.
It wasn’t that long ago that Brussels sprouts were known as the stinky, mushy veggie that you spooned onto your plate to be polite to your aunt who made them but then promptly hid under your mashed potatoes and gravy. In fact, if you were assigned to bring Brussels sprouts to Thanksgiving dinner, it probably meant you weren’t trusted to bring something important (sorry, Aunt Jan).
But Brussels sprouts have made a huge comeback. People love them now. And if you’re in charge of making them, they better be good. I had to know: Were Ina Garten’s Brussels sprouts worthy of that coveted spot on my Thanksgiving table? Here’s what I found out.
How to Make Ina Garten’s Brussels Sprouts
They’re actually really easy to prepare. You trim and halve the sprouts, throw them onto the pan with some diced pancetta, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and throw the pan into the oven to roast.
When they’re browned and crisp, you pull them from the oven, drizzle with syrupy balsamic vinegar, and serve to drooling guests.
What I Thought of the Results
When I saw that Ina’s Brussels come together entirely on the sheet tray, it was love at first sight — hello, easy cleanup on the busiest/messiest kitchen day of the year. That love only intensified when I took my first bite. The sprouts were crispy and tender and slightly sweet from the balsamic, which made them that much better when I got a bite with the salty pancetta. They’re gorgeous, too — deeply golden and caramelized and glaze-y.
I had to physically move them out of my reach so I wouldn’t eat them all from the sheet tray. And when I came back for seconds a little while later, they were still great at room temperature (making them a great Thanksgiving contender, since it’s almost impossible to serve everything warm).
If You Make Ina’s Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts …
1. Roast them even longer than she tells you to.
Ina says to roast the sprouts for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway. But I found the sweet spot to be 35 minutes total, at which point my Brussels were deeply golden and crisp, but still tender. And don’t forget to gather up all the loose outer leaves that will likely fall off when you trim the sprouts and toss them onto the sheet tray, too. They get all crunchy and potato-chippy, and in my opinion they’re the best part of the dish.
2. Make it easy on yourself and buy pre-chopped pancetta.
Many brands — including Boar’s Head and Wegman’s — sell diced pancetta in 4-ounce packages, which is how much you need for this recipe. The tiny little cubes get even crispier than a slab that you hand-chop, and the convenience ensures that these Brussels are the absolute easiest dish on the table. If you’re serving vegetarians (as I often am), you can also ditch the pancetta entirely.
Overall Rating: 8 out of 10
Now that I know exactly how long to roast these for, these Brussels might just be my new favorite Thanksgiving side.
Have you tried Ina Garten’s balsamic-roasted Brussels sprouts? What did you think of them? Or is there another famous recipe you swear by every year? Tell us everything in the comments below!