A Simple and Surprising Addition to Roasted Brussels Sprouts? Grapes.

updated Nov 21, 2019
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Ring a ding ding! It’s Brussels sprouts season, y’all! If you’re part of the millions of Americans on board with the Brussels sprouts boom, it’s almost certain your Thanksgiving menu will feature these green gems. There are many ways to cook them — from tossing them into a salad to baking them into a casserole — but my favorite, by far, is simply roasting them in the oven. I love the way the insides caramelize and the outer leaves flake into crisps. 

That being said, Brussels sprouts aren’t the easiest vegetable to get right. Use too little oil and they’ll come out of the oven with a disconcertingly grassy texture. Take them out of the oven too soon and they’ll have an unpleasantly dense bite to them. But with the right recipe, it’s a side that can’t be beaten. The key, I have discovered, is to highlight that rich, caramelized flavor by pairing it with something sweet. 

Why Grapes Pair So Well with Brussels Sprouts

I have rarely ever advocated for cooking fruit: It already seems perfect the way it is! But when I stumbled across this Martha Stewart recipe that suggested roasting grapes and Brussels sprouts together, I had to try it.

It didn’t take much to turn me into a convert. While raw grapes make for a bright, crunchy snack, roasted grapes are thick, sweet, and complex in a sophisticated way. Texturally, the heavy veggies and buoyant fruit make quite the pair. And it’s simple and easy to do: Any kind of grape will work, and you can add them to practically any roasted Brussels sprouts recipe you like. Simply slice them in half, toss them in the same oil and seasoning you’re using on the sprouts, and roast everything together. Martha suggests incorporating a handful of toasted nuts at the end, which adds quite a lot of flavor and texture.

Finally, drizzling the medley in balsamic vinegar is like icing the proverbial cake: It gives the candy-like grapes a slightly more distinguished flavor. This sweet dish is dynamic enough to pair well against roast turkey and the rest of a Thanksgiving feast, but it could also make a nice weeknight side dish to a simple roasted fish or chicken breast.

Get the recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grapes with Walnuts from Martha Stewart