Trey Ellis

Of all vegetables, few get as bad of a rap as Brussels sprouts. For reasons unknown to us, from a young age our minds are inoculated to turn our noses up to the leafy green orbs. But they’re packed with potential. When cooked well, the vegetable is both crunchy and soft and has a mild sweet cabbage flavor while supporting the other flavors in a dish. But Brussels sprouts can be made poorly—very poorly—and this is almost always a matter of a mushy texture and under seasoned flavor.

One preparation of Brussels sprouts is a surefire way to prevent either of these cooking problems: smashed Brussels sprouts. This method of cooking blanches the Brussels sprouts in boiling salted water until soft, and then they are smashed into flat discs, patted dry, seasoned, and roasted in the oven. The blanching ensures that the Brussels sprouts are fully cooked, and the smashing creates a lot of surface area for the vegetable to be in contact with the baking sheet, meaning that the exterior becomes a crispy and slightly fried skin while the inside maintains the soft and sweet texture of a freshly cooked Brussels sprout. The extra surface area also allows the flavors of olive oil, garlic, and salt to better penetrate the vegetable as it roasts in the oven.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the Brussels sprouts to an ice bath, and once cool, place Brussels sprouts on a layer of paper towels to dry slightly.

Step 2

Move the Brussels sprouts to a cutting board, and smash them with the base of a glass or a pan to make them into flat discs. Pat these discs dry with paper towels.

Step 3

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toss the smashed Brussels sprouts with olive oil,  minced garlic, kosher salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, tossing them halfway through. Feel free to add chopped bacon or Parmesan cheese for an additional savory element.