This dish is literally a party in my mouth. As a long-time veggie lover, I’m always looking for new ways to prepare vegetable-focused meals and side dishes. Although it’s easy to get stuck in a vegetable rut, as they can tend to veer on the plain and boring side, there is no reason to stay there. Jazz them up with some bacon and a sweet, maple dressing, and you’ll score veggie gold.
My favorite vegetable changes all the time, but my current obsession is brussels sprouts. Not only are they fun to eat because of their unique texture, but sprouts are also incredibly nutritious. They’re an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, and K, and a good source of fiber, too. They also pair well with all kinds of different foods, making them a great alternative to a routine side salad.
Although topping sprouts with bacon and a maple dressing may seem a bit odd, the flavor combination actually pairs really nicely with them. The thin layer of sweet dressing is balanced by the salty and crunchy bite from the bacon. Together, they add richness to the sprouts and highlight their natural nutty flavor. This dish is the perfect way to introduce someone to sprouts or show your resident vegetable-hater that veggies can actually taste good. I also think it proves that bacon really does make everything better. Enjoy!
- 1 pound sprouts
- 3 slices bacon, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rinse sprouts under cold water and pat dry. Trim them to remove any brown or wilted leaves and cut in half. In a large bowl, combine halved sprouts, 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper (go easy on the salt here–the bacon will add extra saltiness to the dish). Spread mixture evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring once. Be sure to keep an eye on the sprouts to avoid overcooking (they taste best when al dente–tender but with a slight firmness). In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium-hight heat and line a plate with paper towels. Add bacon and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer cooked bacon to the paper towels to drain the fat. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, and vinegar. Remove the sprouts from oven and place in a bowl. Add bacon and half of the maple dressing and stir to combine. Check the sprouts for flavor, adding more dressing and salt as desired (I used about 2/3 of the dressing in total).
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