If there are those in your family who are reluctant to embrace the nutty deliciousness of roasted Brussels sprouts, I can almost guarantee you'll win them over with this simple four ingredient recipe. Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Jam are a match made in heaven, and work as either a delicious holiday side or as an easy hors d'oeuvres course.
My father-in-law, Pat, has long insisted that he doesn't like either Brussels sprouts or green beans. While I have done my darndest to avoid either veggie for our family gatherings, I recently decided to perform a test. Could I change his mind about Brussels sprouts? Could I win him over to Team Cruciferous? Spoiler alert: I succeeded on both fronts.
Table of contents
- Bacon Jam? Really?
- How to Make the Easiest Holiday Appetizer, EVER
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Need more inspiration for your holiday spread? Check out these other yummy recipes:
Bacon Jam? Really?
Bacon jam might sound weird or even gross to those of you who aren't in the know. I'm here to help you see past your pre-existing beliefs that jams should be exclusively made from fruit. Bacon jam is a delicious condiment that borders savory and sweet, enriching everything from simple grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers to humble Brussels sprouts and buttermilk biscuits.
The main ingredients of most bacon jams are onions, garlic, brown sugar, vinegar and sometimes coffee. It basically mimics the flavors of an Italian agrodolce with the addition of everyone's favorite pork product. Awesome, amirite?
While you can certainly make your own bacon jam - and I highly recommend that you do sometime! - you can absolutely "cheat" by purchasing a store bought version. As far as I'm concerned, you're still cooking and making something delicious, so there's no shame in the store-bought game.
If you're looking for suggestions, the Trader Joe's version does a bang up job of packing a lot of flavor into a tiny, inexpensive jar. (Weird, I know. Because TJ's never makes yummy things in tiny packages, right?) If you don't have access to TJ's, Stonewall Kitchen also makes a great version, although it is a bit pricier.
How to Make the Easiest Holiday Appetizer, EVER
To make this delicious holiday side (or appetizer!), you need just five simple ingredients - brussels sprouts, bacon jam, olive oil, salt and pepper. I can basically guarantee you have at least three of the five on hand already, so there's no reason not to make them!
To roast brussels sprouts to perfection, you'll first want to crank the heat on your oven. Get the temp up to a sweltering 450F. While things are heating up, it's time to address your brussels. Give them a good wash, then remove the stem side and cut them in half, removing any discolored leaves in the process. If some of the healthy leaves fall off, just toss them on the parchment-lined tray with the halves.
Next up, drizzle the brussels sprouts with olive oil and sprinkle them with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Get in there with your hands to toss everything together, getting all the nooks and crannies coated in seasoning. Now flip all of the halves so the cut side is facing down for roasting - this will ensure maximum yummy browning to take place.
Pop the sheet tray in the oven and roast them for about 25 minutes, until the halves are fork tender, are starting to look golden brown and the removed leaves and crispy and brown.
Using a small spoon, swipe about ¼-1/2 teaspoon of bacon jam on each half. Alternately, if you're serving this as a side dish, you can warm the bacon jam to soften it and drip it all over a bowlful of the brussels sprouts.
These are definitely the best when warm, but they will be quite delicious at room temperature too. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Any chance you have an easy way to spice this appetizer up a bit?
Heck yeah! You know Joe and I are suckers for heat, so we always have a few spicy tricks up our sleeves. First of all, you can spice up the roasted brussels sprouts themselves by adding cayenne, red pepper flakes or ghost pepper to the salt and pepper prior to roasting.
You can also make your own bacon jam a spicy version by adding any of said capsaicin-heavy options to the mix. If you're going store bought, Terrapin Ridge Farms makes a spicy Bacon Pepper Jelly. You can also add a squirt of sriracha alongside the bacon jam to continue the sweet-savory theme.
Ok, I bought a jar (or made a batch) of bacon jam for this recipe. What can I do with the rest?
Let your imagination run wild! Bacon jam is a great accoutrement for any cheese plate. Make a simple appetizer by layering cream cheese and bacon jam on crackers (or load that stuff into an omelette). Add some bacon jam to your grilled cheese, BLT or breakfast sandwich.
Add a dollop to your burger. Use it as a base sauce for pizza. Eat it with toast (and add a little peanut butter and bananas if you're feeling like The King!). Add some to your waffles or pancakes with maple syrup. Smear a bit on your avocado toast. Seriously, the sky is the limit with this stuff. It's DELICIOUS.
You said this could be served as an appetizer. Have any serving suggestions?
If you're wanting to serve these delicious roasted brussels sprouts with bacon jam as an hors d'oeuvre (fancy word for finger food), I'd recommend attaching a toothpick to each one as a simple way to keep things clean and hygienic. You can also opt to serve them in Chinese soup spoons for a pretty display on a platter.
Alternately, let people serve themselves by offering appetizer plates and small forks. Just be sure everyone is keeping their forks to themselves in this strange COVID season to keep things safe.
Need more inspiration for your holiday spread? Check out these other yummy recipes:
- Harissa Maple Sweet Potato Tian
- Tandoori Roasted Turkey Breast
- Orange Cranberry Jalapeño Relish
- Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Creamy Maple Vinaigrette
- Easy Mushroom Gravy (Make Ahead!)
If you made these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Jam, please let me know how they turned out in the comments below. I love hearing how things go in the kitchen for y'all!
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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Jam
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Wash, dry, and halve brussels sprouts, removing root ends and any sad looking leaves.
- Toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange cut side down on parchment lined sheet pan.
- Roast for 35-40 minutes, until crispy and fork tender. Allow to cool slightly so you can handle them. Swipe with about ½ teaspoon of bacon jam each. Alternately, warm the bacon jam and drizzle it over a bowl of the brussels. Enjoy!
- You can use store bought or homemade bacon jam.
- If you want the brussels sprouts to be a little spicier, feel free to roast them with cayenne, red pepper flakes, or ghost pepper flakes.
- You can also add a small squirt of sriracha to each brussels sprout alongside the bacon jam.