We can all agree that the villain of the winter roast dinner is the brussels sprout, a strange unsightly vegetable with a bitter taste. On the other hand, sweet licorice-like fennel is the hero of the roast vegetable, requiring nearly no work at all to taste delicious. Pairing these two together, and cooking properly, will be the answer to this particular predicament.
If you’re already thrown off by brussels sprouts, seeing how they grow is a jarring experience. These funny stalks grow up out of the ground and all along the sides are various sized, well, sprouts. You then snap them off of the stalk and cook. Roasting brussels sprouts is truly the only answer to bring out the secret, slightly nutty underside of their flavour profile. Fennel is a bulb, with its feathery top sticking out of the ground, it is one of the prettier semi-underground vegetables. Fennel requires nothing to taste good. Raw, roasted, grilled, pureed, however you want it I guarantee it will not let you down. Brussels sprouts are your middle school bully, fennel is your lifelong friend. It is for this reason I have them paired together.
There are lots of methods to take brussels sprouts up a level, and I may be wrong in my hatred for them, but it has taken a lot of searching and testing to find the perfect way to enjoy them. They must be roasted until slightly crispy, and there absolutely has to be some kind of glazing on them. Miso has been the hero of my kitchen for quite some time, making its way into polenta and porridge alike, and I guarantee that combined with honey and olive oil it did not at all let down in this recipe.
Step one (after preheating the oven to 400ºF, 200ºC): cut all of your Brussels sprouts in half, then slice the fennel lengthwise, separating the bulb into about 4 or 5 sections.
Now, in a medium sized bowl, whisk together two tablespoons of miso paste (your choice on the color – I use white miso paste, but yellow or red would work just fine!), two tablespoons of honey, and two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the brussels sprouts to the bowl and toss until they are evenly coated. Transfer them to a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven. They need to cook for a long while until they are perfect, around 35-45 minutes, and also need to be tossed halfway through cooking.
The fennel can be placed into a glass baking dish, flat side down, drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper. It also goes into the oven at the same temperature, but I would recommend putting it in a different oven if you have more than one accessible. If not, no fear the two roasting vegetables can go in together. Halfway through cooking these (at the same time as you take out the brussels sprouts to toss), flip them over and season again. The fennel also cooks for around 35-45 minutes. Once removing it from the oven you can grate some parmesan cheese over the top or just enjoy it as it is, with more salt and pepper to your taste.
The brussels sprouts will need a healthy pinch of salt over top once they are out of the oven, and just like that they are ready to serve and wow all the former sprouts haters that may be around the table.
Miso-Honey Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 200g Brussels sprouts
- 2 Tbsp each of miso paste, honey, and olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400ºF, 200ºC. Cut the brussels sprouts in half and mix the dressing ingredients together. Toss the brussels sprouts in the seasoning until evenly coated
- Transfer to baking sheet, bake for 35-45 minutes, until crispy, tossing halfway through.
- Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with salt, and serve!
- 1 fennel bulb
- olive oil to drizzle
- salt and pepper to season
- optional: parmesan to top
- Preheat oven to 400ºF, 200ºC. Slice the bulb into 4-5 sections lengthwise. Place into a glass baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for 35-45 minutes, flipping and re-seasoning halfway through.
- When serving, make sure to let the guests around the table to know to cut around the core at the bottom and to avoid the overly green bits at the top, eating mainly the bulb. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese if desired.