Maple and bacon are two flavors that deserve more recognition. You can glaze your bacon in maple syrup for your homemade Sunday Brunch, you can find bacon garnishing maple donuts, or you can mix the two flavors into your veggie side dishes. No, seriously.
Like cabbage, brussels sprouts can take on any flavor. Easy Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts are a foolproof way to get vegetable haters to chow down on brussels sprouts. They are entirely baked in the oven, so they are a great side dish for large gatherings like Thanksgiving since you’ll need all the stove space you can get.
Brussels sprouts are best served when they are tender in the middle and crisp on the outside. The leaves tend to take on a crunchy texture, yet they melt in your mouth the second you take a bite. To get the perfect crispy texture on these sprouts, halve them and bake them cut-side-down so that the oven browns the cut bottoms deeply and evenly. Remove any loose leaves because they will burn to nothing in the oven.
Bacon is the main flavor component here, so splurge for the high-quality stuff. Thick-cut smoked bacon will render in the hot oven, leaking its fat right into the vegetables. Thin-cut bacon will likely burn in the oven, so go for the thick stuff. You could even use lardon or pancetta here if you have it, but the result will be less smoky.
Having an oniony element in the dish creates a more well-rounded flavor. Use sliced shallots because their sweetness will highlight the maple syrup and caramelize in the oven. You could also use sweet Vidalia onions here, but shallots are an elevated ingredient that takes this dish from casual to upscale.
An elevated side dish deserves a bed of flavorful arugula to catch all the juices. Arugula is slightly bitter and peppery, so it plays off of the sweetness well. It also helps cut through the richness of the bacon. As folks serve themselves, the arugula will mix with the warm brussels sprouts, making for a perfectly balanced side dish.
Serve these Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts at your next Thanksgiving gathering, dinner party, or family dinner. They are a well-rounded side that will please everyone, even the ones who do not like vegetables. You cannot go wrong with sweet bacon-flavored veggies!
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Set it aside.
Trim and halve your brussels sprouts. Discard any loose leaves, as they will burn in the oven.
On your prepared baking sheet, add the brussels sprouts, raw diced bacon, sliced shallot, olive oil, maple syrup, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Toss everything together with your hands to evenly coat. Arrange all brussels sprouts cut-side-down into the baking sheet so that the flat bottoms get crispy in the oven. Make sure the bacon is evenly scattered around the sprouts so that it crisps up nicely in the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts are browned and crispy on the flat side and the bacon is crispy. Your sprouts may be larger depending on the time of year, so increase cooking time if necessary. If there are still underdone bacon bits, turn on the broiler for 2-4 minutes until everything is nicely crisp.
Remove the sprouts from the oven. Serve them over a bed of arugula alongside a meaty main course. Finish with an additional drizzle of maple syrup if desired. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days, reheating in the oven or toaster oven as necessary.