Tender seared brussels sprouts with crispy bacon, soft and sweet dates, and crunchy chopped apples topped with a sweet balsamic glaze. Looking for more healthy side dishes? Check these out!
I want to tell you a story. A love story…of sorts. You see, I used to hate brussels sprouts. People all over the internet go crazy for them, and I never got it. I legit thought they were gross.
Then I tasted them in a big dish of roasted veggies, and decided I could tolerate them. They weren’t terrible, but I would still find a couple lingering on my plate after I had devoured every other vegetable on there. I’m a girl who loves my veggies–I eat them first, and I almost always finish them. I would be a great example for your children.
One day, I ordered a dish at True Foods that included brussels sprouts. I took a bite and immediately went back in for more thinking it must be a fluke. They were incredible! I find myself digging around on my plate searching, trying to find every last one. I usually only do that with goat cheese! 😉
Ever since that day, there has been a new veggie love in my life and I have never looked back. These quickly became my new favorite snack, and I began the process of convincing Steve that brussels sprouts really weren’t gross (he was not convinced). I figured out what made them work for me–they had to be well cooked. Soft, but not mushy. Definitely not hard and crunchy. They also had to have a beautiful browned sear for the most possible flavor. And they are always better with bacon.
In New Orleans I had them with bacon and dates–they came with this sweet sauce, and they were literally to die for. I gave Steve a bite and he changed his mind right then and there. He told me he would only ever eat them if they tasted like that. Challenge accepted. And I added some apples because, well, it’s fall and they just make it even better.
Funny story, when I made these the first time (for testing, photographing and…dinner), I chopped up the apples to throw in at the last second. You must throw them in at the last second. I despise mushy apples. Anyway, I also sliced some up for the photo. I plated everything, took the pictures, and then after I was finished Steve asks me “Are you doing anything with all these chopped apples in the kitchen?” *face-palm* I had them all chopped and ready to go and never actually put them in. So I added them right then–at the very, very last second. I do things like that all the time–get something ready for a photo then completely forget about it. Please tell me it’s not just me.
For this second fall episode of Drink & Dish, I wanted to share something savory with you. I always forget about fall veggies and get caught up on pumpkin desserts. Brussels sprouts (and apples!) are fall all-stars as well, and I figured it was time for them to take the front seat! This dish pairs perfectly with Nicole’s delicious apple cider cocktail! Make sure you check it out, and of course subscribe to D&D on YouTube!
A delicious, healthy, sweet and savory side dish perfect for fall.
- 1 cup brussels sprouts, halved and stems removed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 slices center cut bacon, chopped
- 4 dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/2 apple (honeycrisp, gala, whatever you like)
- 1/2-1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
- Begin with the balsamic glaze by pouring balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium-medium high to simmer. Stir occasionally until sauce has reached desired thickness. This took me about 30 minutes for a very syrupy glaze. 20-30 minutes should be all you need. Once desired consistency is reached, remove from heat immediately.
- Fill a medium sauce pan half way with water. Bring to a boil. Add brussels sprouts and cook for just 2-3 minutes. Strain and remove. This step helps soften the brussels sprouts--if you like them crunchier, feel free to skip it.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Set aside any extra leaves that fall off your brussels sprouts--you'll use those later (they cook faster). Add brussels sprouts flat side down. Season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until seared and brown, about 5-7 minutes. Flip brussels sprouts and move them all to one side of your pan.
- Add bacon to the other side of the pan and cook until it begins to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add dates and extra brussels sprouts leaves. Toss to combine. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
- At the very last moment, add chopped apple and give a quick toss. Remove from heat. Serve topped with balsamic vinegar if desired. This dish is best served immediately, but leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.