Brussels sprouts often receive a bad rap, but this humble vegetable can be transformed into a mouthwatering delight with the right preparation. One of the most delightful and satisfying ways to enjoy Brussels sprouts is through a Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Bake. This dish combines the nutty, earthy flavor of roasted Brussels sprouts with the creamy richness of cheese to create a side dish that even the most ardent Brussels sprouts skeptics will love. In this article, we’ll explore the magic of Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Bake, providing you with a delectable recipe, tips for success, and a few variations to suit your taste.
Before we delve into the cooking process, let’s gather the ingredients needed to make this Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Bake.
For the Brussels Sprouts:
- 1.5 pounds (about 680 grams) of fresh Brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Cheese Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (240ml) of whole milk
- 1 cup (about 120 grams) of shredded Gruyère cheese
- 1/2 cup (about 60 grams) of grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup (about 30 grams) of panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup (about 30 grams) of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup of crispy bacon bits
- 1/4 cup of sautéed onions
- 1/4 cup of roasted garlic
Now that we have our ingredients ready, let’s proceed with the cooking process.
Step 1: Preparing the Brussels Sprouts
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Start by preparing the Brussels sprouts. Rinse them thoroughly under cold water and trim the stem ends.
- Cut the sprouts in half, ensuring they are similar in size. This will ensure even cooking.
- Place the halved Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
- Toss the Brussels sprouts to coat them evenly in the oil and seasoning.
Step 2: Roasting the Brussels Sprouts
- Roast the Brussels sprouts in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are tender and have developed a nice, golden brown color.
- Make sure to stir or toss them on the baking sheet halfway through the roasting time for even browning.
Step 3: Preparing the Cheese Sauce
- While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, it’s time to make the creamy cheese sauce.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly for about 1-2 minutes until the mixture is smooth and lightly golden.
- Gradually pour in the milk, continuing to whisk, and cook until the sauce thickens, which should take about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the shredded Gruyère and grated Parmesan cheese until they are fully melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Season the cheese sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 4: Assembling the Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Bake
- Once the Brussels sprouts are done roasting, remove them from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C).
- Place the roasted Brussels sprouts in a baking dish, making sure they are in a single layer.
- Pour the creamy cheese sauce over the Brussels sprouts, ensuring they are well-coated.
Step 5: Topping and Final Bake
- In a small bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Sprinkle this breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top of the Brussels sprouts and cheese sauce.
- Place the baking dish back in the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.
Step 6: Serving and Enjoying
- Once the Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Bake is out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes.
- Serve the dish as a delectable side for a variety of main courses, such as roasted chicken, grilled steak, or a vegetarian quinoa bowl.
- For an extra layer of flavor, consider adding optional toppings like crispy bacon bits, sautéed onions, or roasted garlic.
Variations and Serving Suggestions
While the classic Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Bake is a crowd-pleaser, you can customize it to suit your tastes or accommodate dietary preferences. Here are a few variations and serving suggestions to consider:
- Vegan Option:To make this dish vegan, use plant-based butter, almond or soy milk, and vegan cheese. There are various vegan cheese options available that melt beautifully.
- Spicy Twist:Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a drizzle of hot sauce to the cheese sauce for a spicy kick.
- Herbaceous Flavor:Sprinkle fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or chives over the top of the dish for a burst of fresh, aromatic flavor.
- Nutty Crunch:Incorporate toasted almond slices or crushed hazelnuts into the breadcrumb topping for a delightful crunch.
Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Bake is a wonderful way to transform a sometimes underrated vegetable into a mouthwatering, crowd-pleasing side dish. Whether you’re looking for a side dish to accompany a special dinner or a comforting dish to enjoy on a cozy evening, this recipe offers both versatility and deliciousness. Customize it to your liking, and watch as even Brussels sprouts skeptics become avid fans of this delightful dish. So, the next time you have Brussels sprouts in your kitchen, consider giving this cheesy bake a try – you won’t be disappointed!