Bacon is a magical ingredient. It can take a fuddy-duddy dish and turn it into something out-of-this-world good, even vegetables with bad reputations can become a fast favorite when we add a little bacon. Brussels sprouts have a checkered past as a loathed childhood vegetable that was forced upon us, but that’s because they likely were just boiled to death and rendered soggy and flavorless. Brussels sprouts are actually quite good and we’ve found many delicious ways to prepare them, one of those recipes is a deliciously creamy and crunchy Brussels sprouts bake that will win over even the most skeptical of Brussels sprouts haters.
It’s the combination of a savory cream sauce, buttery herbed breadcrumbs, and chunks of bacon bits that really make this Brussels sprouts bake something drool-worthy. You’ll want to handle the sprouts with care, and that means cooking them in a way that keeps their texture and flavor intact. We blanch our Brussels sprouts first, preserving their color and their firmness for the baking process. Then they’re tossed in a wonderfully creamy sauce that is made fragrant and flavorful with onions and garlic. The Brussels sprouts are topped with toasted panko breadcrumbs tossed with an herby melted butter and, of course, salty bits of bacon that will bring just a subtle yet perfect crunch to each and every bite.
We just love that Brussels sprouts are finding a new place on people’s plates these days. They’re one of those veggies that needlessly earned a bad reputation and we’re out to prove that they’ve always been good – it’s just about how they’re prepared. A dish of crispy bacon Brussels sprouts will convert the skeptic as well as please the connoisseur of Brussels sprouts. Besides, anything topped with bacon is going to be good! Bacon and Brussels sprouts baked together will get you to eat more veggies!
Crispy Bacon Brussels Sprouts Bake
45 minutes to prepare serves 4-6
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into pieces
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon thyme, chopped + 2 sprigs for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9x13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Blanch Brussels sprouts in a pot of boiling water until just tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Cook bacon in a large pan. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Remove most of the excess grease from the pan.
- Add 2 tablespoons butter to the same pan. Sauté onions and garlic until fragrant. Whisk in flour and simmer until just golden brown.
- Add mustard, milk, balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, and ½ cup parmesan cheese. Stir until sauce begins to thicken. Mix Brussels sprouts in sauce then transfer to prepared baking dish.
- In a separate pan on medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon thyme. Add panko breadcrumbs and ½ cup parmesan cheese. Toss until just combined. Mix in bacon pieces.
- Sprinkle bacon pieces and breadcrumbs over top of Brussels sprouts. Transfer dish to oven and bake 15-20 minutes until sauce is bubbly and breadcrumbs are golden in color.
- Cool 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh sprigs of thyme.
Recipe adapted from Closet Cooking.