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Harissa Brussel Sprout Roast – An easy side dish to put together with both Middle Eastern and Latin flavors. Quick and easy but oh so full of flavor!
When I was a child, brussel sprouts were not very popular here in the US. My first experience with brussel sprouts was when I was doing an internship at a theater company in college. There was a dinner scene in the play and so there was also frozen brussel sprouts on set as part of the dinner. After working a long day, I was starving and one of the cast members suggested I have some brussel sprouts, although they weren’t cooked. He said they tasted fine as is, once defrosted, as he popped them into his mouth.
I tried it and thought it tasted awful. It would be more than 10 years before I would every try brussel sprouts again. My best friend since we were 8 years old never liked vegetables and hardly ever ate any vegetables, other than potatoes or plantain. When she said she had discovered a love for brussel sprouts, I was amazed of all vegetables for her to like, it had to be those dreaded brussel sprouts. One night I was sleeping over her house and she made roasted brussel srpouts, and OMG no one was more shocked than I how much I loved them.
Brussel sprouts have become very popular in the last 10 years and now are often included in holiday meals. I am so happy these have been added to or in some cases, replaced the dreaded green bean casserole. I’m sorry, but that green bean casserole is another thing I don’t understand how people love it. Perhaps because I don’t have the nostalgia many people attach to it because with my Caribbean parents, that casserole was never part of our holiday meals. I have only ever had it when visiting other friends.
Anyway for those of you who love it, have at your Green Bean Casserole and I will dig into my Roasted Brussel Sprouts. I added some Latin and Middle Eastern flavors to this dish to create a globally inspired version that came out so delicious. Something about bacon and brussel sprouts – the two flavors marry so well. You almost always will find bacon included in brussel sprout dishes and I did the same here.
Although you can use regular oil, if you would like to find out how to make the annatto oil I used, see here.
Some of you might not have heard of culantro, which I used here in the mixed herbs. It is used a lot in Caribbean cooking. In Spanish speaking islands, it is often called recaito and in English speaking islands, it is often called shadoe beny.
People usually have strong feelings about cilantro, they either LOVE it or HATE it. If you love cilantro, you will love culantro even more. It tastes similar to cilantro, but with a stronger flavor. It is used to make sofrito and green seasoning.
It looks very different, with much larger leaves.
This is such an easy side dish to put together and stick in the oven. You can alter the herbs and spices as you prefer. I went a little Middle Eastern in the flavor profile. However, if you want to make it Italian, use rosemary, parsley and oregano instead. Add some chives and 5-spice powder if you want to go Chinese.
You can even make different versions of this same dish at your next party. Just change the flavor profile of each.
I have nut allergies, but if you would like to add a little crunch to it, you can add some toasted pecans or walnuts.
Harissa Brussel Sprout Roast
- 1 lb. halved brussel sprouts
- 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed herbs mint, cilantro, cilantro
- 1 tablespoon annatto oil
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- salt to taste
- 4 slices bacon chopped into lardons
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- In a large baking tray, combine Brussel sprouts, garlic, herbs, oil, harissa and salt. Mix to toss everything together.
- Add bacon on top.
- Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Toss with a spoon.
- Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
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