These maple dijon brussels sprouts are tangy, sweet, salty, and crispy. First, you roast or saute the sprouts in bacon grease, then you pour over a maple, dijon mustard, and balsamic vinegar glaze for the perfect sweet & sour punch.
These were a hit at my family’s Thanksgiving, and the perfect way to introduce sprouts into your diet. My boyfriend was initially skeptical when he saw these, but once he took a bite he said that if all brussels sprouts were made this way there wouldn’t be so many people who hated them! The key to good brussels sprouts is cutting them small enough (halves or quarters) and then making sure that they get crispy, which you can do on the stove or in the oven! Maple dijon brussels sprouts are a perfect weeknight side dish, and they are fancy enough to add to your holiday table.
Before I made these brussels sprouts along side some burgers and kabocha squash fries for dinner, I stopped at Sprouts to pick up a few ingredients, as I do almost every night (I have a well-known grocery shopping problem). I found myself weirdly drawn to all of the Christmas candy and cookie displays that they had on the floor, and kept scanning ingredient list after ingredient list to find a treat that would work for me. I was super excited to find Gingersnap Snackaroons that were grain and refined sugar free, but they had the dreaded statement “processed in a factory with wheat” at the bottom. Then I saw a certified Gluten Free holiday assorted cookie pack. I attempted to tell myself I didn’t need 20 cookies that were really expensive and half covered in powdered sugar, but after another trip around the grocery store still desperate for something sweet I decided yes, I really needed these cookies.
Next thing you know, I’m ripping the packaging off the cookies and eating them like I haven’t eaten in 4 days in the middle of the Sprouts parking lot. Another thing important to note here is that I live about 1.5 minutes from Sprouts, there’s no need to scarf down cookies in the car. After about 3 cookies, I glanced down and realized that A. I was covered in powdered sugar and B. the cookies didn’t even taste good, at all (I make much better ones at home!). At this point, I drove home, attempted to get a hold of myself and put the cookies down, and then threw them away- because as mentioned before they weren’t very good and I have zero self control when food is in reach.
This is a pretty unusual situation for me. I don’t often over-indulge unless it is something worth it, like Thanksgiving pie or a freshly baked cinnamon roll from my local gluten free bakery on occasion. So once I got home I wanted to figure out what the heck just happened. The answer was threefold. First, I’ve been weaning myself off of Prednisone, a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation. In a nutshell, prednisone can reduce adrenal function, which is one of the many reasons I’m getting off of it. The adrenals produce many hormones, one of which is cortisol, which is involved in blood sugar regulation and also released to help cope with stress. Without the prednisone, my adrenals are having to learn to make their own cortisol again, leaving me exhausted and unable to cope with stress. This was a huge light bulb for me because as I’ve been tapering I’ve been gravitating toward caffeine and sugar to stimulate me, especially in stressful situations.
Second, I realized the most basic thing – I was hungry! I’ve been a bit sick for a month or so, so I haven’t had much appetite and have returned to my former ways of skipping meals since I have no internal hunger signal. That day, I had skipped lunch, which left me ravenous and reaching for something filled with carbs to quickly appease my appetite. I’m happy to say I’m back to eating three square meals a day as my appetite has been returning!
Third, I’m totally re-addicted to sugar. I spent months off of all sugar this year because I was on a very low carb diet. When I came off the diet it was a little maple syrup here and there. And then it was the occasional cookie. Then candy. Then full-blown sugar addiction. Even though I know it is a problem and I’m going to have to give it up again, I’m waiting for after my vacation and the holidays to rip off that band aid, but I’m going to try to keep it more in check for now.
If you’re still here, you may be wondering why I’m telling you all this. It is because I think that it is really important to look at your food behavior through the lens of curiosity. If I had beat myself up and felt guilty about the shoving-cookies-in-my-face-in-my-car-in-the-dark incident, I wouldn’t have learned anything, and I’d feel terrible and probably do it again the next day. When you come from a place of curiosity, you can determine if you want a treat because it is worth it (see: freshly baked cinnamon roll), if your body is trying to ask you for something it needs, or if you are trying to fill an emotional need with food. This is especially important during the holiday season and can help you avoid food guilt, which gets you nowhere!
Anyways, on to the recipe!
- 1 lb Brussels Sprouts
- 3 Slices Bacon
- 1/2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tbs Maple Syrup
- 1 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup Toasted Walnuts
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Cook bacon, reserve grease.
- Cut ends off brussels sprouts, then cut in to halves or quarters depending on size.
- Toss brussels sprouts with bacon grease, salt, and pepper and spread onto baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Mix mustard, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Pour over brussels sprouts, mixing well. Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes, until well-glazed.
- Put walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 3-4 minutes, until fragrant.
- Combine brussels, walnuts, and bacon. Serve.
- Remove bacon when done, add brussels, salt, and pepper and mix well to combine. Cook over medium high heat, letting brussels cook for about 5 minutes before flipping them. Allow to cook for about 4 minutes on the other side, then add glaze and cook until glaze is reduced and sprouts are crispy.