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In this recipe, Parmesan cheese is sort of a co-star to the roasted Brussels Sprouts. The dish is amazingly complex for being so simple — and that is the true beauty of Parmesan.

When I am in possession of a large amount of Parmesan cheese, I feel like all is right with the world. It is just one of the world’s best and most versatile cheeses. In large quantities, it shines with its assertive flavor. In small quantities, it elevates dishes, and because it’s salty, I almost feel at times like it’s also a seasoning.

Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts are perfect with simply roasted chicken and mashed potatoes. Terrific with Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms and
Pan-Fried Pork Chops. Or pair them with a roasted piece of cod, a zig-zag of lemony yogurt sauce, some couscous, and a salad. Or just eaten straight off of the baking sheet. Which is my favorite way to eat these, truly.

Parmesan Brussels Sprouts on a baking tray.

Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts: So easy to make, but thanks to the Parmesan, amazing complex and flavorful. Perfect for a weeknight fall dinner, and a great addition to a holiday table.

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Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts Ingredients

The Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe requires just a handful of common ingredients.

Parmesan cheese, Brussels sprouts, and other ingredients on marble table.
  • Brussels sprouts – These pair beautifully with the salty and savory flavor of the Parmesan and get nice and crispy in the oven after two stages of roasting.
  • Olive oil – Helps the Brussels sprouts get crispy in the oven.
  • Garlic – Fresh minced garlic and Parmesan are such a great flavor pairing.
  • Lemon zest or balsamic vinegar – Both bring a note of acidity in a very different way. If you are looking for something light and fresh, go with the lemon zest. If you are looking for something more deep, sweet, and punchy, go with the balsamic.
  • Red pepper flakes – A little spice helps perk up this side dish.
  • Parmesan cheese – Grate or shave your Parmesan at home, if possible, for the best nutty flavor. Or buy it pre-grated in the cheese section of the market. DON’T use the powdered or grated stuff in a shelf-stable can.

Parmesan Cheese vs. Parmigiano-Reggiano

Parmesan cheese (known in Italy as Parmigiano-Reggiano) is a hard, granular cheese made in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Authentic Parmesan can actually only come from that area of the country, according to Italian law (the PDO designation). Outside of Europe, the name “Parmesan” can legally be used for cheese made in the Parmigiano-Reggiano style, but not the full name. 

Pieces of Parmesan Cheese on a black surface.

Parmigiano-Reggiano is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, and there are many strict guidelines about how authentic Italian Parmesan is made. It is an aged cheese, and often the more aged it is, the more pronounced the flavor and the more expensive.

Buying a domestic version of Parmesan is also fine. If you are so inclined, buy Parmesan in chunks and grate or slice it yourself, or buy it in a market or cheese shop that grates their Parmesan regularly or has a high turnover of packaged grated Parmesan. Only buy it in the cheese case, never buy the stuff in shelf-stable cans.

Parmesan is often grated, finely or coarsely, and used in pastas, sauces, risottos, and soups. It can be thinly sliced over different dishes and salads, and it can also be eaten straight, broken into small chunks or shards, which is very common in Italy and throughout Europe. Americans use it more in cooking.

Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts on a plate with chicken and mashed potatoes.

How to Make Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

  1. Prepare the Brussels sprouts: Give them a toss with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet.
Brussels Sprouts on a lined baking sheet.
  1. Roast: Roast the Brussels sprouts for about 15 minutes, until they are partly cooked.
Woman sprinkling onto Brussels Sprouts on a lined baking sheet.
  1. Add the Parmesan: Sprinkle over the Parmesan and give them a little stir to distribute the cheese. Back into the oven they go for another 10 minutes, until the Parmesan is melted and the vegetables are tender, and everything is a bit browned and crisped in spots.
Lined baking sheet of Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

FAQs

What is the best way to cook Brussels sprouts?

Brussels sprouts are best roasted or fried. Because of their high levels of hydrogen sulfide, they tend to have a strong, off-putting taste when boiled or steamed without much seasoning. I like to roast my Brussels sprouts because it brings out their natural sweetness.

What makes Brussels sprouts taste better?

Because of the strong taste of Brussels sprouts, it is important to balance the flavor with very flavorful seasonings. I like to go hard with sweet, spicy, acidic, or salty flavors. In this recipe, I use salty Parmesan and flavorful garlic to balance out the Brussels sprouts and truly make them sing.

What is the best Parmesan to buy?

Parmesan, known in Italy as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is technically only produced in specific areas in Italy. According to the New York Times, these include Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and Bologna. Look for labels on the cheese packaging that indicate it comes from one of these four regions. If you’re not as particular as the Italian government about your cheese, the most important thing is to buy Parmesan that comes in a block or that was grated fresh by your cheesemonger.

What to Serve With Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Chops

Pepper-Mustard Strip Steaks

Milk-Braised Pork

Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts on a plate with fish, carrots, and grains.

More Recipes With Parmesan

Also, see How to Cook Brussels Sprouts!

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Best Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 People
The Brussels sprouts dish is amazingly complex for being so simple — and that is the true beauty of Parmesan.

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts (trimmed and halved)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • Zest of 1 lemon or 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • ¼ cup coarsely grated or shaved Parmesan cheese

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray or line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  • Place the Brussels sprouts on the baking sheet. Drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle over the garlic and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle over the lemon zest or balsamic vinegar. Use your hands to toss the Brussels sprouts until they are evenly coated, and then spread them out in an even single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes, until the Brussels sprouts start to soften.
  • Sprinkle over the Parmesan and use a spoon to toss the Brussels sprouts with the Parmesan until well combined, then spread them back out on the baking sheet. Roast for another 10 to 15 minutes until they are browned and tender. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm or hot.

Notes

Buying a domestic version of Parmesan is fine. If you are so inclined, buy Parmesan in chunks and grate or slice it yourself, or buy it in a market or cheese shop that grates their Parmesan regularly or has a high turnover of packaged grated Parmesan. Only buy it in the cheese case, never buy the stuff in shelf-stable cans.  

Nutrition

Calories: 95.84kcal, Carbohydrates: 10.8g, Protein: 5.08g, Fat: 4.75g, Saturated Fat: 1.1g, Cholesterol: 2.75mg, Sodium: 78.78mg, Potassium: 441.12mg, Fiber: 4.35g, Sugar: 2.84g, Vitamin A: 919.12IU, Vitamin C: 96.51mg, Calcium: 82.28mg, Iron: 1.62mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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