I had the best brussels sprouts of my life at this place called Uchi in Houston recently. They were sweet, they were crispy and they were gone in a few minutes. I asked the waiter how they were so delicious and he said, “Giiirrrlll, LOTS of brown sugar.” My first thought was…I need to figure out how to make these at home! I then realized that I had to figure out how to make these without any processed foods, aka the brown sugar.
Thankfully, this turned out to be easy to do with maple syrup in the picture! These Crispy Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts are amazing!! Crispy sweet brussels sprouts surrounded by maple caramelized bacon… unbelievable! I could honestly eat two pounds of brussels sprouts when they are cooked this way.
I used nitrate free uncured bacon in this recipe. So far, Oscar Mayer has been the only brand at my grocery store that offers bacon without added nitrates. I’ve tried to do some research on the pros and cons of nitrate-free bacon, but its all pretty inconclusive. Either way, this was what I had in my refrigerator and it worked perfectly for the recipe.
I like crispy bacon that has not been fried. So, I cooked mine in the microwave before putting them in the brussels sprouts. I placed five strips on a plate lined with paper towels and covered the top of them with paper towels and cooked them for 2 minutes. Then I replaced the paper towels (they absorb a lot of the fat) and put them back in the microwave for 3 minutes. I then cut them up into inch-sized pieces and put them into the pan.
It’s wonderful watching how the bacon becomes caramelized with the maple syrup… it becomes thick, glossy, and has SO much flavor. It’s what I imagine candied bacon should taste like.
But the best part has to be the brussels sprouts themselves. They are juicy and crispy at the same time. The maple flavor seeps into all the leaves and renders this vegetable into a magical vegetable candy that you just can’t get enough of. They would be a perfect side to many a meal, but I also think they could be great all on their own. I could eat a big bowl of these as a meal all by itself.
These Crispy Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts are a must try. Not only because of how delicious they are, but also because they are easier than you would think to make. Plus, your eating brussels sprouts in a whole new way.
The amount of time that these brussels sprouts need to cook in order to really get them fully cooked and crispy depends on how big they are. Mine were little, so if yours are bigger, you may need to cook them longer. You could cut them in half, but I prefer keeping them whole… I just like eating them in one bite!
This recipe was shared at the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable.
- 4-5 strips of nitrate-free bacon
- 1 pound of brussels sprouts (about 4 cups)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 Tbs maple syrup
- ⅛ tsp salt, pinch pepper
- 10 Tbs water (divided to be used at 3 separate times)
- Place a paper towel on a microwave safe plate.
- Place the bacon strips on the paper towel and then cover in another paper towel.
- Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes. Check on the bacon and replace with new paper towels and heat for another 2 minutes. (if you are making 5 strips, you'll probably need to do an extra minute or two in the microwave) Once the bacon cools, cut the strips into inch long bits and put aside.
- Put olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
- Put the brussels sprouts into a saute pan.
- Cover them with 2 tbs of pure maple syrup, salt, pepper and 2 tbs of water.
- Once the liquid boils(1 min), reduce the heat to medium.
- Let the brussels sprouts cook, stirring every now and again, until the liquid thickens and evaporates (should be caramel-like in substance)--for 7 minutes.
- Add the bacon and 4 tbs of water and let them cook, stirring every so often, until the liquid evaporates again-- another 7 minutes.
- Add another 4 tbs of water and let them cook until the liquid evaporates again. HOWEVER, this time don't stir the brussels sprouts at all. This should take about 6 minutes.
- Mix and then cook for 2-3 minutes more without mixing to let them crisp. They are done once you can stab them with a knife and the knife easily goes through it.