I’ve found that the best way to crisp up Brussels sprouts is in the oven. First halve them lengthways, toss in olive oil and salt, and lay them hump side up on a baking tray. Roast in a hot oven until the tops are crackly and look like they’re on the verge of being burnt. Burnt to a crisp on the outside with a soft, tender interior. Take them as far as your judgement will allow. Taste as you go if you’re doubtful.

Also worth mentioning here that if you see a certain area of the Brussels sprouts getting darker on the tray, flip the tray around to brown them evenly. Cooking times may also vary vastly depending on where in the oven you place them, how snugly they sit on your tray etc. Go by eye.

A word of caution: Brussels sprouts can be bitter to begin with, and roasting them this way can take them further down that road. I personally like that, but if you’d like to tone the bitterness down, take them out of the oven a little sooner. They won’t get as crispy but will still taste very good.

Whilst the sprouts are cooking, do the other bits: grate the Parmesan, zest the orange, and coarsely pound your black pepper. Once the sprouts are cooked to your liking and still very hot, toss in most of this mixture. The heat will bring out the oils from the zest and also melt the cheese ever so slightly. Sprinkle the remaining mixture over the top and there you have it!


Servings: 3 people


  • 500 grams Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Salt, to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 200 C.
  • Mix together the Parmesan, pepper and orange zest. Refrigerate until needed.
  • Halve the Brussels sprouts and remove any wilted outer leaves. Toss in olive oil and salt. Lay them cut side down on a baking tray without too many overlaps.
  • Roast them for anywhere between 20-35 mins until deeply browned and crispy. How long this takes largely depends on where in the oven you place them, how crowded your pan is etc. Keep an eye out after 20 mins.
  • Once the sprouts are browned to your liking and still very hot, toss them with 3/4 ths of the Pamesan-pepper-orange zest mixture. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 over the top and serve hot.


Serves 3 people as a side.


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