These Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce and Citrus are one of my all-time favorite ways to enjoy the leafy green veggie when it starts popping up in the fall and winter months.
Brussels sprouts are lightly oiled and tossed with salt before taking a turn in the oven to crisp up into golden brown morsels of tastiness. They're then dressed in a Vietnamese fish sauce vinaigrette that is spicy, sweet, and positively bursting with umami. Finally, they're finished with a sweet + tart array of fresh citrus and a sprinkle of mint, which results in a dish that is jam-packed full of flavor with texture to spare.
This recipe is an inspired adaptation of a beloved dish from a local Portland restaurant that I used to love in my college years. At the time, I was moonlighting as a broke marketing intern so learning to make a version of the dish myself at home was the only way I was going to get to enjoy it very often. In addition to Brussels Sprouts, the original dish also included cauliflower, tofu (and if my memory serves me right, mushrooms?), but I've kicked all three to the curb in favor of letting the Brussels Sprouts be the main star. My vinaigrette is a lightly spicy, refined sugar-free adaptation that includes a kick of fresh mint that I think pairs so well with the generous amount of winter citrus included.
My secret flavor weapon: Fish Sauce
If you aren't already mildly obsessed with fish sauce, I implore you to go buy a bottle and start adding that sh*t to everything immediately. It makes everything from scrambled eggs, to sauces, soups, and vegetables taste about 100 x better (give or take) due to it's salty, briny, umami flavor. It's the perfect punch of flavor to round out the spicy, citrus-forward vinaigrette in this recipe. My favorite kind of fish sauce is this one because it's literally just flavored with anchovies and sea salt without any extra sugars or other unnecessary garbage.
How to prep the Brussels sprouts for roasting
- Rinse your Brussels sprouts, ensuring that any residual dirt has been removed, then drain.
- Give the Brussels sprouts a pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. You don't need to get every single drop of water off, but the sprouts will roast better when they aren't water-logged.
- Peel back any outer leaves that are yellow or blemished.
- Using a paring knife, trim off the bottom stem of the sprouts, then slice each sprout in half lengthwise. If your sprouts are especially large, you can slice them again into fourths. Some of the leaves will fall off the Brussels sprouts - but don't discard them. They will become extra crispy little bites of texture when roasted and are my favorite pieces.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with a small amount of oil and salt until evenly distributed, then transfer to your parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure that your baking sheet is large enough to accommodate the Brussels sprouts without too much crowding as this will help them to brown and crisp better.
The trick to perfectly crispy Brussels sprouts
- Pat dry the Brussels sprouts after you wash them. Water-logged Brussels sprouts are more likely to steam cook, resulting in soft sprouts so do a quick pat dry with clean kitchen towel before roasting and go light on the oil.
- Evenly distribute the Brussels sprouts on your baking sheet. Choose a baking sheet that is large enough to accommodate all of the Brussels sprouts without crowding so they have ample opportunity to crisp evenly. If your baking sheets are on the small side, use two.
- Roast at high heat. 425 degrees F (218 C) is my go-to for roasting these Brussels sprouts. You want them to get some intense heat so they obtain lovely brown bits without losing their crunch. Roasting at a low heat for longer will likely result in a softer, less crunchy sprout. I know some prefer to broil theirs for an even shorter amount of time (and you can totally do this!) but depending on the size of the sprouts, broiling can result in a burnt rather than nicely roasted end result and I just don't want to have to watch them that closely.
- Don't move them. Don't flip them. Just let them be. There's no need to open the oven and toss the Brussels sprouts for even browning because you didn't crowd the pan (right?). Just let them do their thing.
What kind of citrus should I use?
In addition to the lime juice used in the vinaigrette, I dress these Brussels sprouts with Fish Sauce in ample amounts of citrus fruit. I think this dish is especially brilliant with both oranges and grapefruit and love to use a mix of multiple different types each time I make this dish.
In the winter months when Brussels sprouts are most plentiful, my favorite choices are blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, and pink grapefruit. However, this dish is beautiful with so many other types of citrus so use what's most readily available to you. Overrun with a fruit bowl full of Mandarin oranges such as clementines, Satsumas, or tangerines? Add them to this dish!
Adjusting the heat level of the vinaigrette
These Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce and Citrus pack a bit of heat owing to the Thai chilis contained in the vinaigrette. When developing this recipe, I made the unfortunate error of adding way too many Thai chilis the first time I made the vinaigrette. Three seemed like the appropriate amount for the sauce so that's what I added. Thankfully, I tasted it before I poured it over the Brussels sprouts because we would have been in for some seriously fiery sprouts!
Capsaicin, the naturally occurring compound that is responsible for a pepper’s heat is measured using the Scoville scale in Scoville heat units (SHU). To give you some perspective, here are a few examples on the Scoville scale, rated in Scoville heat units (SHU):
- Carolina Reaper 800,000-3,200,000 SHU
- Habanero 100,000-350,000 SHU
- Thai chili 50,000-100,000 SHU
- Serrano 10,000-23,000 SHU
- Jalapeno 3,500-8,000 SHU
- Poblano 1000-1,500 SHU
- Bell 0-100 SHU
As you can see, the Thai chili isn't the hottest option you could use in this recipe, but is significantly higher is SHU than both Serrano and Jalapeno peppers, for example. I've found that the right heat level for us is one Thai chili pepper, thinly chopped. When left to marinate in the oils and vinegar contained in the vinaigrette, it offers a delightful hit of heat without overpowering the flavor. Though I will admit that the lucky few who get a chunk of the actual pepper in their bite are in for a slightly hotter zap than those bites dressing simply in the liquid portion of the vinaigrette.
If you aren't so keen on the idea of Thai chili heat, you can easily swap them out for a Serrano pepper or the milder Jalapeno pepper. For more tips on using Jalapenos in a milder way, see my posts for Jalapeno Poppers with Sausage and Cream Cheese or this Cuban Picadillo.
What should I serve these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce and Citrus with?
These Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce and Citrus make a delicious accompaniment for simple main dishes. Because there are such punchy flavors in this dish, I like to let the main course be a bit more simple and let the Brussels sprouts do all the heavy lifting. Grilled or roasted chicken, steak, or fish are all great choices serve alongside or on top of this dish, as are Thai meatballs (recipe coming soon).
What tools do I need to make this recipe?
- A cutting board
- A paring knife
- A large mixing bowl
- A small mixing bowl
- Measuring spoons
- A baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Are you looking to upgrade to your cooking tools or replenish your pantry? Check out my kitchen tools shop page and pantry staples shop page to find my must-have kitchen tools, pantry items, and other Whip & Wander favorites.
A note for special diets
These Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce and Citrus are grain-free, gluten-free, and friendly for Paleo diets.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce and Citrus is a healthy side dish that is spicy, sweet, and savory. This Vietnamese recipe is gluten-free and Paleo friendly.
For the Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 2 tbsp honey, melted if solidified (may sub coconut sugar)
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp mint, chopped
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tsp garlic-infused olive oil (may sub 1 garlic clove, minced + 2 tsp olive oil)
- 1 Thai chili pepper, finely chopped (may sub for Serrano or Jalapeno for less heat)
For the Roasted Brussels Sprouts
To dress and finish
- 2 ½ - 3 cups citrus* (blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, and pink grapefruit), peeled and sliced into supremes and/or slices
- Mint leaves to top, optional
For the Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
- I like to prepare the fish sauce vinagrette first before roasting the Brussels sprouts so that the flavors have ample time to marinated together. In a small mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients for the vinigrette, tossing quickly with a fork to blend. Reserve to the side.
For the Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and reserve to the side.
- Rinse the Brussels sprouts, ensuring that any residual dirt has been removed, then drain and give them a pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. You don’t need to get every single drop of water off, but the sprouts will roast better when they aren’t water-logged.
- Peel back any outer leaves that are yellow or blemished. Then using a paring knife, trim off the bottom stem of the sprouts, then slice each sprout in half lengthwise. If your sprouts are especially large, you can slice them again into fourths. Some of the leaves will fall off the Brussels sprouts – but don’t discard them. They will become extra crispy little bites of texture when roasted and are my favorite pieces.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with the avocado oil and sea salt until evenly distributed, then transfer to your parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure that your baking sheet is large enough to accommodate the Brussels sprouts without too much crowding as this will help them to brown and crisp better.
- Transer the baking sheet to the oven and allow to roast for 20-25 minutes or until the Brussels sprouts have become tender and deeply golden around the edges. Any loose leaves should be dark and crisp at this point.
To dress and finish
- Pour the vinaigrette over the top of the sheet of roasted Brussels sprouts and quickly toss to combine.
- Transfer the Brussels sprouts to a serving dish, then top with citrus and optional mint leaves. I like to use a combination of citrus depending on what's available at the moment. For more info see the bolded section of this post titled 'What Kind of Citrus Should I Use?"
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
*I prefer a combination of blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, and pink grapefruit but use whatever is most easily accessible to you - See more in the 'What Kind of Cirus Should I Use? section in bold above)
- Serving Size: 1 portion (⅙ of recipe)
- Calories: 163
- Sugar: 12 g
- Sodium: 1336 mg
- Fat: 6 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 23 g
- Fiber: 6 g
- Protein: 8 g
Keywords: Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce and Citrus