Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Pancetta

These Brussels sprouts with walnuts and pancetta are a perfectly tasty and rich side dish. And it’s keto, too. Brussels sprouts are roasted until crisp, instead of what you might be used to. Mixed with salty pancetta and crunchy nuts, they take on a whole new flavor profile.

Brussels sprouts with walnuts and pancetta on a large white floral platter with 2 serving forks.

Adapted from Molly Devine | Keto After 50 | Rockridge Press, 2021

High in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, this rich side dish doesn’t compromise health for flavor! Roasting is an easy hands-off cooking method that produces a crispy texture—it makes Brussels sprouts irresistible, even if you weren’t previously a fan. This side is also wonderful served with crumbled goat cheese for a really rich dish.–Molly Devine

Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Pancetta FAQs

Can I substitute bacon for pancetta?

If pancetta is unavailable, you can substitute bacon, cut it into 1/2-inch (12-mm) strips. It may take a little longer to crisp than pancetta, so add it to the Brussels sprouts after they’ve been roasting for 10 minutes and continue to cook until everything is crispy, 20 to 25 minutes more. Keep in mind that bacon can be quite salty, so you may want to reduce the amount of salt you use for seasoning the Brussels sprouts.

How do I choose Brussels sprouts?

Look for bright green, tightly packed Brussels sprouts with intact outer leaves. Give them a secret squeeze in the grocery store, they should be firm with a little resistance. Smaller sprouts are generally sweeter, and sprouts that are all the same size will cook at the same time. Stored in your crisper, Brussels sprouts will last 7 to 10 days.

Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Pancetta

Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Pancetta on a large white floral platter with 2 serving forks.
Feel free to prepare your Brussels sprouts on the stovetop if you prefer. Just pan fry the veggies and meat in olive oil over high heat until crispy, then toss with the nuts to finish.
Molly Devine

Prep 15 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 55 mins
Sides
American
4 servings
457 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved or quartered if very large
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces pancetta cut into 1/2 inch (13 mm) strips
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • Place the walnuts on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Toast the walnuts until just browned and fragrant, but not burned, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the oven, roughly chop, and set aside, reserving the foil on the baking sheet.
  • In a large bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and pepper, and toss to coat well. Dump the Brussels sprouts onto the prepared baking sheet, reserving the bowl.
  • Roast the sprouts until beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the pancetta, and toss to blend. Return to the oven and roast until the sprouts are golden brown and the pancetta is crispy, 10 to 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and return to the reserved bowl.
  • Add the chopped toasted walnuts to the warm Brussels sprouts and pancetta, and toss to coat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the vinegar and drizzle over the mixture. Toss to coat and serve warm.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 457kcal (23%)Carbohydrates: 14g (5%)Protein: 10g (20%)Fat: 42g (65%)Saturated Fat: 8g (50%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 11gMonounsaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 19mg (6%)Sodium: 510mg (22%)Potassium: 577mg (16%)Fiber: 5g (21%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 869IU (17%)Vitamin C: 97mg (118%)Calcium: 67mg (7%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I love any preparation of Brussels sprouts but it’s taken me years to get my family to eat them. As long as they’re disguised with other tasty ingredients they will usually eat a few. When I saw Brussels sprouts with walnuts and pancetta and balsamic vinegar I thought I had hit the trifecta, and I was right. 

I didn’t serve this with the goat cheese as was suggested in the narrative. I think the creamy goat cheese would add a nice dimension and I will try that next time. I’d reduce the amount of pancetta and walnuts by half as there just seemed to be too much of both and made the dish a bit too salty. Overall, the flavors blended well. The sprouts were caramelized and tender and the pancetta was crisp with just a little extra roasting. Needless to say, my family ate every one.

Let’s be honest here. The combination of crispy roasted Brussels sprouts, salty pancetta, buttery walnuts, and tangy balsamic is hard to beat. I’m drawn to recipes like this, especially when entertaining because you know it is going to be a hit and it is simple to put together.

Another thing I loved about this recipe was the use of garlic powder; I don’t use many dried herbs or seasonings in my cooking, but garlic powder is one of a few that I reach for often. It really does add a lot of flavor to whatever you add it to, and you don’t need much of it to make an impact on the overall dish. I served my brussels sprouts alongside a paprika roast chicken and a butternut squash purée.

This recipe for Brussels sprouts with walnuts and pancetta makes the most of Brussels sprouts. And it’s relatively quick and easy. I added the loose leaves, so they got nice and crispy.

These were very large sprouts, so I cut the larger ones in quarters. Overall, this was a delicious dish, and I will make it over and over again. I served these as a side with mustard-glazed pork chops and roasted potatoes. Delicious!

This dish of roasted brussels sprouts with walnuts and pancetta is in my opinion the very best version of roasted brussels sprouts I have ever had. Roasted brussels sprouts by themselves are incredibly delicious, but adding in the other components and the dressing takes this dish to the next level.

It’s the season for Brussels sprouts. The addition of walnuts and balsamic vinegar was the hook to try this sprout recipe. Both of these ingredients were definitely a great flavor booster and added a little glamour and crunch to this very basic vegetable.

I did end up using bacon over pancetta, but I did not think it was at all a deterrent to the final product, just remember to adjust the amount of added salt. These Brussels sprouts were the perfect accompaniment to serve alongside a grilled steak and baked potato on a beautiful fall evening.

Brussels sprouts with balsamic are such a classic dish for a reason and this is a great sheet pan variation on that theme. I’m not sure why I never put garlic powder on vegetables I roast but it really was a nice touch here. The pancetta is nice, but honestly, there’s enough going on here that vegetarians could omit it and not feel like anything was missing. I’d eat this any night of the week.

Originally published November 8, 2021

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