Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Parmesan and Lemon

“Brussels sprouts and garlic get a touch of sweetness when roasted in olive oil. A finishing touch of Parmesan and lemon balance out the sweetness.”

With age comes wisdom. That old adage explains how I have come to appreciate Brussels sprouts. For years I balked at them. As a kid I downright refused them, pushing them around on my plate until I worked every last nerve my mom had. I couldn’t understand then what was so appealing about Brussels sprouts. They were bitter and green and just too weird. But, I’ve grown up since then and I would like to think my taste buds have matured. So with my, ahem, experienced palate, I have come to admire the pure, simple masterpiece that is the Brussels sprout.

I love them many ways, but roasted Brussels sprouts are my favorite. A little olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, lemon and a hot oven is all you need to make this satisfying side dish.

Brussels sprouts can be bitter and that bitterness can be hard for some people to tolerate. That’s why I love to roast them. The roasting process causes the natural sugars in the sprouts to caramelize, resulting in a slightly nutty, lightly sweetened flavor.

It only makes sense that these little sprouts are also packed with nutrition. They are a great source of vitamin C, a phytonutrient that combats disease-causing free radicals and helps protect the immune system. Brussels sprouts also contain sulforaphane, a chemical that has potential to ward off certain type of cancers.

The recipe below highlights the simple beauty of Brussels sprouts. The sprouts are lightly coated in olive oil then tossed with garlic. After they are done, they are tossed with tangy, salty Parmesan cheese and balanced with a little fresh lemon zest. It’s a side dish that’s perfect for anything from a weeknight supper to a holiday gathering.

Food Safety Tip: Brussels sprouts can be a little tricky to clean and can harbor unwanted bacteria and dirt. To clean them, peel off any outer leaves that look bruised or discolored. Trim off the ends and then rinse under cold water, using a scrubbing brush to reach nooks and crannies.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Parmesan and Lemon

Recipe by Sara Haas, RDN, LDN


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed (instructions above)
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon, washed and zested


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Trim the stem ends of the Brussels sprouts and remove the outer leaves if blemished. Cut sprouts in half and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add the olive oil, garlic, black pepper and salt to the bowl with the Brussels sprouts and toss to combine. Spread the sprout mixture out onto the baking sheet.
  4. Roast the Brussels sprouts, stirring halfway through roasting, until they are tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
  5. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the Parmesan cheese and lemon zest just before serving.
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Sara Haas
Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, is a Chicago-based dietitian and co-author of the Fertility Foods Cookbook. Read her blog, The Cooking RD, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.