Move over mushy boiled Brussels Sprouts! This gratin takes sprouts to a whole new delicious level, and it’s really quick and easy to make too.
I really really love Brussels Sprouts. They’re probably one of my favorite vegetables. Because of that, I tend to not fuss much and typically just roast the Brussels sprouts whole like this. When you do that, the outer leaves get all crispy and the insides are soft like potato. So good!
However, there are times when I want to do something different, something a little fancier. Then I turn to this gratin. Now, I agree that “gratin” does sound fancy, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult thing to make, All that it is is a dish prepared with a crunchy topping, usually including breadcrumbs or cheese. In fact, this Brussels Sprouts gratin is so simple that it’s a great recipe to have in your back pocket for the holiday season. It’s wonderful served with a Thanksgiving turkey or any kind of roast.
The reason this particular gratin (and my other favorite gratin recipe, this zucchini gratin) are so simple, is that I don’t bother to make an actual Béchamel sauce. You see, a lot of gratin recipes have you make a thick white sauce, the béchamel, by whisking together flour and butter and then slowly drizzling in milk, and then brining that up to a simmer. I’ve found that a drizzle of heavy whipping cream mixed with the veggies does the trick, no sauce-making required.
Note that if you’re using a vegetable that gives off a lot of water, like zucchini, mixing the veggies with some all-purpose flour before adding the cream will help stop the sauce from being watery. We don’t need to do that here though because Brussels sprouts don’t let off a lot of water.
What Is A Gratin?
As mentioned, a gratin is a dish that gets baked with a topping of breadcrumbs and often cheese. It adds a deliciously satisfying golden brown crunch.
You may know the technique from potatoes au gratin but you can make all sorts of dishes this way. Spinach, cauliflower, zucchini, or like today – Brussels sprouts.
How To Make a Vegetable Gratin
First, you need to decide if you want to do individual portions in ramekins or a larger single dish. I actually prefer the larger single dish, even though I photographed this one in a ramekin. The single dish is quicker and simpler both to make and to serve. The one that I use is similar to this.
To make things cook the quickest, it’s best to use a dish that allows your vegetables to be in a single layer, or mostly a single layer, where half of the vegetable is touching the bottom of the baking dish and the remaining pieces are poking up a bit. Letting everything have that room will allow it to cook more quickly.
For the Brussels Sprouts gratin, I roast the sprouts for a bit first before adding any sauce. This will work well for any vegetable that is on the hard side and take some time to cook through. For instance, if you’re making a cauliflower gratin, you can absolutely cook the cauliflower right in the sauce, but since it takes a little while, your topping risks getting too dark. So, you can either add the topping towards the end, or you can par-cook the cauliflower either by roasting or simmering first.
Next you’ll add your sauce. As I said, you can use a béchamel or you can just go in with some whipping cream. You don’t need very much, especially if your vegetables aren’t very deep in the pan.
The final step before baking is the topping. My favorite thing to do for a topping is to mix panko breadcrumbs with some cheese and seasonings and then a bit of cooking oil. By mixing the crumbs with the oil, you are making sure that every little bit gets some, which will make it toast more evenly. Sprinkle that mixture over the vegetables and sauce, and bake. Alternatively, you can skip the cheese and just do the breadcrumbs, or skip the crumbs and just do the cheese.
And then you’re baking the gratin until the vegetables are fork tender, the sauce is bubbling, and the topping is crispy. Do let the gratin rest for at least 5 minutes before serving so that the sauce can relax and thicken a bit.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of this recipe. Have a great day! -Christine xoPrint
You can bake this Brussels Sprouts Gratin in individual ramekins as pictured, or in a single dish that is about 15 inches.
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this tasty side dish, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:
- 1 lb. medium-sized brussels sprouts
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, tightly packed
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Trim the bottom stem nub off of the Brussels sprouts and cut them all in half. Put the sprouts in a gratin dish or casserole dish that is wide enough that the sprouts are only one or two deep, being sure to include any little leaves that fell off in the trimming process since these will get nice and crispy and extra delicious when roasted.
- Toss the sprouts with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper.
- Roast in the oven until they are starting to get nice and brown but are still a bit al dente when pricked with a fork, 25-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile combine the panko, cheddar, garlic powder, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Use your fingers to crumble it together so that the cheese breaks up into smaller bits and really mixes into the crumbs. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and mix up the crumbs again.
- Measure the heavy cream into a measuring cup and then stir in the nutmeg. Drizzle the cream over the roasted sprouts and then stir them up a bit to get them all evenly coated.
- Spread the breadcrumb mixture evenly on top and then return the dish to the oven. Bake until the crumbs are crispy and golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
- Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
This recipe originally appeared in October, 2012, and was revised and republished in June, 2022.