Cranberry Orange Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts.

Tell me I’m not too late.  That you haven’t already done all of your shopping.  That your list isn’t already printed, finalized, and ready to go.

The calendar gods really pulled one on us this year – am I right?  Thanksgiving feels SO early!  I swear I was making a Halloween costume last week.  I had a small panic attack last weekend when I realized that Thanksgiving is next week, and I hadn’t cooked (or even thought about cooking) a single thing.

I started jotting down recipe ideas, making grocery lists, and organizing myself for a big week of cooking.  And then I took a second look at my calendar and realized Casey was headed to Dallas for the week.  Womp womp.  So that was part of the reason for my vague whiny post on Monday, as well as my lack of amazing Thanksgiving-ness this week.

But the nap gods heard my cry, and blessed me with the perfect trifecta of adequate photography lighting, a refrigerator with necessary ingredients, and most importantly – a three hour afternoon nap perfect for putting together this rustic bowl of deliciousness.

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I don’t make green bean casserole on Thanksgiving.  Nothing against it – it’s just not my thing.  But I still always make sure we have some green on the table.  And save me the talk about not liking Brussels sprouts until you have tried this dish.  This is bright in both color and flavor!

Cranberry Orange Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts

by Emily Malone

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • 1 stalk Brussels sprouts (or 1 large bag), trimmed and halved
  • 1 pint fresh cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. If you are using stalk of Brussels sprouts, start by carefully trimming the sprouts off the stalk. Be careful not to lose a finger or two. If you bought sprouts in bulk or in a bag, you have saved yourself the step of lugging a huge stalk of Brussels sprouts home from the store, as well as the task of trimming.

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Next, trim the individual sprouts. Cut the woody end off the bottom, discard any loose leaves, and cut each sprout in half lengthwise.  Rinse and drain your cranberries, and add to a large mixing bowl along with trimmed/halved sprouts.

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Toss berries and sprouts in 2 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Spread evenly onto a baking sheet and pop into the oven to roast for about 40 minutes (stirring once halfway through cooking).

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While the sprouts are cooking, get the walnuts ready for toasting. If you have whole walnuts, do a bit of rough chopping. Add the nuts to a small baking dish. With about 5-10 minutes left on the oven cooktime, pop the dish of nuts into the oven along with the sprouts and cranberries. Watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn. You just want them to darken a bit.

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When everything is roasted and toasted, remove from the oven and toss together in a large bowl.

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Using a microplane grater, zest one whole orange over top of the bowl. Orange zest really brings this recipe to life, so the more the merrier, and definitely don’t skip it.

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In a small dish, whisk together 1 tablespoon each of olive oil, orange juice, and balsamic vinegar. Pour over the mixture, and toss with a 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.  Serve immediately or room temperature.

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A few notes for Thanksgiving prep:  This dish can be made ahead of time. If you already have a heavy cooking load on Thursday and can’t spare any oven time, consider roasting the sprouts and cranberries the day before. Seal in a storage container and refrigerate overnight. When you are ready to eat, spread the cooked mixture onto a baking sheet, and heat for 5-10 minutes while the walnuts are toasting. Then toss all components together just before serving.

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Thanksgiving is known for feasts of comfort food, and afternoons spent slaving away in the kitchen.  That’s part of the fun, right?  But you have more complicated things to tend to – like mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.  This dish is an easy side that comes together quickly, leaving you extra time to relax and watch the parade (or if you are in my house – the dog show!).

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We are headed to Connecticut for our holiday this year, and even though we’ll be in someone else’s kitchen, Casey and I are still planning to do all the cooking.  I’ve been getting organized and planning what we’ll make, and as soon as I took a bite of this, Brussels sprouts went on the top of my shopping list.
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Have a great weekend!  I am hoping to squeeze out one more pie recipe and hopefully get it posted here quickly.  And if it doesn’t get photographed or posted…oh well – at least we’ll have pie!
Enjoy!
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