Smash Brussels Sprouts For Ultra Crispy Results

Smashing things is a major trend in 2023. And we're not just talking about those rooms where you can don a full-body suit and take a sledgehammer to a TV or computer, although those are increasing in popularity too. But in the food world, it seems like we're finding new ingredients that taste better smashed every day. Burgers may be the most popular one, but you can also smash potatoes, peas, chickpeas, broccoli, and now — Brussels sprouts.

What's so great about smashing food? Besides releasing some stress and giving your arm muscles a workout, adding this extra step can make your food crispier, more flavorful, and in some cases, juicier. Take burgers, for example. When you smash the patties within 30 seconds after cooking starts, their juices get confined within the meat, as opposed to leaking out before you even take a bite. We're not looking to retain liquid in our cooked Brussels sprouts, but smashing them can still contribute to a crunchier and more delicious vegetable. Let's find out how it works.

Make more room for crispiness

Before smashing your Brussels sprouts, you first need to get them a little soft. Most recipes call for parboiling them until tender. You don't want to fully cook the veggies — just make them soft to the touch. Once they're dry, you can let the smashing commence. Mason jars or mugs are common tools to yield perfect results, but you could also use a wooden spoon or even the flat part of a knife.

So what do you accomplish by flattening your Brussels sprouts? Smashing them broadens their surface area, so they have more opportunity to develop crispy edges when roasted but still have room to remain deliciously tender inside. This is the logic behind smashing most vegetables — you're turning healthy food into a crispy snack, and letting off some steam while doing it.

Don't forget to season your sprouts — Parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and even cayenne pepper are all tasty options. If you do these right, you may just forgo your go-to french fries in favor of more nutritious bites.