Pomegranate Molasses Is The Sweet Addition Your Brussels Sprouts Need

Brussels sprouts share many characteristics with other brassica family members; they're fibrous and earthy with a distinctly bitter finish. While simple seasonings are usually enough to enhance a vegetable's natural taste, Brussels sprouts are a bold outlier that could use some extra help. Pomegranate molasses is the perfect ingredient for the job.

A longstanding flavoring agent in Middle Eastern cuisine, pomegranate molasses is simply reduced pomegranate juice. As with any reduction, the natural sugar content of pomegranate juice increases as its volume decreases. The result is a rich, ultra-sweet, and tangy syrup used in everything from poultry, fish, and red meat marinades to vinegar substitutes used for drizzling over salads, side dishes, and dips. True to its name, pomegranate molasses has a thick, sticky consistency similar to maple syrup or date molasses, while its taste is closer to a balsamic reduction.

As an addition to Brussels sprouts, pomegranate molasses will brighten their bitterness with a luscious, mouthwatering burst of sweetness and acidity. While pomegranate molasses and Brussels sprouts offer two opposing flavor profiles, they match in intensity, and the consequence is a wonderfully balanced and sophisticated dish.

How to use pomegranate molasses on Brussels sprouts

You can steam, boil, grill, fry, or roast Brussels sprouts. Different preparation methods affect the texture and taste, which consequently alters how you'd want to incorporate pomegranate molasses into the dish. Boiling or steaming Brussels softens them and often creates an overpowering bitter flavor. Grilling, frying, and roasting them with oil or butter helps to caramelize Brussels sprouts' bitter and earthy flavors while also bestowing a crispy exterior and a chewy interior.

The easiest way to incorporate pomegranate molasses into a dish of Brussels sprouts is to simply drizzle it over a freshly cooked plate. That said, you could also integrate pomegranate molasses into the cooking process. With boiled Brussels, you could essentially candy them by adding pomegranate molasses to the cooking liquid and simmering until they absorb all of the molasses-infused water.

As for roasted or grilled Brussels sprouts, you could create a pomegranate molasses glaze by using olive oil, seasonings, and fresh herbs. You can add each ingredient separately or mix them in a bowl before coating your Brussels sprouts and placing them in the oven.  You could also create a dressing by blending pomegranate molasses with oil or lemon juice to toss with the Brussels sprouts.

If you go for a simple drizzle, you can accompany pomegranate molasses with tahini or a sprinkle of pine nuts to round out the sweet, sour, and bitter notes with savory nuttiness.