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Smoky Vegan Brussels Sprouts Recipe + Tips for Roasting Perfect Brussels Sprouts

Today’s smoky vegan Brussels sprouts recipe makes a fantastic plant based side dish for Thanksgiving dinner or a simple weeknight meal. These roasted vegan Brussels sprouts are gluten free and soy free, and can be ready in under 20 minutes. Even if you’ve always avoided eating Brussels sprouts, you’ll be reaching for seconds!

Smoky roasted Brussels sprouts recipe - a vegan gluten free Thanksgiving side dish

Brussels sprouts get a bad rap even among the most devoted vegetable lovers, but if we look closer, we’ll see that this happens for two reasons.

Why Do Most People Hate Brussels Sprouts?

First, most people just haven’t found a good way to cook them. We’ve all tried boiling, sauteing, pan-frying, roasting them – yet the sprouts still retain their off-putting sulfuric flavor and a weird texture.

Second, as this article from The Guardian suggests, some people are genetically predisposed to hating the flavor of Brussels sprouts. Some of us are born with a special gene that causes us to be bothered by some components of brassica vegetables (such as Brussels sprouts).

A similar thing is the reason for why some of us hate cilantro.

While I can’t help you change your genes, I can definitely give you some pointers for the best way to cook Brussels sprouts.

Use these tips to make my smoky vegan Brussels sprouts recipe, and you’ll be amazed at their rich, umami flavor and fantastic texture: crispy on the outside, and perfectly tender on the inside. Yum!

For more plant-based holiday inspiration, check out my post with 50+ vegan Thanksgiving recipes to please a crowd, and 21 delicious vegan Christmas dinner main course recipes.

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you make a purchase through my blog, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

What Is the Best Way to Cook Brussels Sprouts?

The best way to cook Brussels Sprouts is by roasting them! Quite a shocker, right? 🙂

The reason why your previous attempts to roast Brussels sprouts ended in failure is that you’ve probably didn’t roast them right.

Tips for roasting Brussels sprouts properly:

1. Trim them right. Rinse your Brussels sprouts and pat them dry. If you bought them loose (not on a stalk), gently cut off the dried-up bottom of each sprout. Be careful not to cut off too much, or the outer leaves will fall off.

(If you’ve cut the sprouts straight from the stalk, the cut will still be fresh, so no need to trim it further.)

Next, cut the sprouts in half lengthwise. Now comes a tedious yet important part: cutting out the core that the Brussels sprout leaves are attached to.

Using a paring knife, make a small diagonal cut into the core of each sprout half, about 3-4 millimeters deep (step 1 in the image below). Repeat on the other side. Don’t cut too deep – you only need to remove a small triangular sliver of the core without cutting into the leaves.

How to cut out the core of Brussels sprouts to make perfect roasted Brussels sprouts
Cutting out the core of Brussels sprouts

Once the sliver is removed, your sprout will look like step 2 in the image above.

Note that if you’re pressed for time (or just don’t feel like it), you don’t have to cut out the core. However, if you do it, this will improve the texture of roasted Brussels sprouts quite a bit since the core is usually the last thing to soften during roasting, and often stays tough even when the leaves have burned or turned into mush.

Trimmed Brussels sprouts in a bowl before roasting
Trimmed Brussels sprouts before roasting

2. Put them cut face down (not up!) on a greased baking sheet. This creates a trap for the inner moisture of each sprout half. The moisture will help the inner leaves get perfectly tender while the cut side gets nicely charred and the outer leaves become crispy.

Apply the seasonings (see what I’m using for my smoky Brussels sprouts in the recipe card), then set them face down on a greased baking sheet like I did below. Don’t use parchment paper or silicone liners because they’ll prevent the cut side from getting charred.

Smoky vegan Brussels sprouts before roasting on a baking sheet
Smoky vegan Brussels sprouts before roasting in the oven

3. Set the oven temperature to 425° F. Your oven needs to be quite hot to kickstart the inner steaming of the sprouts. At the same time, it shouldn’t be so hot that the sprouts burn before they get a chance to become tender.

I love throwing together a batch of Brussels sprouts roasted this way, and serving them with my easy 20-minute vegan mashed potatoes.

This is one of the 15 kid friendly vegan recipes from this blog that have been approved by my 2 year-old toddler.

How to Make Smoky Roasted Vegan Brussels Sprouts

My smoky vegan Brussels sprouts recipe follows the trimming and roasting steps outlined above.

Once the sprouts have been trimmed, I toss them with smoked paprika, granulated garlic, dried thyme, a pinch of cayenne pepper, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Then I add maple syrup and oil.

After that, I spread the seasoned Brussels sprouts on a greased baking sheet cut side down. A few detached sprout leaves are OK – they’ll make delicious sprout chips later.

I roast the sprouts in the oven for about 12 minutes at 425° F, then toss them. Some sprouts will stay cut side down, and other will face up – that’s ok.

I put the baking sheet back in the oven, and roast them for another 4-5 minutes until the sprouts become tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. If the detached sprout leaves start becoming too burnt, I take them off the tray before the rest of the sprouts are done.

Vegan Thanksgiving side dish: smoky vegan Brussels sprouts recipe
Smoky Brussel sprouts after roasting

These smoky vegan Brussels sprouts are simple enough to make for a weeknight meal, yet they are flavorful and festive for serving as a plant based Thanksgiving dish.

Your guests will never guess that their rich, smoky, and distinctly umami flavor is achieved without any animal products.

Also see my tips for surviving your first Thanksgiving as a vegan.

Smoky vegan Brussels sprouts recipe perfect for plant based Thanksgiving

I came up with this recipe out of longing for the amazing roasted Brussels sprouts recipe from now defunct blog by Kittee Berns called Cake Maker to the Stars.

Before Kittee took her site down, I made this recipe every year during the Brussels sprouts season. I don’t remember the exact recipe ingredients and proportions, so I had to do my best to recreate it and use it again.

Thank you for your recipe inspiration, Kittee, and please know that your blog is dearly missed 🙁

Recipe for vegan roasted Brussels sprouts

For more healthy plant based side dish recipes from the blog, check out my slow cooker Southern collard greens, easy balsamic sauteed kale and onions, easy 5-ingredient vegan mashed potatoes, easy 4-ingredient gluten free buffalo cauliflower, simple roasted butternut squash (can be made Italian or Indian-style), and gingered broccoli and cauliflower.

Yield: 5 servings

Smoky Vegan Brussels Sprouts Recipe

Vegan side dish: Smoky vegan Brussels sprouts

This smoky vegan Brussels sprouts recipe yields deliciously smoky roasted Brussel sprouts with a distinctly umami flavor. A gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and meat free vegan recipe.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes


  • 5 cups fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • dash cayenne (optional)
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp oil (see notes*)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Wash and trim the Brussels sprouts, cut in half lengthwise. In a large bowl, toss the sprouts with all the seasonings (smoked paprika through salt and pepper).
  3. Pour maple syrup and oil (or spray with oil spray for a low-oil version) over the sprouts, toss well.
  4. Arrange Brussels sprouts on the greased baking sheet CUT SIDES DOWN. A few detached sprout leaves are OK - they'll make delicious sprout chips later.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes, then toss and bake another 4-5 minutes until the sprouts are tender on the inside, and crispy on the outside. (You may need to remove the detached sprout leaves to prevent them from burning.)
  6. Serve with your favorite seasonal comfort foods. Enjoy!


*I prefer using avocado oil because it has a high smoke point, but feel free to use olive or vegetable oil. For low-oil version, use an avocado or olive oil spray to lightly coat the sprouts.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 85Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 151mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 5g

Please note that the provided nutritional information data is approximate.

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author avatar
Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats
Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Eventually she embraced veganism as a way to be kinder to fellow living beings and the environment. Alina hopes that this blog helps its readers on their path to becoming vegan and making this world a better place.


Wednesday 24th of November 2021

The blog says not to use parchment paper but the recipe says to use it. Which is correct?

Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Monday 29th of November 2021

Good catch, Shari! The correct way is NOT to use parchment paper.

Sue Siebens

Sunday 15th of March 2020

SOOOO GOOD!!!! and easy to make :) thanks for posting

Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Monday 16th of March 2020

Thank you Sue, glad they came out good!

Gail Pickens-Barger

Thursday 17th of October 2019

Have you done this yet in the Air Fryer?

Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Thursday 17th of October 2019

I haven't done this particular recipe, but I tried air-frying Brussels sprouts before, and I prefer the texture of oven-roasted sprouts to air-fried. Pretty sure this recipe would work for air fryer though, the texture may be a bit tougher.

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