Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Nuts, Crispy Shallots, Balsamic Glaze and Pomegranate Seeds

As a vegetarian or a vegan at most Thanksgiving tables, you are largely relegated to various types of mush. Y’know – mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes. And while I enjoy most of those things, it gets a little old when it’s all you’re able to eat. So this year, I came up with a very crispy brussels sprouts dish to combat all the Thanksgiving mushes.

I toyed with the idea of naming this dish “Lilly’s Brussies” because I brought it to a friend’s dinner and their daughter straight up loved it. But SEO is the worst, so I kept the title boring and to the point. But we all know what it really is.

Because we’re nearing Thanksgiving, I decided to air fry these brussels sprouts. If you don’t have an air fryer, feel free to roast them. But I figured you might need space for the nine million other things that you’ll need to jam into your oven on this problematic holiday. Logistics aside, it hits all the major food groups (spicy, crispy, fruity and balsamic-y). Definitely worth your while if you’re looking for something vegan, gluten free, and super delicious this Thanksgiving.

Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Nuts, Crispy Shallots, Balsamic Glaze and Pomegranate Seeds
Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Nuts, Crispy Shallots, Balsamic Glaze and Pomegranate Seeds

Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Nuts, Crispy Shallots, Balsamic Glaze and Pomegranate Seeds (serves 10 as a side)

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
  • 2 shallots (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil (like grapeseed or canola)
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet and spicy pecans (I like the ones from Trader Joe’s!)

Directions:

  1. Wash, de-stem and half your brussels sprouts.
  2. Toss the brussels sprouts in the olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, red chili flakes and salt before putting them in your air fryer. I was able to do mine in one batch because my air fryer (the Ninja Foodi*) has two tiers. If that’s not an option for you or yours is on the smaller side, you may need to do two batches. If you’re doing one batch, set the temperature to 390° Fahrenheit and pop the brussels sprouts in for 24 minutes, tossing a couple times throughout. Once the 24 minutes are up, throw the garlic slices in and fry for another 4 minutes. And if you’re doing two batches, set it to 390° Fahrenheit for 18 minutes, tossing once at around the 9 minute mark. Throw the garlic slices in at 14 minutes.
  3. While the brussels sprouts are cooking, fry your shallots! Heat the neutral oil in a medium sized pan at medium high heat. After a couple minutes, toss a single shallot piece into the pan. If it starts to sizzle, you’re good to dump the rest in there. Cook (stirring often) for about 5 minutes or until they’ve reached a nice golden brown hue. Then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to sop up any excess oil.
  4. Now add your balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan to let it reduce. Heat it over medium high heat until it hits a boil – then lower the heat and let it simmer. Simmer the vinegar for about 10-15 minutes. It should reduce by at least half. Stay attentive, though, to ensure that it doesn’t burn. It’s done when the vinegar coats the back of the spoon. Once it’s ready, turn off the heat and let it cool down a bit.
  5. While the balsamic reduction cools, collect your pomegranate seeds and chop your nuts! I personally find that fresh pomegranates are infinitely better than pre-seeded ones. If you’ve got a lot on your plate, however, just do it the easy way. It’s fine.
  6. Finally, assemble! Add the nuts and pomegranate seeds to the brussels sprouts. Keep a few to throw on top, because it’s pretty. Put it all in a nice bowl, and top with the fried shallots and balsamic reduction (to taste), then serve immediately!

I know this seems like kind of an involved process, but it’s really not that bad. There’s a lot of passive time that’s perfect for prepping different components of the dish, so it’s fine. And if you’re actually making this for Thanksgiving, con someone into chopping stuff for you. It goes a long way.

As always, if you make this, be sure to let me know in the comments or on Instagram!

*The above link is an affiliate link. That means that if you click through and make a purchase, I’ll get a small percentage. Don’t worry, though – I fully stand by this product!

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