Foodie Film Festival: Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Anise Seeds

The Foodie Film Festival continues! We were given extra time this week in the FoodBuzz Project Food Blog contest to get our videos ready for their close-up. But since I already posted mine before I was given that information (which you can see here), I decided to keep with the video theme for all my posts this week. So I am bringing back a few oldies but goodies, and calling it a Foodie Film Festival! Today I have a horror film. The nemesis in this little flick is Brussels sprouts.

While I had a lot of fun making them the “bad guy” in this video. I have a disclosure to make, I actually love Brussels sprouts. Still, many people despise them. So it seemed funny to present them as everyone’s worst nightmare. People are afraid of them because they are often prepared in a horrible manner…boiled.

Boiling is the wrong way to go when in comes to this vegetable. This is because they are technically a cruciferous vegetable. Which is a fancy way of saying cabbage. As we all know, boiled cabbage can be stinky and mushy. So too, Brussels sprouts. In fact, in French, they are called les choux de Bruxelles, which means cabbages of Brussels. So all the mistakes people make cooking cabbage can be amplified in these “little cabbages”

Cruciferous vegetables get their name because their flowers have 4 petals and look like a cross (crucifix). Other cruciferous vegetables include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, collards, kale, mustard greens, rutabaga, turnip greens, and watercress… now doesn’t this list look a lot like the list your doctor uses when he/she says you should eat more dark, leafy greens? Well, listen to your doctor because cruciferous veggies all contain phytochemicals — vitamins and minerals, and lots of healthy fiber which some studies suggest lower your risk of cancer! Unfortunately, these phytochemicals break down somewhat in cooking. This lessens their health benefits, and can also release a vile “sulphur” smell. Many people can’t get past the smell. It does not have to be that way.

Brussels Sprouts with Anise Seeds

There are lots of great ways to cook Brussels sprouts. In this video, I am Braising the  Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta & Balsamic. CLICK here for a printable recipe. But one of the simplest ways to cook Brussels sprouts is also one of the tastiest! I like to toss them with a little olive oil, coarse salt, cracked black pepper and a bit of ground anise seed. I then roast them in a 500-degree oven til they get browned and crackly. A hot oven ensures you’ll get good caramelization on the outside without cooking the insides to a smelly pulp!

Roasted Brussels SproutsOven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Anise Seeds

serves 6 CLICK here for a printable recipe

Adapted from CIA Greystone


  • 1 t anise seeds
  • 2 lb brussels sprouts
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1⁄2 t coarse ground pepper
  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees F.

In a small skillet set over medium-low heat, toast the anise seeds, shaking the pan, about 3 minutes. Pour the seeds into a mortar and pestle and grind them to a course powder. The consistency of sand.

Slice the sprouts in half lengthwise, removing any tough or loose outer leaves. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath. Blanch the sprouts in the boiling water one to two minutes (depending on size) until they turn bright green. Drain them and immediately plunge them into the ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain again and dry them on paper towels. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Then, in a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with the salt, pepper, crushed anise seeds, and olive oil. Transfer them to a baking sheet or large ovenproof skillet. Place in the hot oven, shaking the pan occasionally, until the sprouts are tender and charred, about 12 minutes. Serve immediately.


Greg Henry