Easy Thanksgiving side: Brussels sprouts with a dash of maple syrup

Poor Brussels sprouts have developed a bit of a bad rap over the years. People think they’re smelly, bitter and a generally unappetizing offering on the holiday table. But they should not be so maligned! When prepared correctly, Brussels sprouts can be a spectacular side to have with any meal. With a few simple ingredients and a foolproof method, you too can enjoy a festive feast complete with a dish of holiday-ubiquitous Brussels sprouts that you will actually want to eat.

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First off, Brussels sprouts should never be boiled — so why do so many people insist on preparing them that way? No wonder so many children are scarred for life; after all, who in their right mind would actually enjoy a mushy sprout that has been boiled to death and then some? The secret to cooking perfect sprouts is laughably simple.

All you need to do is take some cleaned Brussels sprouts — with any woody stems and yellow or brown outer leaves removed — and season them generously in a bowl with a good glug of olive oil, salt and pepper. Them chuck them on a lined baking tray and into a hot oven — about 375 degrees F — for a total of about 35 minutes, checking them and stirring them every 15 minutes or so. In the last 15 minutes drizzle over a few tablespoons of good quality maple syrup (sorry, Mrs. Butterworth and Aunt Jemima, please take your business elsewhere today) and finish them in the oven until lovely, roasty, golden brown and delicious.

And voila, easy-peasy Brussels sprouts. The maple syrup balances out the bitterness so often associated with Brussels sprouts, and roasting them in a hot oven yields a sprout that is crispy on the outside, tender in the middle, smells nothing like old socks, and is sure to become an essential recipe for the holidays.