Mustard-Maple Brussels Sprouts with Candied Pepitas and Pomegranate Seeds

Don’tcha think it would be fun to introduce a little friendly competition into Thanksgiving dinner?

No, I don’t mean who has to loosen their belt the most or who is the first to pass out in a tryptophan coma. (My Papa would easily take the latter, and as much as I’m ashamed to admit it, I could probably win for the first in my family.)

I’m talking Thanksgiving Superlatives. Awards for categories like The Creamiest. Best Crunchy Topping. Most Innovative Use of Orange Vegetables. It would be even more fun if dinner is prepared potluck-style, right?

If you’re looking to take home the trophy in Most Surprising, this might be your best bet. Because that’s what my pals declared at my Super Early Friendsgiving Dinner Celebration (aka, “Will you come over and eat these dishes I have to make ahead of time for my blog? PleaseAndThankYou.”)

Not in a “I thought I hated brussels sprouts but these I can tolerate” sort of way. None of my friends are too picky, so I can’t promise that this will be the dish to sway brussels sprouts haters (which there seem to be less and less of these days, yay!) It was more about the flavor combination being unexpectedly and utterly, well, addicting. (PS. I’m so glad when I actually have others to back me up here! It’s not just me and my hungry husband making this stuff up!) Sure, I didn’t venture far from the classic sweet-and-savory combination of maple syrup, mustard, nuts, and fruit, but opting for slightly more savory candied pepitas and tangy, juicy pomegranate seeds was a nice little twist. Not to mention pomegranate seeds make any dish “sparkle” and I’m a sucker for all things sparkly.

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I have to tell you, though, I was a little hesitant to put this on the menu given that it’s not a true “make ahead” dish and I know some people won’t consider such a thing for the Big Turkey Day. But the truth is, it’s so super quick to toss together. The components themselves can be prepped ahead, and then you can finish it off in the last 10 minutes before dinner is served. We all agreed that the outcome is well worth the small sacrifice.

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Mustard-Maple Brussels Sprouts with Candied Pepitas and Pomegranate Seeds

Thinly sliced brussels sprouts tossed with a simple maple-mustard dressing, maple-glazed pumpkin seeds, and juicy pomegranate seeds.


1/2 cup shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup maple syrup
generous sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Remaining Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs trimmed brussels sprouts (trim the bases and peel away the outer, darkest leaves)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds


Place a piece of parchment paper on a plate. Place the pepitas and maple syrup in a nonstick skillet and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat and cook for 6-7 minutes. Spoon the pepitas onto the parchment in a single layer and allow to cool. When cool and crisp, break into small pieces.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

Using the slicing attachment on a food processor, slice the brussels sprouts (or, thinly slice by hand.)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the brussels sprouts, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, until browned in spots. Add dressing and toss to coat. Toss in candied pepitas and pomegranate seeds. Adjust seasonings to taste, and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm.

This post is linked to Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge at What Would Cathy Eat?


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25 Responses to “Mustard-Maple Brussels Sprouts with Candied Pepitas and Pomegranate Seeds”

  1. 1

    Megan — November 11, 2012 @ 8:30 am Reply

    This sounds absolutely amazing. I love the array of flavors and textures… I eat all the brussels sprouts I can at this time of year.

  2. 2

    janet @ the taste space — November 11, 2012 @ 9:13 am Reply

    Looks great! Next time, you should come visit me for Thanksgiving.. in Canada, we celebrated a month ago. 🙂

    Thankfully Brussels sprouts are great any time.:-)

  3. 3

    Alyssa | Queen of Quinoa — November 11, 2012 @ 11:10 am Reply

    This sounds sooooo good!! I love brussel sprouts, but usually just stick to olive oil, salt and pepper when I roast them. I’m definitely going to need to try this dressing – thinking it will be the perfect Thanksgiving side dish 🙂

  4. 4

    Kevin (Closet Cooking) — November 11, 2012 @ 12:24 pm Reply

    What a nice way to enjoy brussels sprouts!

  5. 5

    Elle — November 11, 2012 @ 5:32 pm Reply

    Looks so delicious! It may make it onto my own Thanksgiving Day table.

  6. 6

    Kate — November 11, 2012 @ 11:58 pm Reply

    You know how much I love brussels sprouts, but I see candied pepitas as being a fabulous addition to just about anything!

  7. 7

    Joanne — November 12, 2012 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    Some of us crazy people (ahem ME) still have no idea what we’re making for the big day. But these brussels sprouts have definitely made it to my short list! I love those little buggers and even if no one else does…I’ll just have the whole bowl to myself since I’m sure nothing else will be particularly veg friendly. 🙂

  8. 8

    Cathy @What Would Cathy Eat? — November 15, 2012 @ 1:30 pm Reply

    Wow, Cara. This looks like an amazing dish for Thanksgiving. I might have to make two different kinds of Brussels sprouts! Thanks for participating in the Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge, too.

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  10. 9

    Shannon — November 16, 2012 @ 3:34 pm Reply

    as long as you can prep ahead, i think it counts 🙂 and it looks too delicious to keep it off!

  11. 10

    Ellen (Gluten Free Diva) — November 17, 2012 @ 8:33 pm Reply

    Yum. Yum Yum. Yum Yum Yum!!!

  12. 11

    Sues — November 18, 2012 @ 3:25 pm Reply

    Thinking a version of this will be on my Thanksgiving table! I might add bacon 🙂 I love that the brussels sprouts are thinly sliced… making them a little more palatable to people who aren’t big brussels sprouts fans!

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  20. 12

    Joan — November 21, 2014 @ 7:46 pm Reply

    How many does this serve. Sounds delicious.

    • 12.1

      Cara — November 23, 2014 @ 8:12 pm

      It’s a favorite! As a side dish on Thanksgiving where people only take a small amount of each thing, I’d say it serves 8-10. If there are less choices, I’d say it serves about 4-6.

  21. 13

    Katrina — November 22, 2014 @ 7:22 pm Reply

    Too funny – “32 Vegan Recipes for Thanksgiving” was in my pinterest feed and when I looked at the article this was the recipe that jumped out at me. When I went to pin it, I realized it was your recipe! Looks delicious, Cara!

    • 13.1

      Cara — November 23, 2014 @ 8:13 pm

      yeah!! hope you try it! It’s definitely a delish way to eat brussels sprouts!

  22. 14

    Rebecca — August 27, 2015 @ 11:35 am Reply

    I made this last night as a test for Thanksgiving and loved it, will definitely make for the holiday. I couldn’t find any pomegranate seeds (we have a tree, but they’re not ripe yet!) but it was still good. I usually don’t like brussels sprouts very much but maybe removing the outer layer and trimming did the trick for me. I found I had too many candied pepitas so I kept some to snack on. Are the candied pepitas supposed to form one giant piece of brittle (before you break it) or did I cook them too long in the maple syrup? Thanks!

    • 14.1

      Cara — September 9, 2015 @ 9:24 pm

      Nah, I think you did it just fine – they can get sticky but its all good! glad you liked this!

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