March 6, 2024

Emma Cardarelli’s Sunflower-roasted Brussels Sprouts

Recipe: Emma Cardarelli

“Slow-roasted to give a sweet and bitter, cabbage like taste, these sprouts nicely contrast with the sweetness from the honey and the richness of the sunflower-seed purée.” — Emma Cardarelli


Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • 5 cups brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed, larger ones cut in half
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Sunflower Seed Purée

  • 1 1/4 cups sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup vegetable, canola or sunflower oil
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup red or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar

Thyme-infused Brown Butter

  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter

Sunflower-roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • 2 tbsp Thyme-infused Brown Butter (see above)
  • Sunflower Seed Purée (see previous column)
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts (see previous column)
  • Honey, to drizzle
  • Pinch fleur de sel
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds


Yield: Serves 4

Make Brussels Sprouts

  1. Toss trimmed brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper. On soaked 10″ bamboo skewers, add 7 to 8 brussels sprouts on each skewer, making sure sprouts are touching.
  2. On grill on medium heat, roast skewers for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size, until well caramelized and tender.

Make Puree

  1. Line baking sheet with paper towel. In cold medium skillet, add seeds and oil and heat on medium for 4 to 5 minutes, until seeds begin to brown. Stir often. Do this quickly, as seeds can overcook. As soon as they start to colour, pour oil and seeds through heatproof sieve into heatproof container to catch oil.
  2. Transfer seeds to paper towel–lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of kosher salt and let cool for 5 minutes. Set aside 1/4 cup of toasted seeds, and transfer rest to blender. Add hot oil, water and vinegar to blender, then sugar and remaining 2 tsp of kosher salt. Blend until smooth; adjust seasoning to taste.

Make Brown Butter and Assemble

  1. Strip thyme leaves from stems. In skillet over medium heat, add butter and leaves and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until butter bubbles and begins to turn light brown. Transfer to heatproof bowl.
  2. Spread Sunflower Seed Puree on bottom of plate, pile on brussels sprouts skewers and drizzle with honey and hot Thyme-infused Brown Butter. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, reserved toasted sunflower seeds and cracked pepper.

Photography by Dominique Lafond (Emma's portrait)/Ryan Gray (skewer)