Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts & Smoky Olives

Close up of pan roasted Brussels Sprouts with chestnuts and smoky olives

Come Christmas or Thanksgiving, these crisp, golden Brussels sprouts will always be a favourite.

My mum used to make sauteed brussels sprouts with chestnuts, juniper and bacon when I was growing up. The pairing of sprouts and chestnuts is so classic and for good reason – the sweet, creamy chestnuts match perfectly with the earthy sprouts.

A bowl of roasted Brussels Sprouts with chestnuts and smoky olives on a table

I pan roast my sprouts here so they get golden and caramelised but still have bite to them (NO soggy sprouts allowed!!!). Instead of bacon, I opted for a salty olive to offset the sweetness, cooked in a smoky, spicy chipotle paste for that almost meaty flavour. I do love a Nocellara olive for their sweet, buttery flavour but you can also use a more bitter, black olive (like I’ve done here with Moroccan dried olives) or even capers if that’s your jam.

Other vegan Thanksgiving recipes:

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts & Smoky Olives

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Course: Salads & Sides
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes


  • 500 g (1lb 2 ounces) Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp refined olive oil
  • salt
  • 100 g (heaped 1/2 cup) cooked, peeled chestnuts
  • 50 g (heaped 1/4 cup) your favourite olives, pits removed, roughly torn (see notes)
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli paste (I use Gran Luchito) (see notes)


  • Trim the bases off the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half. Remove any gross outer leaves.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan (I like to use cast iron here) over a medium-low heat. Add the Brussels sprouts in a single layer, cut side down - you'll probably need to do cook them in two batches. Let them sit, undisturbed, until golden underneath (about 5 minutes). Flip and let cook until tender (roughly a further 5 minutes). If they still seem too crisp, cover with a lid and let cook on low for another 1-2 minutes to soften. Tip into the serving dish.
  • Return the pan to the heat, add the remaining olive oil and cook the rest of the sprouts, as before adding them to the serving dish too.
  • Return the pan to the heat and add the cooked chestnuts. Cook on high for a minute or so just to warm through, then scatter over the sprouts in the serving dish.
  • Return the pan to the heat. Add the torn olives and the chipotle paste and cook, stirring constantly, until coated and hot. Scatter over the sprouts in the serving dish and serve.


- For the olives, I really like Nocellara olives as they are juicy, sweet & buttery. If you prefer something deeper, try using 'dried' olives - they usually come in a jar without brine/oil and look slightly wrinkled. They have a more bitter flavour and chewier texture to them.
- An alternative to the chilli paste is 1 tsp smoked paprika.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it went! Mention @izyhossack or tag #topwithcinnamon!