Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Tonnato Sauce

Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Tonnato Sauce
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The holidays are here and the Internet is a buzz with turkeys, prime ribs, and sides of salmon. Grand large format proteins dressed to the nines and fit for a queen. But while I love a good slice of glistening ham, I am truly here for the sides. I’m the type of person who needs to be talked out of a third helping of potato salad at a summer BBQ, reminded of a turkey leg’s existence at Thanksgiving, and yes, at Christmas I have been known to focus a little too intently on mashed potatoes. So it makes perfect sense that I would kick off my holiday content with a side dish. And what a side dish it is! These Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Tonnato sauce are poised to steal the whole damn show. 

Boiled Brussels sprouts sitting in a fine mesh strainer.

So what are we looking at here? You’re looking at a mountain of Brussels sprouts that have been given the smashed potato treatment. These sprouts have been boiled, smashed, and roasted to crispy perfection. They sit on a bed of Tonnato Sauce, which is a silky mayo-like emulsion flavoured with anchovy fillets and oil-packed tuna. I also added some brined peppercorns and preserved lemon rind for good measure. The dish is finished with pomegranate arils, lemon zest, and fresh parsley. She may not be a looker, but she packs a mean punch flavorwise. 

Brussels sprouts in a large bowl covered with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Smashed Brussels sprouts on a cutting board.

Everything kicks off with a large pot filled 3/4 of the way with cold water. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Liberally salt the water and add the Brussels sprouts. Boil them for 10 minutes or until lightly tender. I know this step probably goes against your better judgement, particularly if you suffered your way through boiled sprouts as a child. But I promise, these sprouts will eventually take on that charred lightly bitter exterior that you are looking for.

Drain the sprouts and lay them in a single layer on a cutting board. Pat them dry with a tea towel. We want to eliminate as much excess moisture as possible so the sprouts will readily crisp up. So take your time here. This is the place to be relatively thorough. Just think of those delicious frizzled edges. There is nothing better than a crispy Brussels sprout.

Smashed Brussels sprouts on a large baking sheet ready for the oven.

Once the sprouts are dry, transfer them to a large bowl and add olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. You can get more adventurous with your seasoning here if you wish. But the Tonnato sauce is very flavour-forward, so I prefer to keep my sprouts relatively plain so the finished dish is not overwhelming. This is, of course, all a matter of personal taste. So you do you. 

Thinly sliced preserved lemon rind on a cutting board.
An open can of tuna packed in oil.

Now, let’s get smashing. Grab a heavy bottom glass and place a sprout on a cutting board. Press the glass on top of the sprout until it flattens. Transfer the sprouts to a large baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining sprouts. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20-25 minutes or until very golden. 

Egg yolks, peppercorns, and preserved lemon in a large mixing glass.

While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, let’s make the Tonnato sauce. I like to make mine using an immersion blender and a mixing glass. You can also make this in a blender. Place some fine slices of preserved lemon rind in a mixing glass or blender. Add 3 egg yolks, some brined peppercorns, anchovy fillets, and lemon juice. Blitz on high while streaming in some neutral oil. What we’re essentially doing is creating an emulsion. This is basically mayonnaise. If you would like to skip this step, you can sub in 1 cup of mayo and 1\2 a lemon’s worth of juice. Add tuna to this mixture and blitz until very smooth. You can make this ahead of time, by the way. Tonnato sauce will keep in the fridge for up to one week.

Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Tonnato Sauce

Now it’s time to plate. Pour the Tonnato sauce onto a platter. I quite like putting the dressing on the bottom. It’s easy to grab a sensible amount with your spoon as you dole out the sprouts. But you can drizzle the Tonnato Sauce over the sprouts if you prefer or even serve it on the side as a dip. Layer the sprouts on top of the Tonnato and garnish with pomegranate arils, finishing salt, lemon zest, and fresh parsley leaves. Serve immediately.

Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Tonnato Sauce

And that’s everything you need to know about these Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Tonnato Sauce. Despite its simple preparation, this side dish offers a full range of flavours and textures. It’s a real scene stealer if not a show stopper. 


Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Tonnato Sauce

Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Tonnato Sauce

This stunning side dish features crispy Smashed Brussels Sprouts served on a bed of silky Tonnato sauce garnished with pomegranate arils and fresh parsley.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Course Side Dish
Servings 6 as a side


  • 1 immersion blender or blender
  • 1 Large pot
  • 2 Large Baking Sheets


Smashed Brussels Sprouts

  • 907g (2 lbs) Brussels sprouts
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • tsp kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Tonnato Sauce

  • ½ preserved lemon
  • 3 large egg yolks *
  • 1 tsp brined peppercorns
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup neutral oil
  • 2 (80g) cans tuna packed in olive oil

To Serve

  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils
  • ½ lemon zested
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
  • Finishing salt for sprinkling


For the Sprouts

  • Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set them aside.
  • Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, liberally salt the water and add the sprouts. Boil for 10 minutes or until tender but not mushy. **
    907g (2 lbs) Brussels sprouts
  • Drain the Brussels sprouts and spread them into an even layer on a cutting board. Using a clean tea towel, pat the sprouts dry. Transfer them to a bowl and add the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
    ¼ cup olive oil, 1½ tsp kosher salt, Fresh ground pepper
  • Working with a sprout at a time, press the Brussels sprouts with a heavy bottom glass until flat. Transfer the flattened sprouts to a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining sprouts. ***
  • Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes or until the Brussels sprouts are crisp and slightly charred.

For the Tonnato Sauce

  • Remove the flesh from the preserved lemon and finely slice the rind. Place it in a large mixing glass. 
    ½ preserved lemon
  • Add the egg yolks, peppercorns, anchovy fillets, and lemon juice to the mixing glass. While blitzing the ingredients with an immersion blender, slowly stream in the neutral oil until thickened. Add the tuna and blitz again until very smooth.****
    3 large egg yolks *, 1 tsp brined peppercorns, 2 anchovy fillets, 2 tbsp lemon juice, ¼ cup neutral oil, 2 (80g) cans tuna packed in olive oil

To Serve

  • Pour a large puddle of Tonnato sauce onto a large platter and top with the crispy Brussels sprout. Finish the sprouts with a sprinkling of pomegranate arils, fresh lemon zest, finishing salt, and fresh parsley leaves. Serve immediately. 
    ¼ cup pomegranate arils, ½ lemon, Finishing salt, ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves


* If you’re not keen on using raw egg yolks, substitute the eggs and oil for a cup of mayo. If you choose to go this route, I recommend using a blender or food processor instead of the immersion blender.
** Try not to overcook the sprouts. If they are too mushy, they won’t hold together when smashed. 
*** Make sure you give each sprout plenty of room on all sides on the baking sheet. Crowding the Brussels sprouts will cause them to steam rather than crisp. 
**** You will likely have a little more Tonnato sauce than you need. Leftovers can be stored in a resealable container and kept in the fridge for up to a week. It is also a great salad dressing and/or sandwich spread, so I’m sure you’ll find a use for it.
Keyword anchovies, Brussels sprouts, lemon, pomegranate, tuna

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