Beyond the Boil: 3 Recipes that will Stop You Hating Brussels Sprouts Forever

sprouts-recipes

 

The humble Brussels sprout is arguably the most maligned of all vegetables. Universally regarded as the portion of Christmas dinner everyone hates yet is duty-bound to cook and eat anyway, the classic image of the Brussels sprout is of a watery grey-green globule boiled for half an hour, served with no seasoning (other than the slick of gravy used to disguise it) and tasting of trumps and misery. No wonder a 2008 study by Heinz concluded that Brussels sprouts are the most hated vegetable in America.

But what if I showed you that Brussels don’t have to be like this? Endless Christmases of joyless watery sprouts have given the adorable bonsai brassica a reputation it doesn’t deserve – cooked properly, a good sprout should be a little crunchy, slightly peppery, and a bright, zesty green inside.

If you’re still planning on boiling or steaming your sprouts (God forbid) then cook them for no longer than 6-8 minutes to ensure they fall into that sweet spot; but if you’re feeling more adventurous then there’s truly nothing easier, or more delicious, than a pan of sprouts cooked over a hot flame until they’re striped green and black, seasoned with plenty of salt and citrus.

Read on for three Brussels sprout recipes that will forever change how you feel about the cute little mini-cabbages.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pine Nuts

(Serves 2 as a side dish)

Coconut oil and Brussels sprouts are a match made in heaven; cut through the sweet nuttiness with the tang of lemon juice and you’ll find the combination truly irresistible. This recipe is one of the easiest ways to become a brassica convert – it takes no longer than boiling or steaming and is at least seven hundred times more delicious. These instructions are more of a guideline than a recipe as the ingredients and method are both endlessly customisable: try walnut halves instead of pine nuts, switch the coconut oil for sesame oil, or caramelise some sliced onions in the coconut oil before turning up the heat and adding the sprouts.

Ingredients:

  • 400g Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Generous squeeze of lemon juice
  • Handful of pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Trim the base off each Brussels sprout, remove the outer leaves and cut into quarters.

Heat the coconut oil gently in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan; when it is melted, add the chopped garlic and stir to coat.

Increase the heat to medium and cook the garlic until it is soft and translucent, then add the sprout quarters. Stir to coat in the oil, then cook for around 8-10 minutes until the sprouts have softened slightly and turned a vibrant green.

Raise the heat slightly and add the pine nuts to the pan, stirring everything frequently. Once the nuts start to brown, remove the pan from the heat and season everything with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Smoky Spicy Sprouts with Honey and Lime

(Serves 2 as a side dish)

The look of these Brussels sprouts on the plate is a curiously good reflection of their flavour: fresh, glowing green with just the right amount of char, flecked with dark red chipotle and glossy with sweetness. You can buy Gran Luchito chipotle chilli paste in Tesco and M&S – if it’s nowhere to be found then most supermarkets stock their own smoked chilli pastes, or a teaspoon of smoked paprika will do at a pinch. These spicy sprouts are perfect alongside a crisp, buttery baked potato or a pan of piping hot wedges.

Ingredients:

  • 400g Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tbsp olive oil for frying
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli paste (you may want more or less, depending on your spice threshold)
  • 2 tbsp honey or agave nectar
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt to taste – you can afford to be relatively heavy-handed for this recipe

Method:

Trim the base off each Brussels sprout, remove the outer leaves and cut into quarters.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan; when it becomes runny, add the sprouts and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook the sprouts for 5-7 minutes, turning occasionally with a spatula; they should turn bright green and start to char slightly in places.

Once the sprouts are tender but still a little crunchy, reduce the heat and add the chipotle paste, honey/agave, lime juice and salt. Stir to coat the sprouts, then cook for a couple more minutes at the lower heat. Serve immediately.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Spiced Chickpeas

(Serves 2 as a main dish, or 4 as a side dish)

This isn’t the prettiest dish you’ll ever eat – its beige-and-brown hues aren’t especially Instagrammable, I’m afraid. It is, however, a supremely comforting bowlful of veg and protein for those dismal winter evenings when any more ‘cooking’ than pouring things into a roasting tin and shutting the oven door just feels impossible. It’s also incredibly cheap to make: sprouts are in season at this time of year, and tinned chickpeas are a reliable store cupboard staple, so this is a great way to make sure you’re able to eat well even in the last few lean days of the month. Serve as a side dish with sausages (veggie or otherwise), or eat on its own drizzled with tahini sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 400g Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tbsp garam masala spice mix (powder or paste)
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • Generous squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade.

While the oven is warming, trim the Brussels sprouts, discard the outer leaves and halve them, and rinse and drain the chickpeas.

Put the olive oil, garam masala, cumin and fennel seeds in a large roasting tin; stir to mix, then put in the oven for 1-2 minutes until the oil is hot and the spices are fragrant.

Remove the roasting tin from the oven, then carefully add the chickpeas and sprout halves to the tin – watch out for the hot oil as it may spit. Season the tin generously with salt, pepper and lemon juice; then stir to coat the chickpeas and sprout halves in the oil and spices.

Return the tin to the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sprout halves are softened and slightly browned and the chickpeas have a slight bite. Check the seasoning and serve.

Read next: See more Christmas ideas and vegetarian recipes on Mookychick


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