Tasty ways to take Brussels sprouts from bland to brilliant

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Brussels sprouts are a member of the brassica family. Source: Getty

Brussels sprouts often get a bad rep, you either love them or hate them. However when cooked the right way, they can be a wonderful ingredient full of flavour. (Not to mention they’re also low in calories and full of vitamins and minerals).

Brussels sprouts, a member of the brassica family – along with cauliflower, broccoli and kale – are loaded with antioxidants, which Melbourne-based nutritionist Erin Keane explains help to protect the body from damage, support the immune system and protect against certain types of cancer.

They are also an excellent source of fibre — which not only keeps you regular, but can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol, and decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes — and magnesium, which reduces inflammation.

In addition to its beneficial effects on the digestive system, the fibre also helps stabilise blood sugar levels while giving you sustained energy. So how often should you eat them?

“A well-balanced diet should aim to include at least five cups of cruciferous vegetables each week, including Brussels sprouts,” Keane explains.

While it’s easy to fall in to the same old pattern with these veggies – boiled with a little oil – Keane says they can also be made into a variety of dishes. These delicious recipes listed below will definitely change the way you think about this veggie.

Egg, bacon and vegetable hash

“This tasty breakfast provides a great balance of quality protein, good fats and nutritious vegetables to help boost your energy,” Keane explains.

The recipe makes a great base that you can build on and personalise to your liking. Add a handful of chopped herbs, a sprinkling of cheese or spring onion to perk up the flavour even more. It’s an excellent way to get in a serving of veggies without the blandness that usually comes with eating healthily.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 rashers of good quality bacon
  • 4 Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced or minced
  • 1 small sweet potato, thinly sliced
  • 1 small handful of spinach leaves
  • 1 to 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1.  Cook bacon on medium heat until it starts to become crispy. Remove from the pan and slice into little pieces.
  2. Using the same pan, add the leek on medium heat and cook until softened. Add the rest of the vegetables, cooking until softened and slightly browned.
  3. Keeping the heat on, place the bacon back into pan with vegetables and stir through. Make one or two wells depending on number of eggs you want, and crack eggs into pan. Cook until egg whites have cooked through; serve sunny side up or flip over to crisp up the top if desired.
  4. Add salt and pepper as desired and serve warm.

Prosciutto, veggie and goat’s cheese pizza

“This classy twist on a home-made pizza is super tasty and easy to make,” Keane says.

This prosciutto, veggie and goat’s cheese pizza is sure to become a family favourite. The easy recipe uses goat’s cheese for that added tang, while the Brussels sprouts add a nutty, savoury kick. For a dairy free option, simply remove the goat’s cheese. Serve up a nice big slice of pizza with a simple garden salad topped with a lemon and olive oil dressing to cut through the rich flavours of the meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 wholemeal pizza bases
  • 60ml good quality olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 small potatoes, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 250g Brussels sprouts
  • 100g prosciutto
  • 50g goat’s cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C, and prepare two baking trays with one pizza base on each.
  2. Brush half of the olive oil over the pizza bases and sprinkle minced garlic.
  3. Add potatoes onto the bases, season with salt and pepper to taste, and place in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until potato is softened and golden.
  4. While the bases are in the oven, in a medium bowl add the lemon juice, vinegar and the remaining half of the olive oil along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  5. In another medium bowl, add the Brussels sprouts and cover with boiling water. Leave for about 2 minutes and then drain, and rinse the sprouts with cold water before adding them to the bowl with the lemon vinegar mixture. Mix the Brussels sprouts so that they are well covered.
  6. Once the bases are out of the oven, add the Brussels sprouts and sprinkle goat’s cheese on top. Put back in the oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese has slightly melted.
  7. Lightly toast the pine nuts in a pan on medium heat, until lightly browned. Remove pizza from the oven and sprinkle pine nuts on top. Serve warm.

Brussels sprouts, anchovy and lemon pasta

Keane says: “The spicy flavour of Brussels sprouts complimented by tangy lemon and anchovies makes a satisfying and nutritious meal. Anchovies are a great source of good fats which help to reduce inflammation and support cardiovascular health.”

Pasta is a classic for a reason: it’s budget-friendly, super tasty and versatile enough to mix and match ingredients every time you make it. This super simple recipe is perfect for a quick, weeknight dinner when you’re craving something filling. Serve with a side of tossed salad for a complete and satisfying meal.

Ingredients

  • 360g dried spaghetti of choice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly chopped
  • 8 anchovies, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 400g Brussels sprouts, chopped
  • 200g broccolini, chopped
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 2/3 cup finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Prepare a large saucepan and cook pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Once cooked, drain and keep ¾ cup of the cooking water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, place a large frying pan on medium heat and add oil and garlic. When garlic is lightly golden, add in the anchovy and chilli and season with salt and pepper. Stir for 1 minute and then add wine, leaving to simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Place the Brussels sprouts and broccolini in the saucepan, and keep stirring on and off for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.
  4. Put the cooked pasta into the saucepan with the vegetables and add in the ¾ cup cooking water. Stir well, then add the lemon zest, juice, parmesan and an extra drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Once mixed all together, serve warm with fresh basil leaves and extra parmesan as desired.

Maple and balsamic Brussels sprouts with almonds and cranberries

“Brussels sprouts get a sweet and salty makeover in this delicious side dish. Almonds add a delicious crunch while adding a good source of fibre and protein,” Keane says.

Brussels sprouts roasted with balsamic vinegar and maple then topped with cranberries and almonds are the perfect side dish. The sweet glaze goes great with the salty flavour of Brussels sprouts. To really take it to the next level, sprinkle over a little bacon.

Ingredients

  • 400g Brussels sprouts, rinsed and chopped in halves
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line 1 to 2 oven trays with baking paper depending on their size — you want to be able to evenly spread the chopped Brussels sprouts across them. Brush coconut oil across the Brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper. Cook in oven for approximately 20 minutes, taking them out half way to shuffle them around.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup together with the balsamic vinegar.
  3. When the Brussels sprouts are out of the oven, sprinkle them with the cranberries and the almonds. Put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy. Serve warm.

Do you cook with Brussels sprouts? How do you add them into your diet?

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