26 November 2020

The Humble Brussel Sprout...

The Humble Brussel Sprout

Let’s face it sprouts are a bit of a marmite vegetable. They are either loved or hated. In our household they are loved and used all year round, and not just served up soggy and smelly at Christmas! There seems to be a common misconception that basically all you can do with sprouts is boil them. Putting the cross in the bottom and peeling the first 2 layers as you throw them in the pan is a time honoured tradition. They bring joy on the table but then hatred after, as their effects are, um, released!

Well, thankfully that is not the only thing they do. Firstly, sprouts are a member of the cabbage family, in fact they are little cabbages. As a cruciferous vegetable, similar to broccoli, kale and cauliflower, Spouts grow on a thick stalk on the ground and it is thought that their name comes from the city of Brussels, where they are very much loved. High in fibre, minerals and antioxidants, Brussel Sprouts with give you a good hit of potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin K in your diet. 100 grams will give you over 100% of your Vitamin C and over 150% of your vitamin K for the day. Eaten raw they 86% water, 9% carbs and 3% protein, and of course zero fat.  You see, Sprouts really are super!

I eat Brussel Sprouts all the time, mainly raw or lightly stir-fried. They are excellent thinly sliced in salads, quartered in stir-fries or even halved and baked in the oven. Cooking destroys many nutrients, so try and eat raw vegetables a few times a week or very lightly cook for maximum benefit. Try shredded sprouts in a sandwich similar to adding lettuce, or as a base in a salad. Eating spouts raw, also has one other benefit – it does not have the same effect on your digestive system, if you know what I mean!

One of my favourite dishes is stir-fried Sprouts. I have included the recipe below, for you to try. It is my go-to lunch recipe, when I want something quick and tasty, and it looks amazing. It is light but very filling, low in calories so great as a meal after fasting, or if you are just looking to add a healthy meal into your diet. I love it for lunch, but it would be a great quick dinner – it is also great in a wrap and eaten cold the next day.

Stir-Fried Sprouts, with pea shoots, butternut squash and a balsamic glaze.

Ingredients:

6 Brussel Sprouts, rinsed and cut into quarters.

1 large tomato, cut into large chunks.

A handful of Pea sprouts.

5 large round lettuce leaves.

Red chilli – optional, about 5 think slices.

Half an Avocado.

3 large radishes.

2 tenderstem broccoli stalks.

Roasted butternut squash, cut into chunks.

Croutons and Houmous on the side (optional)

Method:

Add the sprouts, to a pan with a little oil and vegan butter. Turn the heat up high and stir-fry the sprouts for 2 minutes before adding the chunks of butternut squash, the sliced chilli and the chunks of broccoli. Fry for around 5 mins total or until the ingredients are slightly brown.

Whilst the veg is cooking arrange your plate by scattering with the lettuce, pea sprouts, tomato, quartered radish and avocado. Add the cooked veg by scattering it all over the plate and add a zig zag drizzle of balsamic glaze. A dollop of houmous and some croutons can also add another level to the dish. Check out my houmous and croutons recipe on the website www.verybusyvegan.co.uk.

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Recipe notes: In order to keep the texture in this dish, cook quickly so your sprouts do not turn soggy. Instead of Balsamic Glaze you could thin down some vegan mayo with lemon juice to dress the dish. Replacing fresh tomatoes with sundried tomatoes deepens the flavour of the dish. Replace butternut squash with any left-over veg you have in your fridge or add some chunks of Vegan Cheese for a different flavour.