Brussels sprouts are hardly one of the most popular food items out there – but there are ways to incorporate them into dishes creatively.
From cooking to baking, Aldi wants people to see the potential in the often discarded vegetable.
Why don’t we all like them? According to a 2011 study by Cornwall College, sprouts contain a chemical that tastes bitter to people who have a variation of a certain gene.
About 50% of the world’s population has that gene, which is why sprouts are thought to be such a love/hate food item.
But with five different recipes to try – all slightly experimental – there’s no excuse for not sinking your teeth into some festive sprout inspired food.
Makes 12. Prep time 20 minutes, cook time 25.
- 200g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 175g light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 150ml vegetable oil
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 150g carrots, grated
- 100g sprouts, finely shredded
For the frosting:
- 150g full fat soft cheese, at room temperature
- 75g butter, at room temperature
- 75g icing sugar sifted
To decorate (optional):
- 50g white chocolate
- 12 sprout leaves
- Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/gas mark 4. Line a bun tray with cupcake cases.
- Sift together the flour, bicarb and spice into a large bowl then stir in the sugar. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, orange zest and juice and then stir into the flour mix with the carrots and sprouts. Mix until well combined and then spoon into the paper cases and bake for 25 minutes until risen and springy to touch. Cool on a wire rack.
- For the frosting, beat the butter to soften, add in the icing sugar and mix to a smooth consistency then stir in the cream cheese and chill until required.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water. Line a plate with parchment paper. Dip a sprout leaf into the chocolate to coat both sides and place on parchment to set.
- Pipe or spread the cakes with the frosting, top with a chocolate sprout leaf before serving.
Tip: The un-iced cakes will keep for 3 days in an airtight container but once iced eat the same day. You can also freeze the un-iced cakes.
Serves 4. Prep time 10 minutes.
- 20 sprouts, trimmed
- 400ml tomato juice
- To taste; lime juice, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, Worcestershire Sauce
- 100ml vodka
- 4 sprouts halved and griddled
- Sprout snow
- To make the garnish, heat a griddle pan or frying pan until hot and scorch the halved sprouts. Thread onto a cocktail stick.
- Juice the sprouts retaining the discard for the sprout snow decoration. In a cocktail shaker mix the sprout and tomato juices together, then season to taste with Worcester sauce, lime juice, sea salt and black pepper.
- Combine 2 tbsp sprout snow with a pinch of salt. Dip the rim of the glasses in a little water then the sprout snow for decoration.
- Add the vodka and ice to the shaker, put the lid on and give it a good shake then strain into the glasses and garnish with the sprouts.
Tip: Excess sprout snow can be used in stir-fries, soups or steamed for a couple of minutes and used as sprout rice.
Festive sprac and cheese
Serves 4. Prep time 15 minutes, cook time 25-30 minutes.
- 300g pasta shapes (macaroni or other)
- 200g sprouts, trimmed and quartered
- 500ml milk
- 50g butter
- 50g flour
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 100g strong Cheddar, grated plus 50g for topping
- 1 tsp English mustard
- 30g natural breadcrumbs
- 30g Parmesan, grated
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 6. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than the pack instructions. Add the sprouts for the final 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Place the milk, butter and flour in a pan and bring to the boil, whisking as you go to combine the mixture. Simmer for around 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the mixed spice, cheese, mustard and a little salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine the pasta, sprouts and sauce and transfer into an ovenproof dish. Scatter over the breadcrumbs, parmesan and extra cheddar, bake for 25 -30 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Sprouts in the hole
Makes 24 canapé size. Prep time 15 minutes, cook time 15 minutes.
- 120g plain flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 100ml milk
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 12 sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 12 rashers streaky bacon, halved lengthways
Cranberry sauce to serve
You’ll also need a mini muffin tray
- To make the batter; put the flour, eggs, milk and a pinch of salt into a blender or food processor and whizz to combine. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/ 200C fan/gas mark 7. Divide the oil in a 24-hole mini muffin tray and heat in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Cut each bacon rasher in half lengthways and wrap a piece round each sprout half. Carefully bring the bun tin out of the oven and divide the batter between the holes adding a sprout to each.
- Cook for 15 minutes until puffed up and golden. Cool slightly before serving with the sauce.
Serves 4. Prep time 15 minutes, cook time 25-30 minutes.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, seeded and sliced
- 200g sprouts, trimmed and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 red chilli, seeded and diced
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
- 4-8 eggs
- 1-2 tsp sugar
- 100g feta
- Handful coriander, chopped
- Heat the oil in a deep lidded pan, add the onion and pepper and cook gently for 10 minutes until softened. Add in the sprouts, garlic, chilli and paprika and continue cooking for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes. Stir well and simmer gently for 10 minutes until thickened. Add sugar to taste and salt and pepper.
- Make 4 wells in the sauce, carefully add the eggs then cover and cook for around 6 minutes until the whites have set and the yolks are cooked to your liking. Remove from the heat, scatter over the feta and coriander before serving.
Tip: To use leftover cooked sprouts in this recipe, simply add them into the pan just before the eggs to warm through.