Sprouts often make it into lists of the top five most hated vegetables, says our Food Fixer blogger, nutritionist Robert Hobson. He’s got a healthy, tasty recipe to make yours fabulous this Christmas (or anytime).
Sprouts are everywhere this year and not just at the dinner table, you’ll find them on wrapping paper, tree baubles and cards, but remember, like cute little puppies, they’re not just for Christmas! I love ’em and think they look really sweet, like little baby cabbages, but this isn’t a view shared by most Brits as this vegetable regularly makes it into the top five most hated vegetables. A recent survey of parents voted Brussels sprouts as the number one most disliked vegetables amongst children.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts are rich in important phytonutrients (natural plant compounds that promote good health) such as glucosinolates that have been associated with protecting the body against cancer. They contain more total glucosinolates than other family members including Kale, cauliflower and broccoli. They’re also low in calories and rich in a number of other essential nutrients.
Make sure you don’t overcook your sprouts as this will encourage the release of sulphur that is responsible for the ‘sprouty smell’ many people associate with this vegetable – it’s a bit like built in protection against overcooking! The sulpher comes from the same glucosinolate compounds that help to protect against cancer.
Brussels sprouts have also been researched for their cholesterol lowering abilities. The fibre components of sprouts bind with bile acids in our digestive tract encouraging them to pass out of the body which forces the body to make more which requires using stores of cholesterol.
Get interesting with your sprouts and don’t just boil them up:
- They’re delicious fried with pancetta and balsamic vinegar which turns sticky and sweet as the acids burns off
- Brilliant addition to bubble and squeak
- Spicy when cooked with Indian spices, ginger, and tomatoes
The recipe below makes a tasty light meal, snack or accompaniment and could be something different to serve on Boxing day with leftover turkey, lentil loaf or grilled tofu. For an Asian twist, leave out the salt and add in a little ginger and soy sauce. Don’t mess with the sprouts to much, get them in the pan cooked and back out again whilst still crunchy.
Stir-fried Brussels sprouts
290 calories per serving
25g cashew nuts
1 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
300g Brussels sprouts, outer leaves trimmed then halved
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 handful coriander, chopped
1.Lightly toast the cashew nut in a dry pan and then once cooled roughly chop
2. Heat the oil in a wok and add the minced garlic cooking for 1 minut
3. Add the sprouts and turn heat to high. Season
4. Leave the sprouts undisturbed for a minutes so they begin to brown then give them a good toss and leave again for another minute. The key is to get them nice and golden brown. They should have a nice crunch to them but not be overcooked.
5. Thrown in the cashew nuts and sunflower seeds and stir for 30 seconds then turn off the heat.
6. Check seasoning and sprinkle with coriander
NUTRITIONAL CV: Brussel’s sprouts
Rich in: potassium, magnesium, folate, iron, copper, vitamin E, B6, K, C.
Great for: energy levels , healthy blood and skin:
Why? Iron, folate and B6 are all involved in red blood cell production and can help to fight of tiredness and fatigue (copper also helps with the absorption of iron in the body) whilst vitamin K is essential for blood clotting. Vitamin B6 also helps the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates in food. Vitamin E and C are powerful antioxidants that help to fight free radical damage and are also associated with maintaining health skin.
Nutritionist Rob Hobson runs consultancies RHNutrition and HOPE (Helping Older People to Eat Well) and has built a reputation as a trustworthy and inspirational source of information working for the NHS, private clients and leading food and nutrition companies including supplements provider Healthspan. An obsessed foodie and skilled cook, Rob regularly cooks for celebrity clients and contributes to national press including Stella, Daily Mail, Grazia, Harpers Bazaar, Runners Fitness, Healthy magazine and Women’s Health
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