How I got my kids to eat Brussels Sprouts

You may have noticed. this is my first post in a while, as I said to someone recently, “Life has been really getting in the way of things I’d rather be doing”. So, apologies, but I have been doing some interesting things in the kitchen, and in travel – but struggling to find the time to share it with you… This is a pair of older recipes that I thought I’d quickly share with you, while I polish up a longer piece…

Is there any other vegetable that inspires as much loathing as the poor Brussel sprout? The butt of many jokes, and stories of sad Christmases, most people screw up their noses at the humble sprout, but I’m here to offer a couple of alternate recipes, that just might change your mind….

I was lucky growing up, I was never served “Boiled to death Brussel Sprouts”, so I have no memories that need to be exorcised.  I quite like the taste and texture of sprouts, so often throw them in stir fries.  And I once had them served raw in an almost sauerkraut flavoured dressing that made me experiment with a raw version, that is a brilliant addition to the winter vege rotation…

The first method is really simple and is how I got my eldest to not only try sprouts, but to eat them with gusto!! A miracle in itself…

browned brussels

Browned Brussels

Brussel Sprouts – trimmed and halved

*Olive oil

*Salt and pepper

* – garlic flavoured – either the oil or the salt.  Not 100% necessary, but it does add to the flavour.

Heat a cast iron pan to smoking hot. Pour in a generous slosh of the oil and place the sprouts cut side down in the oil.  Season really well.  You want as much surface area to hit the pan. Cook until well browned on both sides. No more than a few minutes each side… Serve immediately.

You may find the sprouts turn themselves – as occasionally they “jump” when they hit the hot oil.

I served with a stew, but they work as an accompaniment to most meals.  They also retain their bright green colour and should still be crunchy and have a delicious, almost nutty flavour…

This method works well with Broccoli and Cauliflower as well. And sometimes I use all 3.


Sauerkraut Sprouts

Sauerkraut is that well-known fermented cabbage dish, with a long life, and a distinctive sour and tangy flavour. Real sauerkraut takes over 20 days to ferment and is pickled with salt and not vinegar. This salad isn’t fermented, and is flavoured with vinegar, but the end result has a definite Sauerkraut tang. And is delicious served with Corned beef, to give a vague Rueben Sandwich combination. I love how the tiny red onion flecks almost glow against the dark green background of the sprouts..

8-10 Brussel sprouts trimmed and cleaned

½ red onion finely diced

2-3 gherkins finely diced

1/4C Red wine vinegar

¼ C juice from the jar of pickled gherkins – strange ingredient, but this is what gives it the Sauerkraut essence

Salt and pepper

chopped red onion and gherkin
Finely diced onions and gherkins

The red onions and gherkins need to be very finely diced – I’m talking 2mm cubes. I like to chop so I do it by knife, but if you can’t be bothered feel free to use a mini food processor, if you have one handy, but watch it, you want distinct tiny pieces, not a mush.

Take the red onion and add the red wine vinegar. Leave it to sit for at least ½ an hour – you are in effect doing a very quick pickle.

Slice your sprouts as thinly as possible. I use a knife, but again, feel free to use a food processor.

sprouts and gherkins
Shredded Sprouts and diced gherkins

Place in a large bowl and add the tiny pieces of gherkin. And toss together. Add the red onion, vinegar and the pickle juice, lots of salt and pepper. Toss to combine, taste and adjust the seasonings. Leave to stand for at least half an hour.

You can eat this salad then, but I have found it is better the next day. It keeps its crunch for 2-3 days in the fridge, and the flavour only gets better.


Both these recipes maintain the Sprouts brilliant green colour and will banish all memories of overcooked grey from your minds!


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