• Sorghum pilaf with roasted Brussels sprouts, cranberries and grapes. (Masha Davydova)Source: Masha Davydova
If you don't like Brussels sprouts, you might be doing them wrong.
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17 Jun 2021 - 11:34 AM  UPDATED 24 Jun 2021 - 3:08 PM

In terms of polarising food choices, Brussels sprouts are right up there with durian fruit and coriander. It may well be for the same reason, too. Just as coriander has been found to taste like soap to people who carry a particular gene, Brussels sprouts apparently morph into sulphur for up to 50 percent of the population.

Why is coriander so incredibly divisive?
Hate the herb? It could be your genes. Or it could be what your Mum cooked when you were growing up.

Well, maybe not sulphur exactly. Just very, very bitter and unpalatable and basically yuck. We've all heard the complaints.

Such a shame for some, but it does mean more Brussels sprouts for those of us who only taste sweet, nutty goodness. Unless you cook them for too long, of course. Then we are totally on board with the whole bitter thing.

Assuming you're not going to overcook these dishes, get ready to bow down in awe. When Brussels sprouts are good, they are positively angelic. Now that's enough to convert even the most adamant Brussels sprout hater.

Shot through

Adam Liaw knows the best way to treat Brussels sprouts is to douse them in gunpowder. That's the Southern Indian gunpowder spice mix, of course. A good sprinkling of urad dal, chana dal and a bunch of other spices brings out B. Sprout's fiercer side.

Sweet side

Want to know the best way to get on Brussels sprouts' sweet side? Pair them with figs. They won't need much else to taste heaven-scent.

Cut through

Sorghum pilaf with roasted Brussels sprouts, cranberries and grapes.

This well-balanced pilaf adds sour notes from cranberries, sweetness from grapes, freshness from herbs and awesomeness from Brussels sprouts.

In defence of Brussels sprouts
They don't have to be soft, soggy and sulphurous!

Toasted right

Putting Brussels sprouts on a toastie is admittedly a bit left of centre. But that's what makes this sandwich so good. The Sprouts are gently sautéed until slightly caramelised, bringing out a sweetness that sings to the melted Havarti cheese.

Just roasted

Boiling is the reason so many people hate Brussels sprouts. Or most vegetables, really. Don't boil them, roast them. This recipe does exactly that with added bacon. Tempted yet?

Added kale

Are we pushing our luck by adding kale? You can only imagine that this brassica-laden dish packs a bit of an, er, after-punch. Don't worry, the garlic lemon dressing on this modified Caesar salad adds plenty of acid to knock the brassicas into line.

Get skewered

Grilled beef skewers with pepper berry sauce

Small Brussels sprouts are simply adorable on a skewer. They also add crunch and a hint of bitterness. Note the crunch: this is not the time to cook your Sprouts until soft. Actually, it's never the time to cook your Sprouts until soft...

Completely creamed

Now here's a recipe that anyone who endured Brussels sprouts at Chrismas as a kid might think they know well. They won't, though. While the recipe does break the golden rule of never boiling Sprouts, it's very clear that you only boil them until tender. Not mushy. Not sulphurous. Just until tender.

Slaw good

A slaw that's made for winter feasting simply has to contain Brussels sprouts. Sliced very thinly and baked, they are crunchy and oh-so-good alongside kale and radicchio.

All hail the Brussels sprout!

Vegetable reverance
Five ways to cook with broccoli stalks
The florets may be crowned as the best part of the broccoli, but their stems deserve all the glory.
Broccoli soup with seaweed-butter crouton

This broccoli soup is quite indulgent with butter and cream for a thicker consistency, served with sourdough croutons topped with a herby seaweed butter.

Salt and pepper broccolini with green chilli vinegar

Crisp, beer-battered broccolini scattered with coriander and spring onion, served with a chilli and garlic dressing.

Kale stem pesto

How many kale recipes have you come across in which the directions tell you to reserve the stems for “another use” or even discard them altogether? Well, friends, this is your other use. 

Kale and pea socca with yoghurt tahini dressing

A thin and crispy pancake-like dish from the Ligurian coast is naturally gluten-free. Here's it's dressed with a minty, rich tahini sauce.

Caramelised Brussels sprouts with prosciutto

A cracking way to make Brussels sprouts more enticing is to cook them so they start to colour up. If you’ve got some prosciutto on hand, it makes a great accompaniment. In its absence, a little fried bacon can also do the trick.

Kale chips

If you’re on the fence about kale, it will definitely woo you in this crisp, lightly oiled and salted form. 

Poached chicken, green olive and Brussels sprouts

The much-maligned Brussels sprout is having a renaissance in foodie circles and for good reason – it’s simply delicious. When cooked well and properly seasoned, the humble sprout is a wonderful thing, worthy of consideration in meal planning.

Brussels sprouts with almonds and parsley

Follow the instructions here to create perfectly cooked Brussels sprouts that will reveal just how tasty they can be.