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Brussels sprouts have come a long way from being a dreaded vegetable at the dinner table to a beloved star of many dishes. These little green gems are not only packed with nutrients but also incredibly versatile, adapting to various cooking methods and flavour combinations. Let's explore seven delicious ways to cook and serve Brussels sprouts, along with some complementary flavours and their nutritional benefits.

Nutritional Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

Before we dive into the recipes, it's worth noting the impressive nutritional profile of Brussels sprouts. These cruciferous vegetables are low in calories but high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, and also provide significant amounts of vitamin A, manganese, and antioxidants. Including Brussels sprouts in your diet can help support your immune system, improve bone health, and reduce inflammation.

  1. Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Method: Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Trim and halve the Brussels sprouts, toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Complementary Flavours: Add a splash of balsamic vinegar or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese before serving for an extra layer of flavour. You can also toss them with chopped garlic and rosemary before roasting.

  1. Air-Fried Brussels Sprouts

Method: Preheat your air fryer to 190°C (375°F). Toss halved Brussels sprouts with a bit of olive oil, salt, and your favourite spices. Cook in the air fryer for 15-20 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through, until they are crispy.

Complementary Flavours: Try adding a dash of smoked paprika or a drizzle of honey and sriracha for a sweet and spicy twist.

  1. Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts

Method: Heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add halved or shredded Brussels sprouts and stir-fry for 5-7 minutes until they are tender but still crisp.

Complementary Flavours: Toss with soy sauce, garlic, and a touch of ginger. Add sliced almonds and a splash of rice vinegar for a nutty and tangy finish.

  1. Steamed Brussels Sprouts

Method: Place Brussels sprouts in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam for about 6-8 minutes until tender.

Complementary Flavours: Serve with a drizzle of melted butter and a squeeze of lemon juice. You can also sprinkle with fresh herbs like dill or parsley for added freshness.

  1. Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Method: Cook diced bacon in a large skillet until crispy, then remove and set aside. In the same skillet, sauté halved Brussels sprouts in the bacon fat for about 8-10 minutes until tender.

Complementary Flavours: Finish with a splash of apple cider vinegar and a sprinkle of chopped pecans. The salty bacon pairs perfectly with the slight bitterness of the sprouts.

  1. Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Method: Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F). Blanch halved Brussels sprouts in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to a baking dish. Pour a mixture of heavy cream, grated Gruyère cheese, and minced garlic over the sprouts. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and golden.

Complementary Flavours: Add a pinch of nutmeg to the cream mixture for a warm, aromatic note. Top with breadcrumbs for an extra crunchy finish.

  1. Brussels Sprouts Salad

Method: Shred raw Brussels sprouts using a food processor or mandoline. Toss with a simple vinaigrette made from olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and honey.

Complementary Flavours: Add dried cranberries, toasted almonds, and thinly sliced red onions. This raw salad is refreshing and a perfect side dish.

Bringing It All Together

Brussels sprouts are a fantastic addition to any meal, offering both versatility in preparation and a powerhouse of nutrients. Whether you prefer them roasted, air-fried, stir-fried, steamed, or in a salad, there's a delicious way to enjoy Brussels sprouts that suits your taste. Experiment with these methods and complementary flavours to discover your favourite way to cook and serve Brussels sprouts. Happy cooking!