I never thought I would say this, but I love Brussels sprouts and I highly believe that you got to love them, too. In general, this snack is amazing as it is loaded with fiber, minerals, and healthy fats. If you are one of those people who would never believe Brussels can taste good, you will be surprised… Mixing them with salty tamari and spicy tahini sauce brings all the flavors and something amazing happens. This is a perfect movie snack and it only takes about 20 minutes to throw together. Not convinced to try it yet? In fact, how about I break down the awesome nutritional power of these little guys, because they are certainly more than absolutely delicious, so you can see for yourself? Let’s do it? Great! Then keep reading…
LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH BRUSSELS SPROUTS
As there are so many Brussels haters out there, the responsibility is falling on my shoulders to tell you that things can actually get better. Why? Because our sprout story has given some hope! See, some time ago, when E and me lived in Huddersfield, for the very first time we decided to have some Brussels along our main dinner meal. Not going to lie, the first impression was disgusting. To make things worse, E decided to run a little competition, whoever eats the most wins a portion of ice cream, which was like a huge and very much appreciated prize back then. As hard as I tried I couldn’t shove down my throat even one. E ate 10. I was very surprised and I am still not sure how he did it. I was officially traumatized and knew that we would never get along. The Brussels sprouts I mean.
The only reason I gave these little guys another shot, was because I saw them beautifully laying in my local healthy food shop and I just couldn’t resist to pick some up. However, I knew that I have to get creative and that’s definitely not the steamer that will do the job for me this time!
Fast-forward, I now know that Brussels weren’t the problem, but the way we prepared them – was. I remember telling E on the phone recently that I ate an entire plate of Brussels in one sitting and he immediately responded ‘no way’ followed with a good laugh! He couldn’t believe, that’s how bad our first experience was! As soon as he got back I made him a portion to taste and he was astounded. We have been making Brussels that way ever since. So, if you hate Brussels sprouts, chances are, you have been preparing them the wrong way. UPS!
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES AND WHY I AM OBSESSED WITH BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Whether you love or hate them, you must know few things about them as these little, cabbage-like and often ignored on plates, sprouts deserve a second look and here is why…
Brussels are a part of the cruciferous vegetable family, sometimes also called Brassica vegetables, a group of nutritional powerhouse vegetables, which supply a high level of disease-fighting antioxidants and other nutrients. These vegetables include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, radishes, turnips, watercress and our lovely Brussels.
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in glucosinolates (1), sulphur-containing compounds, that are responsible for the horrendous smell when you boil them (think of Brussels, yuck!). However, during preparation, these glucosinolates are broken down to form biologically active compounds, such as isothiocyanate and indole, which has been seen to trigger a number of anti-cancerous systems in the body and has been linked to a decreased cancer risk including breast, lung, colon and prostate (2; 3).
Brussels sprouts are high in fibre, bone building vitamin K and immune boosting vitamin C (perfect for this time of year!). Only 100 g (about 5 sprouts) of Brussels contain 175% of daily vitamin K needs and 103% of vitamin C (4)! As vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin, make sure to eat Brussel sprouts with a source of healthy fat – roasting them in some coconut oil, for example, or as in this recipe, we will pair them with tahini.
Individuals with already existing and untreated thyroid problems may want to avoid Brussels sprouts as it is not clear from the research exactly how much risk is involved with the consumption goitrogens. As always, it is important to talk to your doctor regarding your individual risk for a thyroid disorder and what types of food are right for you.
TAMARI ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH HARISSA TAHINI SAUCE
Tamari Roasted Brussels
500 g (around 20 whole) Brussels sprouts
A good dash of tamari soy sauce, gluten-free
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon garlic granules
Himalayan rose pink salt and black pepper, to taste
Harissa Tahini Sauce
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1 teaspoon harissa spice mix
1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water, to thin
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a large baking tray with a parchment paper, set aside.
Prepare the Brussels: wash, trim and cut into halves or quarters. Spread them onto the baking tray. Season with chilli flakes, garlic granules and drizzle or spray some oil, toss to coat (use hands to ensure sprouts are thoroughly coated) and set in the oven to roast for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway, until crispy around edges. Remove the tray from the oven and drizzle with tamari, toss to coat and leave to cool for few minutes.
For the harissa tahini sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. Add the water last, a little at the time, until the desired consistency is reached. Store any leftover in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Note: As I keep my tahini in the fridge I have noticed that it gets very lumpy and grainy if I use tahini cold. Make sure your tahini is room temperature or simply warm it up on the stove as I did, otherwise it won’t mix well with water.
Transfer Brussels to a plate and serve with Harissa Tahini Sauce, drizzle it on top or dip as you see E doing in the picture.
If you make this, let me see! Tag photos you post of my recipes with #healthyhappened on Instagram.