10 Tasty Brussels Sprouts Recipes

1• Pan-Fried Brussels Sprouts with Red Onion, Chilli and Cumin Seeds

Eat on its own, add cheese or use as an accompaniment to meat. (From eatthinkandbemerry.wordpress.com)

2• Stir-Fried Sprouts with Chestnuts

Brussels sprouts and chestnuts . . . that’s Christmas on a plate. (From http://www.waitrose.com)

3• Brussels Sprouts in Onion Butter

The chicken stock and onions add more flavour to our little green friends. (From http://www.recipezaar.com)

4• Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts

Simple, quick and cheesy – mmmmmm. (From http://www.101cookbooks.com)

5• Spicy Brussels Sprouts and Carrots

Brussels casserole style with a ‘unique flavour’ courtesy of onion, horseradish and parsley. (From http://www.tasteofhome.com)

6• Brussels Sprouts with Apples

Brussels with apple, lemon, raisins and nutmeg, perfect for sweet-tooths. (From find.myrecipes.com)

7• Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted with cayenne pepper for a spicy tang. (From http://www.cookography.com)

8• Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon

With garlic, mustard and vermouth. Mmmm. (From http://www.elise.com)

9• Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad

Warm and satisfying with garlic, bacon and country-style bread. (From http://www.msnbc.msn.com)

10• Creamed Brussels Sprouts

Rich and creamy with aromatic nutmeg. Pure indulgence. (From http://www.sprig.com)



Cabbage and Fennel Soup

Looking for the cabbage soup diet? Go here.

This week’s veggies are: • Potatoes • Sweetcorn • Carrots • Onions • CabbageFennel • And *sigh* swede

There’s a bit of a little ‘n large scenario with the veg box this week. The huge cabbage has come straight from the Land of the Giants, while the teeny fennel was surely grown by The Borrowers.

Whilst the fridge is being taken over by cabbages, the cupboard is overrun with onions, so it looks like it will be a week of cabbage soup! I wonder what cabbage soup tastes like with a hint of fennel? Sounds like it should work . . . I’ll let you know.

Yes, that works! In true Vegging Out style, the soup was thrown together from what I had around.

I used half a cabbage from the Land of the Giants, the fennel and three onions from The Borrowers, a handful of frozen peas, two cloves of garlic, one pint of veg stock, some vegetable oil (just enough to start cooking the onions), salt and parmesan. I don’t normally use salt, but it does bring the flavour out. The fennel was very subtle you could hardly taste it, but I think it was a good mix.

What’s In a Mushroom?

Last night I ate half the punnet of mushrooms in a quinoa mix. I put the quinoa on to simmer then diced the mushrooms and fried them in butter with garlic. When the quinoa was done I mixed in the mushrooms then added a chopped chilli and cubes of avocado. In my usual style, it was created from what I had around at the time and what I thought might go together. And it was very, very tasty.

As nice as standard cup mushrooms are, they don’t really taste of much on their own, so it’s hard to believe that they can be much good for us nutritionally. I decided to find out what the humble standard mushroom really has to offer . . .

So What Nutrients Do Mushroom Contain?

Not only are mushrooms low in calories and fat-free, they are also an important source of B vitamins for those of us who don’t eat meat and according to The Mushroom Council they are ‘the only natural fresh vegetable or fruit with vitamin D’.

It’s not all good news though. If you suffer from fungal or yeast infections you should avoid mushrooms as fungus and yeasty foods can exacerbate the problem.

Here’s the Nutritional Low-down:

• VITAMIN B2 (riboflavin) – helps in the maintenance of healthy red blood cells, fat metabolism and nerve transport.

• VITAMIN B3 (niacin) – promotes healthy skin and helps with fat metabolism and nerve transport.

• VITAMIN B5 (pantothenic acid) – important in the production of hormones, fat metabolism and maintenance of the nervous system.

• VITAMIN D – its major function is to absorb calcium and phosphorus to maintain bones.

• SELENIUM – an antioxidant that helps to protect our cells from damage, also important for immunity, fertility in men and the production of thyroid hormones.

• COPPER – helps to make red blood cells and collagen, carries oxygen and keeps bones and nerves healthy.

• POTASSIUM – maintains fluid and mineral balance, and helps to control blood pressure. Also involved in muscle contraction and nerve transmission.

• ERGOTHIONEINE – an antioxidant, important for immunity and the protection of cells.

It seems that the humble mushroom does have a lot to offer, especially when it comes to vitamin D, and the more antioxidants you can get in your diet the better. So grab a handful and chuck them on your plate, cooked or raw!

(Nutritional information researched from The Mushroom Council and Nutritional Biochemistry, a course book by Premier International for the Diploma in Nutritional Therapy.)

All Hail the Red Pepper – Gorgeous Stuffed Peppers

Red PepperThe red pepper . . . what a creature of gorgeousness. Oh, I’m in rapture. I’ve just stuffed and roasted a red pepper for the first-time ever and only contented grunting sounds can describe how darn good it was!

My Mum used to make a great stuffed pepper back in the day and the taste of this gem brought back lovely memories.

How to Make Stuffed Peppers

If you haven’t roasted a pepper before, here’s the drill:

• Slice top to bottom, including the green sticky-outy bit, and scrape out all the seeds and white bits inside. Alternatively just slice the top off to use as a lid and keep the ‘bell’ intact (that’s what Mum used to do and, to be honest, cut in halves it didn’t hold the stuffing so well, but that’s what all the recipes were saying to do).

• Paint the pepper inside and out with olive oil and season

• Place cut sides down on a tin or baking sheet of some sort and put it in the oven at 170ºC for about 10 minutes then take it out and let it cool

• In the meantime work on your stuffing

• Stuff your pepper and pop back in the oven for about 20 minutes, this time covered with foil

My stuffing was made up of what I fancied at the time, which happened to be onion, mushrooms, cabbage, raisins, sesame seeds, gruyère cheese and risotto rice – the stickiest rice I could find to gum it all together. Yummmmmmm!

When roasted, the pepper takes on a totally different taste to the one it has when eaten raw and it’s mighty tasty. Now I will pray to the god of veg boxes, “Please let more of these heavenly things grace my box soon”.

Cauli Curry in a Hurry


The star of this week’s veg box is a lovely looking cauliflower. It’s the first time a cauli has appeared in the box – and the first time one has appeared in my kitchen!

It’s silly really as cauliflower is a close relation to my favourite vegetable, broccoli. I can’t really say why I haven’t given it a proper chance before, but that’s the beauty of veg boxes – what gets delivered is what gets cooked.

Cauliflower Curry

I found a US recipe for a cauliflower curry, but it’s full of ‘cups’ and a million spices so I decide to make it up as I go along. All in all the meal takes about 20 minutes to cook, which means the rice and the curry can be cooked side by side and are ready together.

After putting the rice on I melted some butter in a large saucepan and added 2 1/2 teaspoons of curry powder, and two chopped up cloves of garlic. Then I chopped an onion and threw that in. After a few minutes I added the entire chopped up cauliflower and about 2 glasses of water. This was left to steam for about 5 minutes before I added a glass full of frozen peas and a handful of chopped parsley. After about another 5 minutes I added a small tin of plum tomatoes and when they were heated through the curry was done. As I like a slightly thicker curry, I added a little more water and a bit of flour at the end to bulk up the liquidy base.

This quick cauli curry is mighty tasty, but don’t cut the florets too small or they’ll turn to a tasteless pap! With larger florets you can still taste the freshness of the cauliflower through the curry flavours, which is really nice.

The Benefits of Spices

There could be more benefits to this meal than just a good taste. Scientists have found that combining spices such as turmeric with cruciferous veg like cauliflower and broccoli provides a great nutrient boost that can have protective and even healing effects on prostate cancer. You can read more here.


Brussels Sprouts and Bean Sprout Bubble and Squeak

I’ve tried the bean sprouts hot, so now it’s time to try them cold. When I fancy a snack, I grab a handful and discover that they are quite tasty this way, too, but they’re not something you can eat loads of in one sitting.

In the evening I decide to serve more of the bean sprouts with a bubble and squeak, which will use up my greens. When I go to the fridge I find that the leaves are more yellow than green and actually, they’re not greens at all – hiding in the middle are brussel sprouts!

There’s only about nine very small brussels on the plant so I pull these off and bulk up the cabbage element of the bubble and squeak with the rest of the red cabbage. I mash up some potatoes and fry an onion then stir it all together with a beaten egg.

I push the mixture into a frying pan that has been heating some oil. After 15 to 20 minutes the bottom is golden brown and it’s ready to eat. I garnish my squeak with a handful of bean sprouts and that’s one whole box now gone.

This is my first bubble and squeak, and even with my odd ingredients, it is really nice. OK, the red cabbage did leach its colour a bit but it tasted fine.

Mission Bean Sprout – Nutrients in Sprouted Beans


Bean sprouts . . . I know they’re good for you, but I’ve never really given them a go before. Now I have two boxes of them to munch through in a week – 454g of sprouting lentils, chick peas, aduki and mung beans.

Bean Sprout Nutrients

All the nutrients that go into making a plant are collected in their seeds. These nutrients burst into life when the seeds begin to sprout, so these boxes of bean sprouts are really packing a punch. The label tells me that the sprouts are ‘nutritious and delicious eaten hot or cold’ and are full of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins.

On further investigation I find that all are a good source of protein and fibre, plus:

• Raw sprouted lentils contain:
very good levels of vitamin C, folic acid and manganese and good levels of thiamin, iron, phosphorus and copper.

• Raw sprouted aduki (or adzuki) beans contain: vitamin A, B, C and E, calcium, iron and niacin.

• Raw sprouted mung beans contain: very good levels of a vitamins C and K, riboflavin, folic acid, copper and manganese, and good levels of thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

• Unsprouted chick peas (garbanzo) contain: very good levels of molybdenum and manganese, and good levels of folic acid, copper, phosphorus, and iron. (I am still looking for reliable information on the nutrients in sprouted chick peas.)

Beans vs Bean Sprouts

Before it sprouts, a bean contains enzyme inhibitors, which prevent it from growing. These enzyme inhibitors also make the beans harder for the body to digest.

As the bean sprouts the enzyme inhibitors are deactivated, which makes the sprouts much easier to digest. This means our bodies can gain more nutritional value from the bean sprouts than the actual beans.

In order to sprout, a bean must have enough energy and nutrients to transform it into a plant so when sprouting occurs the bean is at its nutritional peak. Weight for weight, sprouted beans have a much higher nutritional content.

Random Bean Sprout Stir Fry

For my evening meal I decide to try them hot and opt for a stir fry. As I look for other things to put in the wok, I notice the red cabbage from last week, still in its prime. I chop a third off and shred it. Then I slice up the yellow pepper and some spring onions. I serve the stir fry with egg-fried rice with a splash of soy sauce. It’s a very tasty and colourful meal, and the bean sprouts turn out to be really lovely – a little nutty with a delicate crunch.

Using up random items from my veg box in this way has inadvertently led to me eating a rainbow, something we are told is good for getting a wider range of nutrients into our diet. I would never have bought a red cabbage or a yellow pepper in my regular shop so this has been a good lesson. Both of these veg tasted great so I won’t rule them out again.


Beetroot Soup and Beetroot Nutrients

BeetrootBeetroot is one of those veggies I’ve always eyed with suspicion so, rather than having it staring at me all week, I thought my pack of cooked beetroot should be the next on the chopping block. After searching for ideas, I decided that a beetroot soup was in order.

Basic Beetroot Soup

I took one of the onions, cut it up and sweated it in some butter. Then I added all the beetroot (it was a packet of 4 small cooked beets) and simmered the ingredients in a pint of vegetable stock. All that was left to do was to whizz it up with my hand blender. After pouring into a bowl, I added a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkling of fresh chopped chives.

I like making soups and I can confidently say that this is the worst one I’ve ever tried – I just don’t like the taste of cooked beetroot! Bleugh! Half way through eating it I gave up. I tried to persevere as I know beetroot is a ‘superfood’, but it just couldn’t be done.

Beetroot Nutrition

Beetroot (according to The World’s Healthiest Foods website) is a great source of (in descending order): • Folic acid • Manganese • Potassium • Fibre • Vitamin C • Magnesium • Tryptophan • Iron • Copper • Phosphorus. You can find the complete nutritional profile for beets here.

Next time beetroot turns up in the box, I hope it’s raw. Raw beetroot is great juiced – lovely and sweet. (UPDATE: My beetroot juice is here.)

With my next box due to arrive in a couple of days, I took a stock take of Box 1. The remaining potatoes were destined to be mashed and I could fry the last two onions and mix them in. I fancied this with a couple of fried eggs on top. All the carrots had been dunked in houmous and I’d started the garlic. This left the rest of the garlic, 1/2 the celeriac and the red cabbage. What am I going to do with a whole red cabbage?! I’ve only ever known it pickled before and I can’t find any recipes that get my tastebuds going.

Root Vegetable Gratin Recipe – Quick, Easy and Very Tasty

After my first veg box arrived, I decided to start with the veg I liked the least – the dreaded turnips. When I searched the Internet for turnip recipes, the one that kept coming up was for Root Veg Gratin. All the gratin recipes were practically the same with variations on the types of veg and cheese used.

How to Make a Root Veg Gratin

The dish is layered lasagna style with alternating layers of root vegetables and cheese and onion. It’s really easy to do and doesn’t take long to prepare.

The first step is a lot of chopping

Select three of four different kinds of root vegetables and cut them in thin slices about 3mm wide.

Many recipes said to use 1kg of veg, but I just used the amount I had, made up of turnips, celeriac and potatoes. I peeled the turnips and celeriac first, but left the potato skins on.

While you are chopping heat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F, Gas Mark 4).

Next, chop your onions and cheese

I used crumbly goats cheese, but you can use any cheese you like that melts well. The stronger cheeses will give the dish more flavour, such a a good strong cheddar.

Now layer it up

Start with a layer of root vegetables. It’s up to you whether you have a complete layer of one type of veg or vary the veg. I varied the veg in my layers. Then scatter some chopped onion and cheese over the veg layer. Repeat this until you have run out of ingredients.

And top it off

When the layering is complete, a mixture of cream (142ml pot) and milk (150ml) is poured slowly over the top to sink in down through the layers. To finish, you top the dish off with more cheese, little knobs of butter and nutmeg. Easy!

Cook for an hour at 180 degrees C

After about 20 minutes at 180 degrees, there was a surprisingly enticing smell coming from the oven, but I had to wait for the full hour to be up (or until the top was golden). And I still wasn’t sure about those turnips . . .

The Taste Test

Well, it smelt good and it looked good, and it tasted delicious! That was unexpected.

Each slice of veg was nicely al denté and held a subtle flavour. The celeriac, which I’d never tasted before, had a hint of celery and wasn’t overpowering at all. The turnip was hard to describe, but nice! I guess I just don’t like it in chunky stews.

And the mark of a new recipe is this: would I have this root veg gratin again? Yes!

Veg Boxes Are Good For Breaking Habits

So far I think that having a veg box is a very good thing. It’s easy to get into the habit of eating the same things and by having a veg box I’m definitely getting more variety in my diet – and I’m getting to try things I never would have chosen to.

There are lots of different gratin recipes on Waitrose.com.