Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pumpkin Seeds and Lemon
This post is written in collaboration with the Fair Food Forager. A movement which aims to change the way the world eats by making ethical easy. I'm excited to team up with these guys. They deliver such a great message with complete positivity. I firmly believe there are a lot of folk (including myself) out there who want to make better choices but just don't know where to start, after all, we are awash with information all around us. The Fair Food Forager website and app make it easy to find ethical and sustainable food through their location-based service. The app is free to download. Read more about their mission here.
I'm very eager to share this brussels sprouts recipe with you. In fact, I do have a few other variations which I also hope to post in time for this year's Christmas dinner planning. Brussels sprouts are in season from October to March each year, and they're home-grown. They're not just for Christmas. ;-)
I should really introduce this recipe by paying special homage to the humble sprout, as it's definitely managed to find its cool somehow in recent years. This pleases me a lot, it's such a tasty and important part of Christmas dinner IMHO and I have to say as soon they come into season each year I look forward to eating them in all sorts of yummy ways (believe me, in a frittata with cheese and chorizo is marvellous, perhaps that's another one for the blog).
I can't help but have feelings of nostalgia sweep over me as I cook and smell that familiar Christmassy sprout smell. Do you do that with food? Some smells and tastes will always transport me back, perhaps not in a good way, but definitely funny. I can't help but remember that god-awful sweaty and almost cheesy flavour of sprouts from my youth. What the hell was all that with boiling the life out of veg? Sorry, Mum! Yeuch!
This got me thinking, and I realise I've heard a brussels sprouts story or two from many people in my life.
My husband told me a funny tale of how he and his brother as young children would plead not to have another spoonful of soggy sprouts (he almost turned green telling me this story). He said, one year his older brother came up with a fabulous plan to hide the sprouts in their trouser pockets to avoid eating them (he was about 10 and hubby even younger)! My mother-in-law wondered why they were so eager to get outside for after dinner footie. Well, they had to dispose of the evidence didn't they?
One of my oldest friends always went to her grandparents for lunch as a child. Grandma liked a sherry, one particular year she'd had maybe one more than usual, and the sprouts didn't make it to the table. There were almost squeals of delight once the kids had realised the mistake. Sadly once discovered cold, later on, there was just no room for those mushy sprouts after all the eating had finished. Teehee!
It's not just about the sprouts. How about those pigs in blankets? Do you ever eat them any other time of the year? Gravy is always a big deal at our table. Obviously, we have it at many other times, but as with most things, it gets that little extra injection of love for Chrimbo. I always remember my sister and I would be in the kitchen after dinner, getting stuck into any leftover gravy, straight from the pan (my mum made excellent gravy;-).
So back to today's recipe. Hopefully, you're not a sprout-avoider, and this recipe will entice you. I think roasting the sprouts is a total game changer. You'll notice a whole new level of character, I'm sure of it, and the delight of the outer leaf as it gets crispy is honestly just sublime. If you served me this plateful for dinner I'd be happy and satisfied (maybe not on Christmas day but you see where I'm going).
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pumpkin Seeds and Lemon
PREP/COOK TIME - 40 MINS | DIFFICULTY RATING EASY | SERVES 4 | RECIPE TYPE - SIDE
- 500g of brussels sprouts, cleaned, ends removed and halved
- 1tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 preserved lemon or juice of 1 lemon
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Black Pepper
- Lemon zest
- Chopped parsley for decorating
- Preheat the oven to 160c.
- Blitz 1 preserved lemon, garlic, olive oil and black pepper together in a min blender until smooth.
- Mix the wet mixture together with the brussels sprouts in a bowl so they are fully coated.
- Arrange the sprouts on a baking tray, give them as much space as you can, roast for 20-25mins at 160c or until cooked. They should still have some bite and the exterior shells will have browned.
- Scatter with parsley, pumpkin seeds and lemon zest. Season if you wish.
My notes and tips
I cook these at 160c as they're only small and the leaves could easily burn. Make sure to move them around a couple of times during cooking and if they look dry spray with a little oil.
The preserved lemon is the secret to the distinct flavour in this recipe; it works beautifully with the sprouts. I use Belazu lemons. The juice of a lemon mixed in with the oil would work equally well.
My other little trick is I like the pumpkin seeds toasted, but I'd rather not add another stage of cooking into the recipe, if you want to though you can sprinkle them onto the sprouts about 5 mins before you remove them from the oven, make sure they get a bit of a coating with oil and they'll just have that perfectly toasted nutty flavour, only adding to the overall dish.
So, that's this year's sprouts sorted. I'll no doubt try out some other recipes before the big day as I can't resist these seasonal beauties. What do you think, would you give them a try? I'd love to hear any of your interesting recipes. I'd also love for you to share your funny Christmas dinner tales unique to your festivities.
I read a great article recently about brussels sprouts. Have a read here.