How to cook sprouts people will actually want to eat

Ah the humble Brussels sprout. Never has a food been so widely despised and yet so religiously prepared. You can’t have a Christmas dinner without them, so here’s your ultimate guide to preparing sprouts that somebody just might—whisper it quietly—actually enjoy eating. 

1. Pan-fried them with bacon and almonds

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Image via Taste


  • 500g (17 oz) Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 20g (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • 8 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Blanch the sprouts in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes until tender. Drain them and rinse under cold water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a wok or frying pan over a medium heat.
  3. Add the bacon until it begins to crisp. Next, stir in the almonds and garlic and cook for a further minute. Finally, incorporate the Brussels and toss for 2-3 minutes in order to warm through.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in parsley before serving.


2. Put them in a winter salad

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Sprout salad
Image via Vermont Life


  • 8-10 fresh chestnuts
  • 225g (8 oz) Brussels sprouts
  • 2 medium carrots cut into ribbons with a potato peeler
  • 2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch watercress, trimmed
  • 1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 rounded teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon runny honey
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil


  1. Roast the chestnuts on a baking tray for 5-10 minutes until the skins crack. Peel them while they are still warm then break into rough pieces.
  2. Trim the sprouts and shred thinly across. Mix the prepared vegetables, watercress, parsley and the broken chestnuts in a wide salad bowl. Add the salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, honey and cider vinegar then beat in both of the oils. Toss the dressing into the salad and serve.


3. Stir-fried them into a hot slaw

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 4-6 minutes

brussels slaw
Image via Cookie and Kate


  • 400g (14 oz) Brussels sprouts
  • 50g (1¾ oz) hazelnuts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 sticks celery, destrung and finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 4 fat or 6 slender spring onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 eating apple
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnut or walnut oil
  • Salt and black pepper


  1. Trim the sprouts and slice them thinly across their girth. Toast the hazelnuts on a baking tray under a hot grill, shaking regularly until the skins are flaky. Rub the skins off the nuts when they are cool enough to handle, then leave them to cool.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a wok or wide pan and stir-fry the celery for a minute. Add the garlic then, after just 30 seconds, add the spring onions, sprouts and lemon juice. Stir cook until they are all hot through.
  3. Grate the unpeeled apple straight into the pan, leaving only the core. Stir to heat through, then stir in the hazelnuts and the hazelnut or walnut oil. Season thoroughly, adding more lemon if desired (it depends on the apple’s sweetness), and serve hot.