Lauren Lovatt, chef and founder of the plant-based culinary school Plant Academy and Feed Your Mind Candy, shares how she takes the brussel sprout and turns it into a side dish worthy of our Christmas tables.
This is my absolute favourite way to cook sprouts with a bit of festive cheer. Celebrating the humble Brussel sprout, that is just back in season over these winter months. Ideal with a crisp hint of sage, which is always a Christmassy flavour and to top them off candied sweet winter chestnuts with that ROAR of lion’s mane to bring a big of apoptogenic shine to the season. Lion’s mane is an amazing mushroom used to regenerate the gut and the brain, support mental health and also add a deep mushroomy flavour to many recipes.
Cooking time 20 minutes
Serves 4 as a side dish
2 cups of sprouts
1 tbsp vegan butter
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (around 40) sage leave
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp maple syrup
A good pinch of salt, preferably smoked salkt
Lions Mane Chestnuts
2/3 cup chestnuts, cooked
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp lions mane
Start by making the crispy sage. First measure the oil, salt and maple syrup into a small mixing bowl. Pick the sage leaves from the stems and place in a bowl, mixing well so the sage is well coated. Now heat a large saucepan on a reasonably high heat. When hot, add the sage, making sure each leaf can have a bit of space. If you don’t have enough space, simpy do this in two smaller batches. The sage will begin to sizzle and after about three seconds, turn each piece over. Once each piece is lightly golden, turn out onto a side plate and leave to cool until crispy.
Take the bottom off each sprout and cut in half- if on the large side, halve again so into four quarters. Make sure they are all a similar size for an even cooking time. Take away any outer leaves if they are bruised, but any other leaves that fall off during prep can be kept to cook to add any extra crispy bits.
Prepare a large bowl of cold water and set aside – this will be for blanching the sprouts. Set up a steamer and bring some water to the boil and steam the sprouts for two minutes on a medium simmer. They should be vibrant green! At this point, toss the sprouts into the cool water. This means they won’t over cook while you do everything else.
In a small bowl, add the olive oil and maple syrup. Now place them in the bowl and squash them all slightly. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat, using the same pan that you used for the sage. Once the pan is hot, add in the chestnuts, shaking them every so often for around five minutes. The chestnuts will be sizzling, golden and crispy. Add the lions mane into the bowl used for the previous marinade, as well as the candied chestnuts and toss everything together. Set these to one side and put the pan back onto the heat.
The Sprouts, pt.2
Add the boiled sprouts to a sizzling pan with vegan butter on a high heat, frying until bronzed. This will take about 3-4 minutes. Check that they are cooked through, but not over done. Season with a little salt and a generous amount of black pepper.
Tumble onto a bowl or plate, scatter with the candied chestnuts and top with crispy sage.