**As featured on Channel 4’s “What Britain Bought in 2016” with Mary Portas**
You might be surprised to find that one of the top selling items this year was….SPROUTS! I joined Mary Portas earlier this year to chat about why, after years of being voted the nation’s least favourite vegetable, they’ve suddenly gained ‘superfood’ status.
Sprouts as a superfood?
The story can be traced back to an investigation from New Scientist in August, in which they tested the claims behind some of the top ‘superfoods’ including kale. Kale contains naturally occurring compounds called glucosinalates. Studies show that people who eat lots of vegetables rich in glucosinalates seem to have a lower risk of some cancers.
So far so good. But what the investigation revealed was the sprouts actually contain much higher levels of these cancer fighting compounds than kale, earning them a ‘better than kale’ rating from New Scientist. Soon after, sprout sales were up 45% and the rest as they say, is history!
Ugh, I hate the taste!
It’s true that sprouts can taste bitter, but there are some simple tricks to better tasting sprouts! Try serving them raw them in a salad (like you do with cabbage or carrot) – the smelly compounds in sprouts are only released on boiling, which is why most of us have bad memories from overcooked dinners!
You can also try blanching your sprouts (1-2 minutes in boiling water) and then plunging into cold water. Once they are cool, drain and chop then stir-fry with ginger, chilli, garlic and a splash of soy sauce – they’re very tasty served this way with salmon.
Lastly, if you’re one of the people who have the ‘bitter taste’ gene (this means means you taste bitter compounds more strongly than others), try blanching your sprouts and then roast with a little oil as the fat helps to dissolve the bitter taste.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a side dish)
- 200g sprouts, cleaned, trimmed and finely sliced
- Small red onion thinly sliced
- 30g flaked almonds, toasted
- generous slosh of olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ~30 grams Parmesan
- Salt and pepper to dress
- Big handful fresh parsley
- Wash your sprouts and trim them to remove a little of the stalk, and any damaged leaves.
- Using a large knife, slice the sprouts very thinly so that they look a bit like shredded cabbage. Once they are all shredded rub them between your hands to separate the layers, then pop in a mixing bowl.
- Thinly slice the onion and add to the bowl
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the flaked almonds and leave for about 20 seconds, then shake the pan. You want to toast them until they are a golden colour and you can smell the nutty-ness
- Tip the nuts into the sprouts and add a good slosh of olive oil (about 1.5 tbsp) together with the lemon juice, a pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper. Toss with your hands until everything is coated with the oil and lemon
- Grate over the Parmesan and parsley and toss once more then transfer to a bowl before serving.