Sunday 25 August 2019

Forkful's speedy suppers: Sprouts with Tahini Yoghurt Dressing

Sprouts with Tahini Yoghurt Dressing Photo: Mark Duggan
Sprouts with Tahini Yoghurt Dressing Photo: Mark Duggan

Aoife McElwain

Even when Brussels sprouts have been cooked to al dente perfection, these minute cabbages are still known to cause arguments over the dinner table. "Sprouts! Hurray!" cry the fans, hands clapping. "Ugh, no!" moan the opponents, holding their Christmas cracker hat-clad heads in their hands.

For those of us who like Brussels sprouts, it seems odd that these pretty parcels would create such an intense reaction of horror and repulsion in our fellow diners.

It turns out that there may be something genetic going on. In 2003, scientists located a gene responsible for creating a taste of bitterness. A 2011 study by Cornwall College in the UK discovered a chemical in Brussels sprouts which only tastes bitter to those of us who have a particular variation of the bitterness gene. So if you really want to get out of eating sprouts this Christmas, perhaps you could claim a genetic mutation as your excuse?

As a sprouts fan, I would use this recipe to try to convince a sprouts hater to give them another go. It's inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe.

The minute I saw tahini with sprouts, I knew I was on to a good thing. This tahini and yoghurt dressing is very versatile and a great way to make winter salads even more comforting. I use it in kale and carrot salads too.

It's a Middle Eastern twist on a typical sprouts dish, and the meal can come together quite quickly if you've prepared your ingredients in advance.

Parboil the sprouts and then throw them into ice cold water, finishing them off in the frying pan with the spiced butter before serving them with the toppings.

Sprouts with Tahini Yoghurt Dressing

Serves 2

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes


500g sprouts

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

1 teaspoon of coriander

2 tablespoons of butter

1 tablespoon of flaked almonds

1 tablespoon of tahini

1 tablespoon of yoghurt

1 clove of garlic



Zest of half a lemon

Half a pomegranate

50g of crumbled feta cheese

A few sprigs of fresh mint

A pinch of sumac


1. Start by washing and trimming the sprouts. Slice them in half. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the sprouts to the pan and parboil for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and place them in a bowl of iced water. This will help them keep their vibrant green colour. You can do this a few hours in advance of serving.

2. Over a medium heat, toast the cumin seeds and coriander for about 3 minutes in a large frying pan. Add the butter and allow to melt, stirring the spices into the melted butter.

3. Drain the sprouts from the iced water and place into the frying pan. Cover with the spiced butter and allow to cook over a medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until warmed through and starting to crisp up around the edges.

4. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a small, dry frying pan over a medium heat, being careful not to burn them.

5. Make your tahini dressing by mixing the tahini with the yoghurt. Use a fine grater to add the garlic clove to the tahini yoghurt. Add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to the dressing, or until you have a thin consistency for drizzling. Season the dressing with a pinch of salt and pepper.

6. Transfer your sprouts to a serving plate. Grate the zest of half a lemon evenly over the sprouts. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, toasted almonds, some finely chopped fresh mint, a sprinkle of sumac and, finally, a generous drizzle of your tahini and yoghurt dressing. Serve as a vegetarian main course with hummus and pitta bread on the side, or to accompany your turkey dinner.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Tahini: This sesame seed paste is an essential ingredient to a good hummus, but as you will see when you make the dressing, it's more versatile than you might think. It's readily available in good supermarkets and food stores.

Irish Independent

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