top of page

Sprouts, not just for Christmas

When you think of sprouts does your face grimace and nose turn up as you get an olfactory memory of the overcooked sulphurous little green balls ? Or do you get excited and think "Yay, I can't wait for sprout season?"

I was always in the first, face-grimacing camp until I started studying nutrition and learned now good they are for us.

Sprouts fall into the category of cruciferous vegetables, along with cabbages, radishes, kale, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower and watercress.

The word "cruciferous" is a classification for this diverse group of vegetables and it comes from the Latin cruciferae meaning cross-bearing because of the cross shape made by the stalks and leaves.

Usually in the supermarkets we buy them already off the stalk and in bags as producers want to give us 'perfect' looking vegetables all the time. Of course, the issue with this is food wastage. Either the tops of the stalks get used as fodder, not so wasteful, or left to rot on the ground.

Recently I ordered sprout tops in my organic vegetable delivery, as they are in season, very healthful and it is fun to try new things.

Chopping cruciferous vegetables encourages the production of phytochemicals, i.e.,plant chemicals known as glucosinolates. These are sulphur containing compounds, and what gives them their distinctive smell and flavour. Complex biochemical reactions on these glucosinolates, involving enzymes, produce metabolites such as indole-3 -carbinole which play important roles in disease prevention by triggering antioxidant and anti-inflammatory responses and contributing to the maintenance of cell homeostasis. Consumption of cruciferous veg is also associated with anticancer benefits and is known to do this by increasing the detoxification of carcinogens and other toxic compounds from the body. In fact, several meta-analyses have found inverse associations between cruciferous vegetable intake and risk of bladder, breast, colorectal, endometrial, gastric, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, and renal cancer.

As well as all the phytochemicals, cruciferous vegetables are high in vitamins, especially Folate, Vitamin C and Vitamin K, the minerals Potassium, Calcium and Selenium and the all important fibre. Plenty of good reason to have them very much in your diet.

Roasted sprout tops with a garlic and pecan dressing

This dish could not be simpler. It could be the star of the show or as a side dish.

Simply cut lengthways.

Make a dressing/marinade with a good glug of Extra Virgin Olive oil, I used about 3 or 4 tablespoons, added to a small bowl.

Add in a tablespoon of garlic powder.

A tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Combine well and use a pastry brush to coat the stalks and rub all around the leaves.

Pop into the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with some pecans and enjoy.

If you find the outer leaves becoming too brown or burning you could cover with some paper or if you had time lightly steam the stalks before roasting.


Written by Patricia Alexander-Bird B.Sc, Dip NT, BANT ,Nutritional Therapist, Certified Health and Wellness Coach and 200RYT.

6 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page