Love them or hate them, Christmas isn't Christmas without them. Here's how to make yours the star of the table

Brussels sprouts can be a wonderful side dish if given the right treatment, but there's still a lot of haters out there. Here's how to make sprouts that everyone will love.

Which sprouts should I buy?

For the best possible flavour and texture, buy fresh sprouts. They should be very firm and green – avoid ones whose outer leaves are yellowing at the edges. When it comes to size, the smaller the better – they’re more tender and cook more quickly. Sprouts need to be kept really cold, so keep them in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the fridge until you need them.

How do I prepare them?

The only preparation needed is to cut the stalks right back to the level of the leaves so you have little Brussels balls. Some people swear by cutting a cross in the bottom of each sprout, which they believe allows them to cook all through – but it’s not necessary, and you’ll save time if you don’t. As with all vegetables, wash the trimmed sprouts in clean water before you cook them.

What's next?

The simplest way to cook Brussels is to steam them for 5-7 minutes. They should yield when you pierce them with a sharp knife, but still retain some ‘bite’. They should also remain vibrantly green: if they’ve lost their colour, they’re probably overcooked. You can also parboil them for a few minutes, then roast them in oil in a hot oven for a further 15 minutes.

Anything else I can do?

Brussels are delicious tossed in a knob of butter and sprinkled with a little seasoning. You can also get a little bit fancy and serve them shredded or grated, or sliced up and pan-fried with onions and garlic.


Brussels sprouts with chestnuts

Add festive chestnuts for an easy way to pep up your Brussels.


Pan-fried greens

Get your goodness all in one go with this serving of sprouts, broccoli and spinach.


Brussels sprouts wrapped in pancetta

A sure-fire way to convert any sprouts haters – just wrap them in slices of pancetta to create little balls of deliciousness.