Brussels Sprouts: Roasted with Caesar Dressing + Fennel & Mandarin Slaw

August 3rd, 2023


Let’s face it, Brussels sprouts are not the most revered vegetable, but I do so hope you will still read this post and try the recipes. I feel they have been given a bad rap so I am aiming to put them under the spotlight today. Admittedly, I can understand how their reputation has been tarnished. Brussels sprouts boiled until mushy with the vibrant colour drained out of them is enough to put anyone off, myself included.

Extended boiling, or cooking in any way, will enhance their bitterness. Brussels sprouts are best lightly steamed, stir-fried, roasted, or even shaved raw into a salad (see below). Plus pair them with robust flavoured ingredients such as citrus, mustard, parmesan or bacon, and they really start to shine. 

Brussels sprouts are quite a surprising vegetable to grow. Standing to attention with a thick umbrella of leaves and the sprouts growing in a helical pattern along the stalk. I have only grown them once with mediocre results due to the low winter sun hours in my valley garden (that is simply not conducive to large cruciferous plants). Thankfully leafy greens, sprouting broccoli, fennel, herbs and salad greens do grow well so I am not left completely empty-handed over the winter months. 

Like all other cruciferous vegetables their flavour improves and sweetens after a cold snap (which has finally come) so I always wait until the winter frosts have arrived before searching them out. If you are a Brussels sprout fan, or yet to become one, I do hope the following recipes will bring some inspiration to your meal planning.

Eat well, Nicola

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Caesar Dressing

Roasting Brussels sprouts is my favourite way to prepare them as it reduces bitterness and brings out their natural sweetness. If you are handpicking your sprouts, either from the garden or a vegetable bin at the store, choose small to medium-sized as they will be less bitter. The robust flavour of a classic Caesar salad dressing works incredibly well to balance the sprouts. You could also use a pre-made Caesar dressing although the one below is certainly a flavour bomb.
Servings 4
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


  • 500 g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 30 g parmesan, finely grated
  • cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon, finely chopped (optional)

Caesar Dressing

  • 2 free-range egg yolks
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 2 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • Juice of half a lemon, about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Worchester sauce
  • Handful of grated parmesan
  • pinch of sugar (optional - helps to balance the salty flavours)
  • Generous twist of black pepper
  • 150 ml olive oil (or a combination of olive oil and a neutral-tasting oil)


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C).
  • Place the Brussels sprouts onto a large oven tray. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and toss well to evenly coat the sprouts. Spread them into a single layer, ideally not touching for the first stage of cooking so they roast evenly rather than steam. Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until the sprouts are just tender.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and use a metal spatula to flip the Brussels sprouts. Sprinkle over the parmesan and breadcrumbs (it is OK if the sprouts are touching now) and place back in the oven for about 5-6 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden. Scoop into a serving dish.
  • If using the bacon, fry until crispy then sprinkle it over the Brussels sprouts when they are ready to serve.
  • Make the dressing while the sprouts are cooking. Place all of the dressing ingredients besides the oil into a blender and blitz to combine. With the engine running slowly pour in the olive oil until the dressing is creamy and thick. Check the taste, adding extra lemon juice if needed. Pour into a bowl and serve alongside the roasted Brussels sprouts. Leftover dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and used in sandwiches, served with roasted vegetables or dolloped onto lettuce wedges.

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Brussels Sprouts, Fennel & Mandarin Slaw

Eating Brussels sprouts raw may not be the first idea that comes to mind. However, if we apply the idea of coleslaw using cabbage this isn’t much different. In fact, raw sprouts have a sweet and crunchy texture that works well combined with other vegetables such as crunchy fennel and tender-leafed Chinese cabbage. 
Servings 4
Prep Time 20 minutes


  • about 200g Brussels sprouts
  • About ¼ Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
  • 2 mandarins, peeled and thin sliced into rounds
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Mandarin Mustard Dressing

  • juice of 1 mandarin, 1-2 tablespoons
  • juice of half a lemon, 1-2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil


  • Trim the Brussels sprouts and remove any tough outer leaves. Use a mandolin or sharp knife to very thinly shred the sprouts. Place onto a salad platter along with the cabbage and fennel. Toss to combine. Dot with the mandarin slices and scatter with chopped hazelnuts.
  • Make the dressing by combining the ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine. Check flavour adding extra salt or honey if needed. Drizzle half of the dressing over the salad just prior to serving and toss to combine. Serve extra dressing on the side.


Join the Conversation

  1. Sue Hudson says:

    Hi Nicola, I just wanted to let you know how much I love your posts. I tried your Roast Veg Lasagne 2 weekends ago with great success. It was so amazing that even my Grand Daughters loved it which is a huge accomplishment. I was thrilled. Many Thanks !

    1. Hi Sue, thank you so much for the feedback, that is lovely to hear. I so aim to share recipes that are familiar but a little different too. All tested on my family, who are quite adventurous eaters, but also honest.
      Happy cooking 🙂

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