An easy Brussels Sprouts recipe to make this festive season – these pomegranate molasses roasted brussels sprouts are packed with flavours, texture and served on a smooth cream cheese base. Super easy to make and guaranteed to be a crowed pleaser.
Some of you may already know this, but I’m half English, half Middle Eastern. I’ve spent most of my life feeling out of place, like I don’t belong. The first 17 years of my life I spent growing up in Baghdad, Iraq. I was one of the very few people I knew or had even heard of from mixed backgrounds. Out of my WHOLE school, there were only 2 other mixed girls.
Iraq is a very traditional country with a rich history and culture. Everyone followed traditions to a T, apart from my family, that was my perception anyway. Small things made me stand out. For example, I remember my friends finding it strange that I drank my tea with milk. Iraqi tea was drunk black with sugar, never milk. I also distinctly remember running late one. morning to school and skipping breakfast, so my dad sent me off with some cheese on toast wrapped in foil (he insisted I never go to school on an empty stomach!). My friends found it so odd and bizarre since they’d never seen or heard of cheese on toast, even though the concept was so simple. The fact that I was eating something that wasn’t traditional made me feel odd.
Although those experiences weren’t necessarily negative, they still made me feel like an alien, and outcast, different to everyone else around me.
Moving to the UK, once again I found myself feeling like an outsider. I spoke different, I looked different, I had different life experiences and just never felt British enough. Even after living here for almost 20 years. I’ll never feel fully English or fully Arab. I’ll always hover somewhere in between.
I won’t lie, I always saw my mixed background as a negative because of the way it made me feel about myself. Only recently have I been able to shift my mindset and see it as a positive. Why would being different be such a bad thing? If anything, it means I have a unique outlook on life and I have something a little different to offer. As my auntie always used to say to me “The world would be a boring place if we were all the same”. My cynical brain would convince me she only said that to make me feel better, but now I finally see what she meant!
I’ve decided that from now on, I’ll embrace my differences and unique qualities and experiences. Why create a recipe that many have already made before, why not put my own unique spin on it? After all, we wouldn’t have thousands and thousands of recipes all around the world if people stuck to same thing without injecting a touch of their creativity into it.
Why I like making these pomegranate molasses roasted brussels sprouts:
I know not everyone is a fan of the sprouts, but I’m one of the many who not only tolerate them, but actually love them! I love the taste and the texture when cooked properly with the right flavouring. Sure when eaten boiled with very little flavour, they can taste like feet, but with a handful of ingredients you can create something so delicious, enjoyable and equally nourishing.
Brussels sprouts are an integral part of Christmas dinner. I wanted to put my own Middle Eastern spin on it by using pomegranate molasses – an ingredient is commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s a syrup made from concentrated pomegranate juice. It has a sweet and tangy flavour, with a slightly thick and syrupy consistency. I love the unique combination of sweetness and tartness and how it adds a rich and fruity taste. It works particularly great when roasting as it create the most beautiful sticky glaze.
To make them even more delicious, I topped my pomegranate molasses roasted brussels sprouts with a simple crunchy topping made up of toasted walnuts, orange zest, parsley, honey and dried cranberries for a festive twist.
What you need to make this pomegranate molasses roasted brussels sprouts:
Brussels sprouts – Christmas dinner wouldn’t be Christmas dinner without sprouts, right? It’s always been my favourite part of Christmas dinner (when prepared right!).
Pomegranate molasses – A syrup made from concentrated pomegranate juice. You can find it in most major supermarkets, ethnic/Middle Eastern shops or online.
Olive oil – To help the sprouts cook in the oven until lovely and soft.
Garlic, salt & pepper – To add tons of flavour!
Cream cheese – I used a garlic & herb cream cheese to add extra flavour, but you can use a plain cream cheese. It’ll still taste amazing since there are so many other flavours in the sprouts & the topping. Of course this recipe will also work without the cream cheese base, but I do love how the creaminess cuts through the sweet and tangy flavours of this recipe.
What you need to make the topping:
I’m using a mixture of walnuts for some crunch, but also orange zest and dried cranberries to add a festive feel to the recipe. I also added a bit of honey (or maple syrup) for some sweetness and olive oil to help everything come together. Finally I added a bit of chopped parsley to complement the taste of the pomegranate molasses and for a pop of green.
The topping ingredients are completely changeable depending on what you like or what you have available. You can play around with the ingredients and see what you like best. Other nuts, herbs, flavourings can also work.
How to make these Middle Eastern Roasted Brussels Sprouts:
Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/400F.
Trim the ends of the sprouts and cut them in half.
Transfer into a bowl and add the garlic, olive oil, pomegranate molasses and salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then roast for 20-25 minutes.
In the meantime, mix the cream cheese and yoghurt together and spread on a serving dish.
Toast the walnuts in a dry pan over a medium heat for a few minutes until they start to brown. Allow to cool slightly, then roughly chop and add to a bowl along with the rest of the topping ingredients.
Spoon the cooked sprouts on top of the cream cheese/yoghurt base, then sprinkle on the topping mixture.
This Middle Eastern Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe is:
- Can be made vegan
- Can be made nut-free
- Easily adjust to tastes/dietary requirements
- A twist on a festive sprouts recipe
- Easy to make
- Sure to impress!
- Packed with flavour
- Packed with so many different textures
- Served on a smooth cream cheese base
- Topped with a crunchy, herby and zesty topping
- A must try!
Pomegranate Molasses Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 800g brussels sprouts
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- Salt & pepper to taste
For the cream cheese base
- 100g garlic & herb cream cheese dairy or dairy-free
- 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt dairy or dairy-free
For the topping
- 30g walnuts
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp parsley finely chopped
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/400F.
- Trim the ends of the sprouts and cut them in half.
- Transfer into a bowl and add the garlic, olive oil, pomegranate molasses and salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then roast for 20-25 minutes.
- In the meantime, mix the cream cheese and yoghurt together and spread on a serving dish.
- Toast the walnuts in a dry pan over a medium heat for a few minutes until they start to brown. Allow to cool slightly, then roughly chop and add to a bowl along with the rest of the topping ingredients.
- Spoon the cooked sprouts on top of the cream cheese/yoghurt base, then sprinkle on the topping mixture.