While I am tinkering with some indulgent Christmas dessert and mains recipes in the background, today I have got a simple yet delicious recipe for you – cheesy Brussels sprouts with vegan bacon. This dish is easy and delightful, perfect as a side or when combined with creamy pasta, it makes for a very satisfying cold weather dinner – this was in fact my today’s lunch. These cheesy Brussels sprouts with vegan bacon are easy to make, full of flavour and make for a beautiful vegan and gluten-free Christmas dinner side too.
Brussels sprouts themselves, don’t need much work. You simple need to wash them, trim them with a sharp paring knife and discard some of the exterior leaves if nasty – they sometime have little mould spots on them. Then you need to try them well, coat in a little olive oil and season.
I then like to plunge them, face first, into a generous amount of nutritional yeast, which is what makes these cheesy without the need for any vegan cheese. I like how nutritional yeast flakes adhere to the oil-coated flat surface of a cut Brussels sprout and I bake them like that, without turning, until soft throughout – about 15 minutes. After that time, many smaller sprouts are ready and so you only need another 5 or so minutes to get the bigger ones charred. And that is it, simple yet delicious.
As Brussels sprouts and sweet salty bacon is such a classic and delicious combination, I serve mine with super simple vegan bacon that comes together in minutes. I cut firm, pressed tofu into super thin slices, marinate them briefly and then dehydrate them in a medium hot oven. Their salty-sweet-smokey flavour makes the Brussels sprouts shine. If you are not keen on tofu bacon, why not try bacon bits made out of flaked almonds – like in this recipe? I have been making it for years – I came up with it when I could not get hold of any raw coconut back in Greece and it’s been a favourite of mine ever since. It’s a perfect savoury topping for dishes of all kinds (I love it on pasta, on salads, roasted veg) – just be careful, don’t stay alone with a jar of this, it’s super addictive.
Slice firm tofu as thinnly as you can – I simply used a very sharp knife, but a veg mandoline is a good option. It does not matter if the slices are slightly different thickness to each other as long as they are the same thickness throughout. Marinate them for 15 minutes and then bake, elevated from the baking tray – I used a grilling grate.
Clean your Brussels sprouts, dry them really well, trim the ends off, get rid of any diseased exterior leaves and cut them in half.
Coat Brussels sprout halves in some olive oil, seasoned them with salt and pepper and press them into a stainless steel baking tray with thin layer of nutritional yeast all over. Sprinkle some more on top and bake until perfectly soft and caramelised on the outside – 15-20 minutes.
- 100 g / 3.5 oz firm tofu, pressed (I used smoked tofu)
- 15 ml / 1 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari if GF)
- 10 ml / 2 tsp thick balsamic
- 5 ml / 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 10 ml / 2 tsp olive oil
CHEESY BRUSSELS SPROUTS
- 500 g / 17.8 oz Brussels sprouts
- 20-30 ml / 1½ – 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- approx. 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ¼ tsp salt and black pepper, to taste
- Slice your tofu as thinly as you can – the key thing is that each slice is the same, uniform thickness throughout, if some slices are a little thinner than other that’s fine.
- Set the oven to 150° C / 300° F no fan (or 130° C / 265° F with a fan on) and place an oven-proof grate over a baking tray.
- Combine all of the marinade ingredients (apart from 1 tsp of oil) in a shallow dish, arrange tofu slices on top, turn them over so that both sides are soaked in the marinade and rest for 15 minutes.
- Arrange marinated slices on the prepared grate, bake for about 10 minutes, turn the pieces over then bake for another 10 minutes. Brush with oil and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Thinner slices will be ready before others so take them out of the oven as soon as they are done.
CHEESY BRUSSELS SPROUTS
- Clean and trim Brussels sprouts. Dry them well with a paper towel, then cut in half. Set the oven to 220° C / 425° F no fan (or 200° C / 390° F with a fan on)
- Coat Brussels sprouts in one and a half tablespoon of oil, season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast on the bottom of a flat baking tray in a thin layer. Press Brussels sprouts into the nutritional yeast, cut side own. Spread them as much as you can and sprinkle the tops with another teaspoon of nutritional yeast if liked.
- Bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn Brussels sprouts upside down – the ones around the edges of the tray will most likely be done so remove them from the tray. Return the rest to the oven for another 5 minutes or so – until they are roasted to your liking.
- Transfer warm Brussels sprouts to a serving platter, scatter torn vegan bacon strips on top and serve immediately.