I haven’t had jalapeno poppers in years, so I can’t say for sure whether these are better than the classic casual dining appetizer. But they’re not fried (extra points for sprout poppers), have a goat cheese-sriracha filling (more points), are gluten free (yada yada points) and made with the best veggie ever, Brussels sprouts. I think we know who wins here. And considering I am a lover of jalapenos and all things spicy, that’s saying a lot. Well, these are spicy too.
The crunchy coating is made from finely-ground corn Chex (or, um, “oven-toasted corn cereal”) and it’s so very crispy.
I made sure that I got the precious caramelization on the sprouts before I added the cheese. I’ll eat non-caramelized sprouts, but only grudgingly or if I got home late and was really hungry and just wanted to shovel something in my mouth. The thing is, you can’t stir-fry like you’re used to. You have to stir very carefully so that as many leaves stick to each sprout. You also have to be careful when cutting them. Cut as close to the heel as possible, so as to not lose leaves.
These taste best when they are hot and fresh and right out of the oven. They just don’t taste anywhere near as good the next day. Refrigerated-reheated sprouts are never quite as fun.
What is fun is being able to make these right at home, without any of that casual dining flare.
Ok, maybe a little flare.
- 1 lb sprouts
- 3 1/2 cups of corn Chex
- 1 1/2 tbsp dry Italian seasoning mix (Hidden Valley is GF)
- pinch of salt
- small garlic clove, minced
- 2 eggs
- 6 oz goat cheese
- 3 tbsp sriracha
- Grind up the Chex in your food processor until you have fine crumbs.
- Toast the crumbs gently in a sauté pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally so they don't burn. It will take 10-15 minutes. They can go from almost-done to brunt in mere seconds, so watch closely.
- Combine the Italian seasoning mix, the Chex crumbs, and a pinch of salt. Mix well and set aside.
- Wash and trim the sprouts. Cut them in half lenghwise.
- Coat a large sauté pan with non-stick spray or oil and bring to medium heat.
- Sprinkle the sprouts with a little salt and place them, cut-side down, in the pan.
- Cook for 10 minutes, turn, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring slowly and constantly, for 5 more minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Combine the sriracha and goat cheese in a blender until an even color and consistency is reached.
- Scoop the sriracha cheese into a pastry bag with a larger-than normal piece of the tip cut off.
- Place the sprouts on a large tray or baking sheet, cut side up.
- Put HUGE dollops of cheese sauce on the cut side of each sprout.
- Place the sprouts and cheese in the freezer for 10-12 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Beat the eggs together with a fork.
- When the sprouts come out of the freezer, the cheese should be very hard.
- Dip the sprout poppers in the eggs and then in the corn chex crumbs. It's best to use a fork to do all this or else your fingers will be very messy.
- Place poppers on a non-stick silicone sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Enjoy right away.
I’m feeling a little guilty about this one because I took something totally healthy and mixed it up with something totally unhealthy. Specifically, I took some nice, low-cal sprouts and then added a bunch of brie.
I did start out with some not-so-naughty goat cheese. Goat cheese is nice and light and tangy, but it was not meant to be. Then I dropped the cheese altogether and used some roasted eggplant. It was perfect, right? All those veggies and no fat. But again, it was not meant to be.
I knew what the answer was, because I’d been avoiding it all along. Brie. Lovely, creamy, perfect brie. Besides, a little bit of something that you really really love is better than a lot of something you’re indifferent to. So I enjoyed a little bit. It was the perfect lunch.
This would be also fun as a cheese-ball type thing, rolled in nuts and thyme and pepper and served with a mound of crackers. Cover it if it’s in the fridge so that it will retain its bright green color,and let it come to room temperature before serving.
- 1 lb Brussels Sprouts
- 8 oz brie, rind removed
- 1 small garlic clove
- 2 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 tbsp pure sesame oil
- salt to taste
- chopped nuts
- black pepper
- Cut all the little heels from the sprouts.
- Using a food processor, shred all the sprouts along with the garlic.
- Put a little coconut oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the sprouts.
- Sprinkle a little salt over the sprouts and cook them, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes.
- In a food processor, blend the brie with the sesame oil and lemon juice.
- Add the cooked sprouts to the brie mixture and blend well. Add in more salt if desired.
- Serve on toast. Sprinkle with thyme, nuts, and freshly ground black pepper.