Add Raisins To Brussels Sprouts For A Colorful Pop Of Extra Flavor

As a member of the brassica family, Brussels sprouts possess the heartiness of cabbage and the cooked aroma of broccoli. As a raw ingredient, it's fibrous and vegetal, but roasting, searing, and even steaming brings out a uniquely robust bitterness and delectable tender texture. Raisins would be the perfect flavor, texture, and visual contrast for any raw or cooked dish of Brussels sprouts.

Raisins provide a pop of fruity sweetness to balance the bitterness of roasted or steamed Brussels sprouts and the vegetal notes in raw Brussels sprouts. Their chewiness is also a delightful contrast to Brussels sprouts' fibrous, raw crunch, or crispy roasted edges. Plus, you can incorporate raisins into raw and cooked Brussels sprouts dishes in a variety of ways.

While sprinkling raw raisins as a finishing garnish is the easiest way to add a pop of color and flavor, you can alter their flavor and texture by cooking them with your Brussels sprouts. For example, you could add them along with a savory broth to a Brussels sprouts saute, which will rehydrate them and give tender Brussels a pop of juicy sweetness. You could throw them on the roasting pan with Brussels sprouts for the last five minutes of their roasting time to caramelize and soften them. As an addition to raw Brussels sprouts, you could toss raisins and Brussels sprouts in salad dressing and let them sit for half an hour before serving to tenderize and infuse them with even more flavors.

Brussels sprouts and raisin dish ideas

Raisins are cheap, widely available, and come in different varieties, each with a different flavor, color, and texture. Golden raisins are plumper, fruitier, and juicier than brown raisins, which are drier, crunchier, and have a more robust "raisin" taste. The more subtle fruitiness and plump, juicy texture of golden raisins would be the perfect complement to a shredded Brussels sprouts salad or slaw.

Brown raisins would benefit from being rehydrated or roasted, making them great candidates to roast, steam, or sauté alongside Brussels sprouts. They'd also make a sweet and chewy addition to the balsamic glaze used to dress roasted Brussels sprouts in this Tasting Table recipe by recipe creator Alexandra Shytsman. You could add toasted seeds or nuts for a savory, buttery complement and crunchy contrast to both the raisins and Brussels sprouts. Crispy bacon is another savory, umami addition to a raisin and Brussels sprout dish. A sprinkling of feta or a dusting of parmesan cheese would provide a creamy, salty complement. 

Sweetened dried cranberries, marketed as "craisins" would bring an amazing balance of sweet and tangy to any Brussels sprouts dish. You could add them to a creamy Brussels sprouts slaw with chopped pecans and red onions.