Oven-roasted roasted flower sprouts are delicious as salad base or side dish! Their flavour and texture are somewhere between roasted Brussels sprouts and kale chips. Also known as kalettes, these fairly new little veggies might be the cutest way to enjoy your greens.
If you’re looking for an alternative vegetable to try this year, flower sprouts should be next on your list. I discovered them during the Christmas holidays and had them for the first time as Christmas dinner side dish! I was pleased to see that two supermarkets carry them in my area, and I have sort of become addicted ever since.
I mean, if you love roasted Brussels sprouts and kale chips you will love roasted flower sprouts. It’s like the best of both worlds. They double as side dish or salad base and they look so incredibly cute. What’s not to love?
What are flower sprouts?
Flower sprouts are a crossing between Brussels sprouts and kale. Nowadays they are more known as kalettes, but here in Sweden they are distributed as flower sprouts. They’ve not been around long; they were first introduced about 10 years ago and only in the past couple of year they have raised in popularity. I myself had never seen them before I stumbled upon them during my pre-Christmas grocery haul.
Being a hybrid between kale and Brussels sprouts, kalettes look like a cute crossing of the two: leafy and crinkled like kale, but the size of Brussels sprouts. The leaves are dark green and the variety I find here has a purple core.
They really look like tiny cabbage heads, and if you have a hard time placing their size from the pictures, notice that they are photographed next to pine nuts and salt flakes for size reference. Teeny tiny indeed.
Just like most cabbage types, you can eat flower sprouts both raw or cooked. Raw they are quite tough, like kale. To my taste, they taste best roasted. Roasting really brings out their nutty quality and makes the outer leaves wonderfully crispy.
How to roast kalettes
- Rinse the sprouts and spin in a salad spinner to remove excess water. Trim the ends if needed.
- A package of flower sprouts usually has various sizes in it. Cut in half (lengthways) those with a thicker core. Smaller ones can stay whole.
- Transfer kalettes to a bowl, season with olive oil and toss. Transfer to a sheet pan, placing the halved ones with the cut facing down. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan but leave some room between them.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 210°C (410°F) for 15 minutes, until crisp.
Flower sprouts salad with toasted pine nuts
I really liked serving my roasted flower sprouts as salad. I made it very simple, to make the most from the flavour and texture of the sprouts.
Just like Brussels sprouts, kalettes have this lovely nutty flavour. So the best pairing for such a vegetable is nuts or seeds! Nuts and seeds are a wonderful addition to salads as they provide some healthy fats as well as some crunch.
While the sprouts are roasting in the oven, set a small pan on medium-high heat and add the pine nuts. Toast them for 4-5 minutes, stirring to evenly distribute the heat and prevent burning. Nuts and seeds release some oil as they cook, and this may make them burn faster than you expect.
When the roasted flower sprouts are ready, transfer them to a serving bowl and top with toasted nuts and a sprinkle of salt flakes. No need to add more olive oil or any other dressing, unless desired. This is really one of those recipes where less is more.
Straight out of the oven roasted flower sprouts are deliciously crispy on the outside. The crispiness goes away as they cool and absorb moisture from the air. Enjoy them fresh out of the oven for a crispy side dish or as a warm salad, with freshly toasted pine nuts.
When they soften, the texture will be more similar to roasted Brussels sprouts than kale chips. This does not negatively affect the food in any way! In fact, at room temperature you can really appreciate the complex flavour of these greens. Pair them with prosciutto chicken involtini, with a slice of onion cottage cheese tart, or on the side of baked rainbow trout! The latter is what I had for Christmas and my roasted flower sprouts were a perfect match!
Did you ever taste flower sprouts? Let me know in the comments! And if you can’t find them in stores yet, pin this recipe for later use!
Roasted flower sprouts (kalettes)
Flower sprouts, also known as kalettes, oven-roasted with olive oil and served as salad with toasted pine nuts and salt flakes.
Trim the flower sprout ends and halve the larger sprouts. Small ones can stay whole.
Place in a mixing bowl and add the olive oil. Toss to combine.
Transfer kalettes to a sheet pan placing those halved with the cut facing down.
Bake in the preheated oven at 210°C (410°F) for 15 minutes, until crisp.
As the kalettes bake, warm a small pan and add the pine nuts. Toast the pine nuts on medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes stirring constantly to make sure the heat is distributed evenly.
When the kalettes are ready, transfer to a serving bowl. Top with salt flakes and toasted pine nuts.
Fresh out of the oven the flower sprouts are crispy. You can serve them warm and crispy, or let them cool and serve later, but they will lose the crispiness.
Nutrition information is just an estimate based on a suggested serving size.