A few months ago, I had lunch with some of my fellow Main Street Vegan Academy alumni at Candle Café West in New York City. Most people at the table just ordered a main course, but I was really hungry, and the appetizer section of the menu was calling out to me. Specifically, the Cornmeal Crusted Brussels Sprouts with Almond Cheese. I really don’t have much willpower when the words “cornmeal crusted” are used.
Like me, Dennis loves Brussels sprouts, and he was a little jealous when I told him about them. Because I didn’t want him to feel left out, I recreated them at home. And he enjoyed the homemade version just as much as I did my plate at Candle Café West.
I’ve blanched my sprouts in this recipe. The sprouts in the appetizer at Candle were a little on the tough side, so I’ve blanched mine to soften them. Blanching is simply flash cooking vegetables in boiling water and then immediately cooling them down in a bath of ice water.
I have no idea how the chefs at Candle got the cornmeal to stick to the sprouts when they made them. In my homemade version, I’ve used a mixture of chickpea flour and cornmeal. Eggs are often used in non-vegan batter recipes, and I often use chickpea flour in the place of eggs in recipes, so a chickpea flour batter seemed like a good choice. And it works!
After I dipped sprouts in the chickpea flour batter, I dredged them through cornmeal mixed with some spices. A trick I’ve found when battering and dredging food like this is to use one hand for the wet mixture and the other for the dry mixture. So, I placed the sprouts in the chickpea batter with my right hand and then placed them in the cornmeal mixture. I then used my left hand to make sure the sprouts were thoroughly coated with the cornmeal.
These Cornmeal Crusted Brussels Sprouts can be made in either your oven your air fryer. If your air fryer is on the smaller side, you may need to make them in batches.
Since Candle Café’s sprouts were sprinkled with non-dairy parmesan, I’ve been serving mine with my Walnut Parmesan. These sprouts are terrific when served with a dipping sauce. I like them with a little ranch, and they’re great with Maple Mustard Dressing or Caesar Dressing, too!
- First, you blanch the Brussels sprouts.
- Next, you coat them in a chickpea flour batter and dip them in a cornmeal mixture.
- Then, you bake them in your oven or cook them in your air fryer.
- Finally, you sprinkle them with a little vegan parmesan. Serve and enjoy!
In addition to being a great appetizer, Cornmeal Crusted Brussels Sprouts are a great snack, too! They can also be served as a side dish at dinner.
Cornmeal Crusted Brussels Sprouts
- ½ cup non-dairy milk
- ½ cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
- ¼ cup Walnut Parmesan
- You’re favorite dipping sauce, for serving
If you’re using your oven, preheat it to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To blanch the Brussels sprouts, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and have a large bowl of ice water ready. Cook the sprouts in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove them from pot with a slotted spoon and place them in the ice water to keep them from cooking. After a few minutes, remove them from the ice water and blot them dry.
In a shallow bowl, mix together the chickpea flour and non-dairy milk. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to thicken slightly.
In another shallow bowl, mix together the cornmeal, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper.
Dip each sprout in the chickpea flour mixture, then dredge them through the cornmeal mixture.
Place the sprouts on the baking sheet if you’re using your oven or in the basket of your air fryer, if you’re air frying them. Be sure to leave a little room between them so they don’t stick together.
If you’re using your oven, cook for 20-25 minutes or until the sprouts are crispy and golden brown. If you’re using your air fryer, cook on 400° for 10-13 minutes. With both cooking methods, the sprouts need to be flipped at the halfway point.
Remove from the oven and place in a serving dish. Sprinkle with the vegan parmesan. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.