The natural sweetness of roasted Brussels sprouts are combined with spiced sautéed butter beans, crispy onions cooked in chickpea flour and nigella seeds, in this warm winter side dish.

I nearly always follow the same formula to make a warm winter salad.  Roasted veg + grain/legume + killer dressing/seasoning + fancy garnish.  It works for me every time and makes cooking with seasonal ingredients a doddle, when you’ve worked out what goes with what.

The idea for the onions came from a Christmas sourdough sandwich I had at the weekend. I thought that maybe if I fried them in just a little bit of oil, having coated them in gram flour first I’d get that crispiness I was craving. Adding the nigella seeds was a last minute spice drawer raid thought.

So this isn’t really a Christmassy recipe, other than Christmas’ association with Brussels sprouts (and the festive pop of pomegranates) so make sure to enjoy this warm winter salad throughout the long sprouts season which runs from October to March, with them at their best from Dec to Feb.  Sprouts are not just for Christmas!

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Warm Brussels & Butter Beans with Nigella Seed Crispy Onions
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A warm winter salad of roasted Brussels sprouts, spiced sautéed butter beans, nigella seed crispy onions.
Serves: 2
Brussels Sprouts
  • ~250g Brussels sprouts, halved or left whole if small
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
Crispy Onions
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chickpea (gram) flour
  • ½ tbsp nigella seeds
  • pinch salt
  • Olive oil to fry
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds or ½ tsp ground
  • 1 x 400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • A handful of pomegranate seeds
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C
  2. Toss the sprouts in a good glug of oil and a pinch of salt add salt then roast in the oven on a baking tray for 15 minutes until tender and crispy round the edge.
  3. Meanwhile, toss the onions in the chickpea flour with the nigella seeds and salt, coating the slices as best as you can. Heat a good glug of oil (around 2 tbsp if we're being precise) to a medium-hot heat in a large frying pan, then scatter the onions across the pan. Don't stir continuously as the onions will go mushy as they release water, an occasional stir to make sure all sides of the onions are cooking will be fine. Turn the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the onions no longer have a raw tang, being mindful the gram flour doesn't burn. It should take around 10 minutes in total. Taste to check they are cooked, then tip the onions onto kitchen paper whilst you finish the dish.
  4. Wipe out the pan, add 1 tbsp oil then sauté the garlic along with the spices for about a minute so they they release their aroma. Then add the butter beans to the pan, and cook for around 5 minutes until they are warmed through and have absorbed some of the spices. By now the sprouts should be done, add them into the pan with the beans so the flavour hits them too. Season to taste.
  5. Transfer the beans and sprouts to a serving dish, top with the onions, and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds for a pop of festive colour and a sweet tang.