I’m participating in the 2021 Black History Virtual Potluck with suya-spiced brussels sprouts. This collaborative menu of recipes was contributed by 40+ Black bloggers from around the globe in honor of Black History Month. See a sampling of some of the amazing participant recipes down below.
Happy Black History Month! As I do each year, I'm kicking this month off with a recipe that celebrates Black culture. There is no one-size-fits-all for the Black experience no matter where you go in the world. Due in large part to the Transatlantic Slave Trade, we are everywhere and Black culture encompasses many traditions and foodways, including Indigenous, Latin, and, of course, the distinct Soul Food of Black America. All roads lead back to Africa and today, I'm bringing you a vegetable with European origins made better by West African flavor from my father's homeland: suya (Yaji) spiced brussels sprouts.
Previous Black History Month recipes you should try:
- Aunty Toyin's Nigerian Jollof Rice
- My Great Great Aunt Georgia's Peach Cobbler
- Healthy Soul Food Power Bowls
- Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits
What is Suya, Though?
Suya (pictured to the left above) is a supremely popular West African street food made of grilled meat or poultry skewers seasoned with a suya (or Yaji) spice blend. Often the meat marinates all day and people flock to stands to buy freshly-grilled hot skewers at night. The result is tender, fiery, nutty, and smoky. Positively addictive. Wondering what is in suya? Suya spice contains groundnut (roasted peanuts), spicy red pepper, ginger, bouillon, garlic and onion. The meat is typically beef or chicken but I've seen suya made with shrimp and fish, too.
As a Nigerian-American who grew up enveloped in a large West African immigrant community in SW Houston, Texas, suya flavor has always been part of my life. Recognizing that it's not on everybody's radar just yet and that it might be intimidating to attempt suya at home, let me ease you into it with one of my favorite familiar veggies. Once you try roasted brussels sprouts with suya spice, you'll be putting suya spice on everything. Here's my homemade suya spice blend recipe, by the way. You'll want to have it on deck.
Perfectly crispy brussels sprouts are kind of my thing and they seem to be your thing, too, because these maple brussels are very popular around here. Also, red pepper honey brussels sprouts. Get to know them. Over the years, I've picked up a few good tips for cooking the most perfect crispy brussels sprouts. Check them out below.
Tips for Crispy Brussels Sprouts
- Ensure your brussels sprouts are completely dry before working with them. Excess moisture on the sprouts will cause them to steam instead of roasting to a nice crisp. Steamed sprouts aren't bad but that's not what you came here for, now is it?
- Cook brussels sprouts at high heat. They are pretty small and don't require a long cooking time, especially if you want to get them crispy.
- And since we're cooking at high temperatures, you'll want to use an oil with a high smoke point. Grapeseed and avocado oil are great for this but olive oil works, too, up to about 405 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare your roasting pan with non-stick spray. We're looking for some char on the brussels sprouts but don't want them to burn.
- Spread sprouts out on a large sheet pan so that they have plenty of room to crisp. Crowding brussels sprouts on the pan will cause them to steam as they will be releasing moisture in close proximity to each other.
- Halfway through the cooking time, gently and carefully rattle the pan to flip the sprouts over. This will help them cook evenly.
How to Prepare Brussels Sprouts for Roasting
- Rinse sprouts in cold water and pat them completely dry.
- Trim ends of brussels sprouts and discard the ends. Cut the sprouts in half.
- Evenly coat your brussels sprouts in oil and seasoning. Oil helps the surface of the sprouts crisp and cook evenly and also helps the suya spice stick.
How to Cook with Suya Spice
Suya refers to the meat skewers grilled or barbecued in this spice blend that works like a rub or can be made into a paste. This dry mix functions like any other you might be familiar with so work it into meats, sprinkle over vegetables, and more. It makes everything better. Depending on where you live, you can find pre-made suya spice in stores or online but I prefer to make my own blend. It's quite easy, much cheaper, and tastes better than the store-bought kind, in my opinion.
When making suya, I press the spice mixture into the meat and drizzle with oil before cooking. The flavor is even better if you can let it marinate for hours. For these suya-spiced brussels sprouts or any roasted vegetables with suya spice, I toss them in the spice blend with oil and a little salt in a large bowl before roasting in the oven.
Add these Nigerian flavors to your menu, too!
I highly encourage you to add suya to your cooking routine or try other suya-spiced roasted vegetables if you aren't a meat eater. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this suya brussels sprouts recipe and follow me on Pinterest to spread the love around. Thanks for reading!
Nigerian Suya-Spiced Brussels Sprouts Recipe
Brussels Sprouts with Suya Spice
- 1 pound brussels sprouts
- ¼ cup avocado oil or other oil with high smoke point
- 3-4 tablespoons suya (yaji) spice blend see recipe notes
- sea salt to taste (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a large sheet pan with non-stick oil spray and set aside.
- Rinse brussels sprouts in cold water then pat completely dry. Trim ends and slice sprouts into halves.
- Add sprouts to a large bowl, followed by oil, suya spice, and sea salt. Toss until sprouts are evenly coated in oil and spices.
- Spread brussels sprouts onto sheet pan in a single layer, allowing at least one inch between each sprout.
- Roast in oven for 15 minutes, gently and carefully shaking or rattling pan halfway through cook time in order to rotate/flip sprouts.