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Unusual Vegetables, Part 1: Brussels Sprouts and Sunchokes

Today on the podcast we look at two unusual vegetables: sunchokes (jerusalem artichokes) and the much maligned, love 'em or hate 'em vegetable: brussels sprouts

sunchoke soup

For the next two weeks on Earth Eats, we’re going to be talking about some of the less common late season vegetables and hopefully give you some ideas of what you can do with them.

This week, we’re talking about sunchokes (also known as Jersusalem artichokes) and a vegetable that’s frequently gotten a bad wrap: the brussels sprout. Enjoy!

Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes)

The Jerusalem Artichoke is neither from Jerusalem, nor does it look much like an artichoke…it’s actually a type of sunflower that grows in the eastern US and is cultivated for its tuber which is used as a root vegetable.

We have two recipes for you today, that both use the same set of ingredients (so you can just make one trip to the store and try out both preparations).

First, we start with a sunchoke soup and then move on to a sunchoke puree that makes an excellent topping for game, fish, or vegetarian dishes.

Sunchoke Soup


  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 pounds sunchokes
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 apple – peeled and cored
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 cup cream
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot on medium high, add the olive oil, onions, and garlic. Cook gently for about 3-4 min.
  2. Add herbs, sunchokes, potatoes, and water, simmer until veggies are very tender.
  3. Add the cream and bring to boil, then remove from the heat.
  4. Puree in blender until smooth. Pass through fine strainer.
  5. Season to taste then chill the soup in an ice bath.

Note: You can garnish this soup with crab meat or diced raw sunchokes.

Sunchoke Puree with Apple and Spices

a bowl of sunchoke soup

Photo: Andrew Olanoff/WFIU


  • ½ pound sunchokes – peeled and cut into small pieces
  • ¾ pound potatoess – peeled and diced
  • 1 apple – peeled and diced
  • water to cover
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup cream
  • ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Place sunchokes, potatoes and apple in a sauce pan and just cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook until both potatoes and sunchokes are tender.
  3. Drain and mash together with butter, cream, spices, garlic and seasonings.

Weekly News Update

Healthy Ice Cream – No More Guilty Pleasures?

A team of researchers from the University of Missouri are turning ice cream into what they call a “functional food” – adding nutrients like fiber, antioxidants and even pro-biotics like those found in yogurt. Read more »

On The Podcast: Brussels Sprouts – Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em?

Brussels sprouts are one food that everyone seems to have an opinion about. They either love ’em or hate ’em. Earth Eats’ Megan Meyer asked people for their thoughts on this much maligned vegetable.

Not So Bad Really (We Promise)

Well, here at Earth Eats, we like Brussels Sprouts (at least most of us). This week we have a recipe for a delicious fresh brussels sprout salad. Even if you’ve had bad experiences with brussels sprouts in the past, give this a try, we think it’ll change your mind.

Fresh Brussels Sprout Salad

brussel sprouts salad

Photo: Andrew Olanoff/WFIU


  • 1 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, freshest you can find
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh scallions or chives, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/3 cups toasted sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Shred the Brussels sprouts thinly using your sharpest knife or a kitchen mandolin.
  2. Five minutes before serving, place the shredded sprouts in a large mixing bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients being careful not to break up the sprouts too much.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serves 4 – 6.

Next Week

Next week on the podcast we’ll be talking about two more slightly unusual vegetables, long beans and okra, including a delicious recipe for raw okra salad.

Be sure to subscribe to our free weekly podcast in iTunes so you’re sure not to miss it!

And what do you think about brussels sprouts? have you ever tried sunchokes? leave us your thoughts in the comments.

Adam Schweigert

Adam Schweigert is the Managing Editor and Senior Producer for Earth Eats. He is also the Online Director for Indiana Public Media (WFIU/WTIU) and has been with WFIU Public Radio since the fall of 2003, previously serving as Director of Multimedia Initiatives, Music Director and Arts Bureau Chief. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana with his dog Sydney.

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