AKA trendy vegetable salad. Kale and Brussels Sprouts have become quite the happening veggies in the past few years. Which is awesome, to be sure. As long as they are treated correctly. There’s a reason that these two nutritional superstars were relegated to garnish and grandma status for so long. When not prepared well, they can be pretty….blech. Maybe SNL said it best:
Yeah. When treated carelessly, both brussels sprouts and kale can be repulsive. But when treated properly, they are such a treat. I’ll let you guess which route we’re going today.
I’ve only really been turned on to brussels sprouts in the past few years. I was fortunate to never have experienced the sulfurous stink of improperly cooked sprouts in my youth, but that is mostly because we didn’t eat them at all (maybe my mom had lingering memories of bad brussels sprouts past.) Roasted, almost charred brussels sprouts have thankfully been my gateway, and I’ve been head over heels ever since. Raw, shredded brussels sprouts take a little leap of faith but are so worth it. In this salad, they’re sliced super thin, courtesy of a food processor or a very sharp knife and steady hand. Tossed with kale, our other veggie du jour, they form a hearty and nutritious base for a delicious fall salad.
Since we start with a super healthy base, we can obviously indulge ourselves a little, right? Sure we can. We’ll crisp up a few thinly sliced shallots in olive oil, toast some nutty pumpkin seeds and sprinkle some tangy blue cheese over top. Sweet cranberries and chopped apples top off the tasty additions. And we’re not done yet. Such a delightful salad deserves a yummy homemade dressing, no? Mix together some apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, almond butter, dijon mustard and maple syrup and OMG. A variation on this dressing has been my go-to for fall and winter salads ever since I tried Kristin’s version over at Iowa Girl Eats. SO delish. I promise it is worth tossing all of these ingredients into a mason jar and shake, shake, shaking to your heart’s content. Almost as easy as store bought but a thousand times more tasty.
A few tips to make this salad as wonderful as possible: First, when trimming the root end of the sprouts, be sure to get all of the tough, woody part from the bottom where the sprout connects to the stalk. Even when shredded it can be somewhat tough, so take care of it at the outset. Next, toss the chopped apple with some lemon juice so that it stays crisp and doesn’t brown. Finally, if you won’t be eating the whole salad at one meal, don’t dress the whole thing. The sprouts and kale can wilt a bit once left in the dressing for a significant period of time (we’re talking like a day) so it’s worthwhile to dress each serving individually if you’ll consume over a few days. Oh, and maybe double the dressing recipe. I’m pretty sure you’ll find a way to use it.
Shredded Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad
- 1 lb. brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, tough outer leaves removed and thinly shredded, either with food processor or sharp knife
- 2 cups chopped kale ( I used lacinato)
- 1 apple, diced and tossed with the juice of 1/2 lemon
- 8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp then chopped
- 3-4 shallots, thinly sliced (or 2 very large shallots)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- Almond Cider Dressing:
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 Tbsp almond butter
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
- salt and pepper
Prepare dressing: in mason jar add dressing ingredients and shake until thoroughly combined.
Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. When oil shimmers, add shallot and fry 3-4 minutes, until golden and crisp. Remove shallots to bowl lined with paper towels.
In large bowl, combine brussels sprouts, kale, apple, bacon, shallots, blue cheese, pumpkin seeds and cranberries. Add dressing and toss to combine. If you will be eating the salad over a few days, dress each serving as eaten.