This Brussels sprout kale salad hits every note: bitter, salty, sweet, sour, and savory. It’s the ultimate wintery kale salad!
I was delightfully surprised the first time I tried a shredded Brussels sprout salad. How could such hard little crucifers be so delicious in their raw form?
Brussels sprouts add wonderful crunch and a slightly bitter flavor to salads. They also hold their texture well over time, which means crisp and appealing leftovers.
Throwing shaved, raw Brussels sprouts into a salad is a new way to showcase them at Thanksgiving or another holiday. It’s also a nice way to use up any leftover sprouts from preparing other dishes.
This boldly flavored Brussels sprout kale salad combines two members of the brassica family. They’re served along with a salty, savory hemp and pumpkin seed parmesan.
The salad also contains sweet notes. It’s specked with raisins and shaved Granny Smith apple. A zesty lemon maple vinaigrette brings it all together.
Shaved Brussels sprouts play a starring role in the Brussels sprout kale salad. But how best to prepare them?
Full confession: these days I often find pre-shaved Brussels sprouts in grocery stores. When I do, and if I’m planning to use them in a recipe, I buy them. Shortcuts are welcome these days.
But it’s not hard to prepare shaved Brussels sprouts at home. You can do this using a food processor that’s fitted with a slicing blade. You can use a mandolin or food slicer; I swear by this one for slicing vegetables thinly.
There’s nothing like a little vegan parmesan to add savory, umami goodness to a salad. And I think that plant-based parm is especially great in kale salads like this one.
More details on my homemade hemp and pumpkin parmesan below!
No explanation needed. If you can’t find Brussels sprouts, though, you could try thinly sliced or finely chopped broccoli in their place.
I use Tuscan, or lacinato kale in the recipe. I love all kale varieties, but I think that the lacinato texture works especially well here.
I’ve sometimes read that Tuscan kale is less bitter than curly. I haven’t actually found this to be true, but it does have a deep, sweet earthiness that’s unique.
Raisins add an unexpected burst of sweetness to the salad, along with texture contrast. I use golden raisins here, and I love the way they work in the recipe.
If you don’t have, or can’t find, golden raisins, then you can use regular raisins or currants. You could also omit the raisins altogether if you’re less enthusiastic about sweet and savory combinations than I am.
Finally, pomegranate arils make a good substitution for the raisins, and they’re so festive looking. I put them in a lot of holiday salads, including this much loved cauliflower kale salad.
I’m not generally a big fruit-in-salads person. But I have to admit, I love the way that apple works in this salad! It adds refreshing crunch. And while it complements the sweet raisins, it’s a bit tart as well.
Speaking of, I use either pink lady or Granny Smith apples in the salad. I recommend them for this recipe. But if you can’t find either variety, then Mutsu and honeycrisp apples will also work well.
The hemp and pumpkin seed parmesan in this Brussels sprout kale salad has become a pantry staple for me.
I based it off of my hempesan topping, an old favorite. But I tweaked the recipe to add a little garlic flavor and to include some pumpkin seeds. The pumpkin seeds mellow and balance the distinctive flavor of hemp nicely.
It’s incredibly easy to make, and you can keep a jar handy for topping pasta, grain bowls, salads, and roasted winter veggies.
The salad can be easily made a day in advance of whenever you’re serving it. I recommend storing the parmesan separately and using it to top the salad right before serving.
You can also prepare the vinaigrette in advance, along with the parmesan, and then mix all of the salad components together when you’re ready to eat.
I can’t wait to hear what you guys think!
In the meantime, I’m planning on throwing together a small, pre-Thanksgiving recipe roundup tomorrow, to be followed by weekend reading on Saturday or Sunday as usual. If you’re still on the hunt for vegan Thanksgiving recipes, don’t forget to tune in, and hopefully I’ll be able to offer you some fun ideas. Till very soon,