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.
No appliance is needed to shave Brussels sprouts, though. You can use a box grater. Finally, you can use a (very) sharp knife to do the job. Just be sure to work carefully!
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,
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I made this salad once a week for a few weeks now. It’s delicious and so good for you! Thank you for sharing the recipes on your website. May you be blessed with love, joy, and peace!
i keep coming back to this, for guests and just for myself – make a large batch and have a delicious salad ready to go for 3 days. i don’t use apples or raisins – i sub in tiny pieces of dates. just my preference. i slice the greens, no shaving. quick and easy. the parm is perfect to make and use on other greens, to season kale for chips, you name it. genius, thank you!!
Made this for dinner last night and am having the leftovers for lunch today! So delicious! I will say that I used pre-shredded kale and brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s, which made the whole thing even easier to make (always a good thing in my book), and I added some sliced cornichons for extra acid and tempeh strips so I could stretch it further–I didn’t make anything to go along with it. Great recipe and I’m definitely looking forward to making it again!
Thrilled that you like it so much, Marissa! Thanks for the feedback — using pre-shredded veggies is a great time-saver.
Just made it. WOWEEEE
I want to use this parm on everything!!!
Um…this was SO good. As in I didn’t know salad could cause a foodgasm. And my partner was worried because I was reacting like I do to rich pasta or the tiramasu at Blossom on Carmine (aka eyes drifting closed and me moaning, “Ohhhhmygodthisissogoodohmygod”).
Also, though my relationship to fat has come a long way, I still had to overcome some mental hurdles to actually make this dressing. It was just the right amount and didn’t FEEL heavy or gross (like so many fat-heavy dressings can) and honestly given my reaction to the salad, I’m so glad I went for it.
We couldn’t find pumpkin seeds that weren’t made in a facility with peanuts (the beau is severely allergic) so we subbed pecans and it worked great! I wanted to eat the parm with a spoon and am happy we mixed it all in because I definitely would have consumed enough to give myself a stomachache otherwise!
I love everything about this comment, Kait. I know the dressing looks like a lot of fat (coupled with the topping), but when you consider 8 servings, and when you actually taste the dish, it all falls into place 🙂 Such was my intention, anyway, and I’m glad your experience was so positive. I flipped out when I tasted the salad, too!
SO. DAMN. GOOD. And yeah it totally fell into place…perfectly. Obviously – given my R-rated response. 😉
I have to admit I’ve never been a fan of brussels sprouts, but this sounds so tempting!!! I love the sound of the pumpkin seed parmesan too. I’m going ot make this today!!
Beautiful recipe!! Question: I’m really trying to not eat too many empty (fat) calories and would like to replace the oil in this recipe since it has so many great fats in the hemp seed parmesan. Do you think I could just leave the oil out?
Personally, I don’t think the salad would be nearly as good if you left out the oil, mostly because the oil in the dressing is what helps to soften and break down the brussels sprouts and the kale. You’ll end up with something super dry. But you could use a dressing with less oil instead; my lemon hemp dressing from this recipe has much less oil, and it’s really good and will work well here. You can also leave the oil out of the parm if you like. But I really would urge you not to just cut the oil out if you want best results 🙂
that salad looks delicious!!!!
the hemp seed parmesan is genius! love this idea. and you have mastered a really good kale salad. could definitely beat some of those i’ve been served in restaurants. xo
What a kind remark, Amanda! I truly love the salad, and I hope you’ll like it, too!
What a tantalizing combination of flavors. The lemon zest, golden raisins and maple syrup along with the kale and slightly bitter brussels sprouts – I’ll be making this soon!
okay, this looks amazing, gina! and that’s saying a lot, because all kale salads in general sound amazing to me but brussel sprouts raw…. nah. this, though. will be making an appearance often 🙂
I love everything about this recipe. I am so glad that I have all these ingredients on hand at the moment, can’t wait to try this!
This looks incredible! Pinning!