Kale used to be an outcast in our house. It would arrive in our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box and sit in the refrigerator until it turned yellow and wrinkled. Then it was composted.
And so, I was excited when I discovered this Kale and Brussels Sprout salad at a potluck. Yes, I enjoyed it so much, I went back for seconds (okay thirds) and then unabashedly poured the entire bowl of remaining salad onto my plate.
At least I was obsessed with something healthy and seasonal!
Why You’ll Love This!
Tasty. This is one of my family’s favorite salads. With a rich, flavorful dressing and a tasty, slightly crunchy, base, it won over even the biggest kale haters!
Quick & Easy. I don’t remember where I read the admonishment that went something like, “Noooooo, don’t chop the kale in the food processor.” Well, I do. And it’s fine. The Brussels sprouts go in there too. So there.
Of course if you aren’t using up that CSA kale (or garden Brussels sprouts), both veggies are commonly available pre-chopped in your vegetable aisle.
Nutritious. This salad is a bonanza of nutrition! You get a nice cruciferous veggie in the Brussels Sprouts. And, hmm, does kale count as a 2nd cruciferous or a leafy green? Add calcium rich Parmesan, vitamin C from lemon juice and healthy olive oil. I always knew healthy food could have flavor!
What You’ll Need
Garlic. This adds flavor to the dressing.
Dijon mustard. This adds flavor and helps the dressing to emulsify.
Worcestershire sauce. This also adds flavor and an umami component (along with the Parmesan cheese).
Pepper, Salt. These add flavor. I was surprised that the salad benefitted from salt given the high sodium Worcestershire sauce, but it tasted a little flat until I added it.
Lemon. This adds flavor, balances the oil and is a component of the emulsification process that creates a tasty vinaigrette.
Extra virgin olive oil. This forms the bulk of the dressing and you should try to use at least half extra virgin olive oil for the flavor. I go with 100% EVOO now, but in my more budget conscious days, I would sometimes sub half of a less expensive oil and it was still delicious.
Kale. Any type of food (non ornamental) kale can be used here. I tend to use lacinato or curly kale.
Brussels sprouts. This pairs with the kale for a tasty and nutritious salad!
Parmesan cheese. This adds richness, nutrition and umami flavor
Chopped almonds. This adds more richness and a slight crunch to the salad. While using almonds is my first choice in this, I will substitute pecans or other nuts that I have on hand. If you have a nut allergy but can eat seeds like pepitas or sunflower seeds, those could be substituted. I like to sprinkle some additional nuts onto the salad at the end.
A food processor is very helpful since there is a lot of chopping in this!
A microplane is perfect for finely grating a block of Parmesan cheese, but the tips includes an alternative.
Step by Step Directions
Combine dressing ingredients.
Chop kale and Brussels Sprouts as needed.
Combine chopped kale and shaved (or chopped) Brussels sprouts.
Add dressing and toss until well coated.
Add Parmesan cheese and toasted nuts and toss again.
How to Serve
Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad would be delicious as a side dish and can also work as a first course salad.
I think that’s because it has just the right blend of casual and formal. This means it works in casual settings like lunches or picnics as well as with a more elegant dinner like steak or seafood.
This recipe is already vegetarian and can be made vegan and dairy free by using a vegan Parmesan. Alternatively, some extra nuts and nutritional yeast can sub in a pinch.
This salad is best the first day but it’s also good the next day or two. If you’ll need to keep it any longer than that consider a trick I use with a number of different salads.
If I need, let’s say, half of a salad but I want to make the whole recipe for efficiency I do this. I prepare the salad, the dressing and toppings and keep everything separate in the refrigerator. The first day I prepare a half salad using half of the ingredients and leave the other half, still separated, in the refrigerator.
Then I have up to a week (depending on the recipe) to make up the remainder. And this way instead of a soggy old salad, it tastes as fresh as new!
Tips & FAQs
This salad tastes best when the dressing is well mixed into the greens. I usually mix it in a large bowl, then transfer it to an appropriately sized serving bowl.
If you don’t have a microplane, you can buy finely grated Parmesan. Or fresh Parmesan can be shredded with a standard grater, then pulsed in a blender or food processor to create a fine grate. Since it needs to coat the vegetables, it is important that it is very fine.
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Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3-4 Tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or half olive oil, half lighter oil)
- 3-4 cups chopped kale (1 large bunch, stems removed)
- 3-4 cups shaved Brussels sprouts (about 1 quart whole Brussels sprouts)
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (see note)
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds or other nuts (plus more for garnish if desired, optionally toasted)
- Finely mince the garlic (or put through a garlic press). Mix with the salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and olive oil.
- Combine chopped kale and shave Brussels sprouts. Add dressing and toss until well coated.
- Add parmesan cheese and toasted nuts then toss again.
- Serve immediately.
Originally published 11-15-2015
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