It’s hard to do salad in the winter. Cold weather spikes our desire for comfort food and fatty meats. Call me crazy, but I don’t come in from shoveling a foot of fresh snow and think “Gee, you know what would be good right now? Something cold!” But a gal needs her fiber and fresh veggies, so I went about finding a winter salad I could live with.
Bright, crunchy, loads of flavour and warmth, Brussels Sprouts Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette has become my winter go-to salad,
Slicing the Humble Sprout
Huge fan of brussels sprouts. HUGE. Tiny cabbages that grow like rows of jingle bells on tall stalks, they’re one of the few vegetables that last forever in your vegetable crisper. Usually I roast the little suckers, sometimes with bacon, often served as part of a roasted vegetable dish, alongside all manner of entree.
Thinly slicing brussels sprouts can be a bit of a challenge though. They’re small, roundish and hard to handle. Three ways to slice:
Cut brussels sprouts in half lengthwise, then slice. I find this the easiest method by hand. They’re flat and stable on your broad allowing for thin, even sections that hold at the stem, you can break up a few for texture and visual appeal.
Use your food processor/Robot Coupe slicing attachment and pulse brussels sprouts a few times until you get a nice, thin chop that appeals.
Peel, leaf by leaf until too small, then slice, thin, lengthwise. I often use this method for raw brussels. I love the little cup shaped leaves in salads. They hold delicious bits of nuts, fruits and vinaigrette. (Pain in the butt though.)
Toss & Reserve
In this application we take advantage of brussels sprouts and their long shelf life and turn this into a slaw-like composed salad that, to be honest, tastes WAY better after a day or two in the fridge!
Mix sliced sprouts, shallot, cranberries and nuts, coat lightly with vinaigrette and reserve cold until ready to serve. Prior to plating add apple and feta, then drizzle lightly with citrus vinaigrette to finish.
Don’t get me wrong, you can make this recipe for Brussels Sprout Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette, toss it and serve it if you wish. You’ll get loads of crunch for your buck. But thinly sliced sprouts take the vinaigrette so well. It helps to soften fibrous leaves and nuts just a bit, while swelling and hydrating dried cranberries making everything juicier, as well as easier to chew and digest.
Apples and Oranges
In the interest of full disclosure, you’ll note that I show an orange instead of orange juice concentrate in the photos. Switched up ingredients midstream because I wasn’t getting the flavour power I was looking for. Trick from the pro kitchen: Orange juice concentrate adds big citrus taste without a lot of extra water, making for a punchier vinaigrette.
Also, didn’t add the apple to this salad. Why? Because someone ate the apple reserved for this shoot. *rolls eyes*
Me: Hey, who ate my apple?!
Kid: Not me!
Husband: I saw an apple, I ate an apple. It didn’t have anyone’s name on it.
At least it went to a good cause. Eat healthy. Be happy.
A bright, fresh winter salad featuring hearty green brussesls sprouts spiked with fresh, cold weather flavour that tastes even better the next day!
1 pound brussels sprouts, sliced thin
1 small shallot, sliced thin
½ cup raw hazelnuts (walnuts or almonds), lightly chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup green apple, diced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup light vegetable based oil (Sunflower, Cotton Seed, Canola)
½ small shallot, chopped fine
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup orange juice concentrate
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt & Pepper to taste
Start with your vinaigrette. Add shallot, lemon juice, orange juice concentrate, mustard and sugar into a bowl or vessel deep enough to handle immersion blender or whisk. Add about 1/3 of your vegetable oil and begin blending. Drizzle in the remaining oil, while blending, until creamy and emulsified. Check for taste and consistency. Season with salt and pepper and thin, IF NEEDED, with a little water (should you find the vinaigrette too thick for your tastes). Reserve cold.
Slice brussels sprouts & shallot. Roughly chop nuts. Add sprouts, shallot, cranberries and nuts to medium sized bowl, coat lightly with vinaigrette and reserve cold until ready to serve. (Minimum one hour, or overnight.)
Dice apple and toss with lemon juice. Crumble feta. Prior to plating add half the apple and feta to brussels spouts base, toss and add extra vinaigrette if needed. Plate. To finish, scoop up the heavier ingredients that tend to sink to the bottom of the bowl and add to top of salad. Add remaining apple and feta, drizzle lightly with citrus vinaigrette and serve.
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Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer and recipe blogger. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.