Shaved brussel sprout salads are a favorite of mine. Why? For a couple reasons. First is that brussels are a sturdy vegetable that doesn’t easily wilt, even when shaved/sliced. This makes them absolutely perfect for make-ahead meals. In fact, this type of salad gets better the longer it sits in the fridge, aka ideal for entertaining or meal prep.
The second reason why I love brussel sprout salads is that brussel sprouts are super nourishing and beneficial to your health. Filling up on cruciferous veggies such as brussel sprouts is a great way to add fiber, antioxidants, folate, potassium, iron and many other essential nutrients to your diet. Because of their high nutrient content, brussel sprouts have been shown to aid in digestive health, weight management, cardiovascular health and chronic illness prevention.
I originally developed this salad for a girls-brunch I hosted in November. No matter what entertaining menu I’m planning, I’m always sure to add something fresh and green to the table, like a salad. This not only balances out any rich dishes and adds color to the table, but also gives a guests a healthful, plant-forward option to fill up on. In the colder months, soft and sweet lettuces aren’t exactly in season, so heartier cold-weather vegetables like brussel sprouts are an ideal replacement in salads this time of year.
The kale pesto in this dish is also insanely healthful as it’s made with lots of nourishing plant-goodness – kale, pumpkin seeds, lemon and garlic. This pesto is dairy-free, so if you want to make the salad without any animal products, simply replace the cheddar with a rich and satisfying plant-based ingredient like avocado or dairy-free “cheese” which can be found pretty much everywhere these days.
Finally, sweet apples, festive pomegranate seeds and rich white cheddar come together to create an addicting, flavor-packed and satisfying salad that is a total crowd pleaser.
Kale Pesto & Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with Pomegranate
Yield: 6+ cups Serves: 4-6
12 oz shaved/ sliced brussel sprouts
1.5 cups kale pesto dressing (recipe follows)
1.5 cups pomegranate seeds (approx. 1 pomegranate)
4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, diced
1 honey crisp or gala apple, diced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, fine grain, plus more to taste
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. I like to reserve some of each topping as a garnish for serving. Also, I recommend starting with 1 cup of pesto dressing and either adding more to taste or serving remaining pesto on the side. Allow salad to sit (covered and refrigerated) for at least an hour or up to 24 hours before serving.
For the pictured salad, I added the entire batch of pesto when tossing, which is very pesto-heavy, just the way I like it.
1/2 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)*
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more to consistency
3-3.5 ounces kale leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, fine grain
Add pepitas, garlic, lemon, 1/2 cup olive oil, a handful of kale and salt to a food processor. Process until smooth, adding remaining kale and scraping the sides as you go. Add more olive oil to create a thick pesto consistency.
* to toast pepitas, bake in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, tossing occasionally.