This salad started out as an afterthought, and ended up stealing the show. I had planned on making another Joie-recommended main dish, confident that it would be a success (it wasn’t–not bad, just didn’t quite work as well for me), and needed a veggie to fill out my plate. When I spotted a bag of shredded brussels sprouts at Trader Joe’s I remembered that Shutterbean had at some point posted a recipe for brussels sprouts salad, and thought I remembered her really liking it. When I got home and looked up the post I saw that she called it “Addictive Brussels Sprout Salad,” and after I made it I saw why.
I don’t generally have strong feelings about brussels sprouts. I didn’t grow up hating them, but we didn’t have them often, either. As they’ve popped up on more and more restaurant menus in the last few years I’ve had them much more often, usually done in a way designed to hide the healthy veggie under rich tasty taste–maybe fried, or cooked with bacon, or dressed with hollandaise (as in a particular favorite seasonal salad at a particular favorite restaurant). This salad, tho, really lets the sprout shine through, with just some toasted walnuts, cheese, and a simple mustard dressing mixed in.
When I’ve described this salad in excited detail to people (this has happened at least three times), the response I’ve invariably gotten is: “wait…how do you cook the brussels sprouts? You don’t cook them?!” Nope. You just treat them as little shredded leaves, and chomp on ’em raw. I really liked the texture, and found it similar to other hearty greens like kale, collards, or chard. Just be sure that you’re only using the leaves–the pre shredded bagged brussels sprouts that I used included big slices of the very tough core, and while I was down to try raw brussels sprouts the raw core seemed like a step too far, so I took a moment to pull them out before I put together my salad. Judging from the pictures, it looks like Shutterbean’s mandoline-ed version included the whole sprout. Maybe I’ll work up to that…
I loved this salad just as it was, but I think there’s a lot of room for playing with cheese and nut and dressing combos. As it was, I lucked into doing the recipe pretty much as written the first time around. My Trader Joe’s has terrible cell reception, so while I was sparked by the bagged brussels sprouts and thought that the salad had some kind of nut, I couldn’t look up the ingredient list on my phone. Luckily, I had walnuts, asiago cheese (my one substitution), and all of the things I needed for the dressing already at home. I almost never have everything on hand for so called pantry meals, so this was a nice change. And proof, I think, of what a really simple salad this is. Simple, and tasty enough that I’ve already made it three times–feeling oh so virtuous each time, what with eating raw brussels sprouts and all. Not too bad for a salad that started out as an afterthought.
I switched cheeses and halved the dressing, but other than that (and the awesome sub of pre-shredded veggies) I stuck like glue to the Shutterbean recipe.