Massaged Winter Brussels Sprout Salad

With Blood Oranges and Roasted Grapes

 

 

Whoever believes brussels sprouts should be treated like the ugly stepchild of all the vegetables, should see how truly effortless it is to transform this misunderstood mini cabbage into something that’s completely craveable.  Cutting them up into little shredded ribbons, massaging them with a little bit of oil, like a tense pair of shoulders, to help tenderize them, and eating them raw like leaves in a crunchy salad…is exactly what we did here. 

My thought was something like: Hey, since brussels abound in the winter, it makes life and dinner easier if I can find a way to fall madly in love with them again. And here’s my easy recipe that’s a much needed little switch-up, a saving-grace, from the same-old, one dimensional, garlic-roasted side dish I’m sure we all were hoping for.  I hope you enjoy this too!

Segmenting Your Oranges: The segmentation technique was invented for times when you just can’t be bothered to spend time peeling orange membrane out from between your teeth; basically, unless you’re casually eating a orange by itself and by yourself, you’re probably serving it on a plate or in a dish, and in that case you always want to segment it to make it as edible and easy to consume as possible. Just cut the tops and bottoms off the oranges, and then carefully cut away the peels along the side of the oranges using a downward stroke. Remove any and all of the white pith remaining (it’s very bitter!) And using a paring knife, cut between the white membranes to release the wedges of the orange’s flesh. 

Why Grapes?: the main reason I used grapes here is because I had extra just chilling out in the fridge after making my Yogurt and Granola Fruit Cups earlier last week. But I totally encourage you to use apples, pears, persimmons, or anything that’s available in your area in the winter. Of course, if you decided on using apples or pears instead, then you can bypass the roasting step mentioned below for the grapes, and shred the stone fruit instead. 

Here’s How I Made It:

Makes 4 Servings

Brussels Sprouts Salad

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, stemmed and outer brown leaves removed
  • 1 bundle of grapes, 35-40 grapes (You can replace this with any other fruit)
  • 2 blood oranges, segmented (see above)
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp juice leftover juice from roasted grapes OR 1 Tbsp agave, honey, or maple syrup 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

 Balsamic Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil or other (avocado oil, grapeseed oil, etc)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sambal oelek or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper

Cut the trimmed brussels sprouts in half, and then the halves into thin ribbons. Add to a large bowl and set aside. 

If using grapes: Remove the grapes from the stems, rinse them well, and spread them out of a lined baking sheet, and roast in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the juices begin to bubble out. Remove the grapes from the oven, save the juices, and set the grapes aside. 

On the same baking sheet, toss the chopped pecans, with half the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and 1 Tbsp of the reserved grape juice OR you could just use agave, honey, or maple syrup. Bake in the oven for 4-6 minutes or until toasted. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Make the dressing: In a blender, combine the balsamic vinegar, oil, garlic clove, brown sugar, sambal or red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Blend on high until smooth.

Assemble the Salad: Pour the dressing over the shredded brussels sprouts, and using your clean hands, massage the dressing into the sprouts until they’re completely coated and tender. Top with the orange wedges, candied pecans, and roasted grapes. Serve!

Notes: You can also add goat cheese or feta cheese to make it even richer. I’m a big fan of batons of celery in my salad too, especially when grapes are present. 

 

 

 

 

What’s Next?: Did you try the creamy orange “Creamscicle” Smoothie I shared over the weekend?  I’m convinced a week of citrus binging is the reason why my sore throat disappeared in less than 32 hours. I’m finally down to just four blood oranges left on my counter, and only two recipes to go in my blood orange/citrus series. Tbh, my thoughts are focused on finishing up, so I can move on to my next series.  Which is still a secret! Great things to come in the next two weeks. 

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