Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Red Onion, and Grapes Recipe

We all love roasted vegetables. They taste delicious and they’re easy.  But for the holidays or entertaining, it’s nice to add a little something extra to basic roasted vegetables.  How about grapes??  Trust me on this one. They’re not quite expected, but they’re like sweet little juicy nuggets that enhance bitter vegetables like Brussels sprouts.  I am on a mission to get people to love vegetables and eat more of them.  And this recipe is a winner!Continue reading

Brussels Sprout Latkes Recipe

brussels sprout latkes | pamela salzman

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I learned how to make latkes from an unlikely source — my Puerto Rican mother-in-law, who like me, also did not grow up Jewish.  But let me tell you something.  That woman makes the best latkes I have ever had.  The. Best.  And I’ve had a lot.  They’re a cross between lacy and meaty, with the perfect crispiness and seasoning.  No one even cares what else is on the Hanukkah dinner menu since we all practically make a meal of latkes as they come out of the frying pan.

sliced brussels sprouts

Since there are still 4 nights of Hanukkah left, I thought I would squeeze in this recipe.  Full disclosure though, these are not my mother-in-law’s latkes.  She wouldn’t dare mess around with Brussels sprouts or anything too healthy.  She’s pretty straightforward — all potato and onion.  And no one complains.  But I taught these in my classes this month and everyone has been raving.  Personally, I would love to substitute a little more Brussels sprout for potato, but my family stopped me here, the point where they couldn’t tell there were Brussels sprouts in there.   I am crazy for Brussels sprouts and love the taste, so I think a little more would be a good thing.

use a nut milk bag to squeeze moisture out of potatoes and onions | pamela salzman

I originally got the idea for using Brussels sprouts from my talented friend, Phoebe Lapine, who has a blog called “Feed Me Phoebe.”  She actually makes her latkes with all Brussels sprouts!  How about that?  And she serves them up with an anchovy aioli.  So fun to be young and cooking for not picky children.  I would love anchovy aioli.  I digress.  I merely took my basic latke recipe and subbed in 1/2 pound of Brussels sprouts which I sliced in my food processor.  And yes, I use a food processor to make latkes.  They do not taste better when the potatoes and onions are grated by hand.  That is an old wives tale meant to make all the ladies who lost their knuckle skin feel better.  Using a food processor is awesome, fun and the way to go.  See my post for how to use your food processor if this intimidates you.  If you know how to use a toaster oven, you can use a food processor!

brussels sprout latkes | pamela salzman

A couple of latke-making tips:

  • Latkes taste best right out of the frying pan.  But you can make them ahead and freeze them if you want.  Fry them until the are barely golden, i.e. underdone, and freeze them in one layer on a sheet pan.  Once they are frozen, scoop them up and store them in a container or a resealable bag until ready to use them.  Bake them frozen on a cookie sheet at 425 degrees until hot and crisp, about 10-15 minutes, and serve.
  • You can also make them an hour ahead and keep them warm in one layer in the oven at 200 degrees.
  • Do not make the latke mixture ahead of time though.  It will turn all shades of ugly.
  • Frying, as opposed to baking, makes them taste the best, so just let go of the fact that you will be overheating your oil and crating all sorts of inflammatory particles and free radicles.  Life is about balance.  Enjoy the fried latkes.
  • You can use any number of binders including matzoh meal, potato starch, all-purpose flour, panko crumbs and even ground up cereal.  I use potato starch if I am serving to anyone gluten-free, but I think it also makes a lighter latke.
  • Do squeeze the living daylights out of your potatoes and onions.  The less moisture, the crispier the latkes.  I posted a picture of me on Instagram squeezing the mixture in an extra-large nut milk bag.  Best method ever.  Then just wash the bag in soapy water and let air dry.  I only use this one for veggies, not making nut milk.  This is the one I use and it’s $9 on amazon.  You’ll have it for years.  Otherwise use a thin flour sack towel or cheesecloth.
  • When the bottom of the bowl starts to get liquidy, just pull the mixture from the top.  You don’t want a drippy, soaking wet mixture.  The latkes won’t be crispy and the oil will splatter everywhere.

brussels sprout latkes | pamela salzman

brussels sprout latkes | pamela salzman

If you do celebrate Hanukkah, have a joyful rest of the holiday.  For everyone else, I’ve got you covered with some fab Christmas and party recipes coming up!

brussels sprout latkes | pamela salzman

brussels sprout latkes | pamela salzman

Shop the tools I used for this recipe by clicking on the images below:

Brussels Sprout Latkes Recipe
Serves: 15-20
  • ½ pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed (or 3 cups pre-shredded)
  • 1 ½ pounds Russet potatoes, about 2 or 3, peeled or unpeeled, and cut to fit a food processor, if necessary
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • ½ - ¾ cup potato starch, panko bread crumbs, all-purpose flour, or matzo meal
  • Olive oil for frying (or a refined peanut oil or grapeseed oil has a higher smoke point, although not exactly healthful)
  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the slicing disc attachment, thinly slice the Brussels sprouts. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Change the disc to a shredding disc and shred the potatoes and onions. Squeeze out as much liquid as humanly possible. I like to do this by placing the shredded vegetables in a thin kitchen towel and wringing it out. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes and squeeze again.
  3. Add the shredded potatoes and onions to the Brussels sprouts. Mix well. Remove 2 cups of this mixture and add to the food processor this time with the metal S blade and pulse twice until everything is finely chopped.* Add back to the mixing bowl.
  4. Add the eggs, salt, pepper and bread crumbs to the vegetables and combine well.
  5. Heat the olive oil in 2 large skillets until hot, but not smoking. You want more than a thin layer.
  6. Using about 2-3 tablespoons of the Brussels sprout-potato mixture, form the latkes into 2 ½-inch pancakes. Flatten slightly and carefully place into the pan. When the edges are brown and crisp, turn them over and continue cooking until deep golden. I usually flatten them in the pan when I flip.
  7. Lay paper towels on a cooling rack or brown paper bag. Transfer the latkes from the pan to the rack. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Serve immediately with applesauce or sour cream (if you must).
*If you don't want any "meatiness" to your latkes and prefer all lacy-ness (not really a word, but you know what I mean), don't pulse the vegetables.


Brussels sprout sliders recipe

brussels sprout sliders | pamela salzman During the holidays, I find myself saying quite often, "Oh, what the heck.  It's the holidays," as I add a handful of cheese or have an extra cookie.  But the "holidays" aren't just one day.  They start around Halloween and stretch until New Years Day, at which point most people I know declare the beginning of their cleanse to redeem themselves for overindulging during the "holidays."  I have to be honest and say that I am a little more lax during the holidays with my eating and I've never too happy in January when my jeans aren't too comfortable.  This year I'm going to be a little more mindful and not use the holidays as an excuse to act like every night is my last supper! brussels sprouts trim the sprouts My new favorite hors d'oeuvre is actually what motivated me to really try to find delicious recipes for the holidays that are also healthful.  Not only am I crazy about these little Brussels sprout sliders, but they were such a hit at my house with my friends this year, as well as with my cooking classes this month.  In fact, my friend Cheryl enjoyed them at my house for dinner one night and then asked my to bring the sliders to her house for a little get-together a few weeks later.  Winner! line them up in pairs "Sliders" have been very popular the last few years at parties.  They are basically mini-burgers.  I've seen them as simple as a basic mini beef or turkey patty and bun all the way to topped with caramelized onions, gorgonzola and arugula.  In this vegetarian and bread-less version, the sprouts are halved and roasted and become the "bun."  And then you can put whatever you want in between.  Do you get it?  Crazy good, and GOOD FOR YOU, TOO! sliced gruyere Before you think, "Oh, it's the holidays.  These aren't indulgent enough,"  I haven't seen anyone stop at just one.  They are super tasty and very satisfying.  I usually stick to the following fillings (which happen to go into my favorite grilled cheese): thinly sliced gruyere, sauteed onions, coarse-grain mustard, and roasted apple.  Sometimes I add them all, sometimes two or three.  Of course, you can add richer fillings, such as cooked bacon or a piece of honey-baked ham as well. sauteed onions Not a lot of time on your hands?  Here's what I would do:
  • slice the cheese up to a week ahead
  • saute the onions the day before and refrigerate
  • roast the sprouts several hours in advance and allow to sit at room temp
  • assemble the sliders a few hours in advance and warm through at 300 (or 350) for a few minutes
brussels sprout sliders | pamela salzman Since Brussels sprouts aren't all the exact same size like store-bought hamburger buns, the key step here is to keep the sprout halves next to each other so that you don't have to search around for the perfect match when you assemble.  Trust me, this is a good idea! brussels sprout sliders | pamela salzman I think this would be amazing to make as an hors d'oeuvre on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  And they would be perfect for any cocktail party when you need something hearty and green to balance out all the cheese dips.  But, if you are planning on these for a cocktail party, consider that they are individual bites, and take a little more time to assemble than a dip.  So you don't want to prepare a menu of too many items like this (=time-consuming.) brussels sprout sliders | pamela salzman I hope you have the happiest of holidays, filled with joy, love, peace, light and nourishing, delicious food! brussels sprout sliders | pamela salzman  
Brussels Sprout Sliders
Serves: makes 20 full sliders or 40 half (open-faced) sliders
  • 6 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, DIVIDED, plus extra for greasing baking sheet
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 20 medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed of any dry edges (but don’t slice off the whole core)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • Small block of gruyere cheese, thinly sliced and cut the same size as a sprout
  • Other add-in possibilities: Roasted apple or pear chunks, manchego cheese
  1. Warm 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and a sprinkle of salt. Saute, stirring frequently, until they become more golden in color, about 15-20 minutes. Lower the heat a little and continue to cook until they are tender.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and brush with olive oil.
  3. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half from top to bottom, keeping the two halves close together. If you don’t, you will have to search for a pair that fits well together after they have roasted.
  4. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn the sprouts and bake 15-20 more minutes or until tender.
  5. Take one half of a Brussels sprout, smear with mustard, add a piece of gruyere and a pinch of onions. Take the other half of the Brussels sprout and position it so the two sprouts are like the buns on a burger, with the cut sides facing each other, and secure with a toothpick. Serve at room temperature or warm on a baking sheet in a 325 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.



Brussels sprout hash with capers, lemon and hazelnuts recipe

brussels sprout hash with lemon, hazelnuts and capers | pamela salzman

There are things I have to make for Thanksgiving and things I want to make for Thanksgiving.  Even though I don’t eat turkey, everyone else that shows up does, so that’s non-negotiable. As are stuffing and mashed potatoes.  Thank heavens for Pinterest boards.  So even if I don’t get to indulge my fantasy of an all-veggie, every-color-of-the-rainbow-Thanksgiving, I can look at it on my computer screen.

brussels sprouts

I might be alone here, but I actually think turkey is totally boring, and the veggie side dishes are where all the fun happens.  I like color, texture and freshness!  This Brussels sprout hash is my idea of a good time on Thanksgiving.  It’s green, bright, a little crunchy and a little acidic.  Compared to turkey, this hash is a party!

prepping hazelnuts

Unlike some Thanksgiving side dishes (sweet potato casserole,) this Brussels sprout hash is no one-hit wonder.  It is incredibly complementary with turkey and mashed potatoes, but it is equally delicious mixed with whole grain pasta (my favorite) or as a side to fish or chicken.  This Brussels sprout dish has become one of my favorite comfort foods and my kids actually like it, too!  Plus, it’s incredibly easy and fast to fix up.  Not that I am all that concerned with nutrition on Thanksgiving, this is also a pretty healthful dish.


brussels sprout hash with lemon, hazelnuts and capers | pamela salzman

The difficult part of Thanksgiving menu-planning for me is how to include Brussels sprouts on the menu.  I have so many favorite recipes that all work beautifully, it’s difficult to choose!  Although it’s a tad more work than just cutting them in half, I love the texture of the sprouts when they are cut thinly like this.  If you have a food processor with a slicing blade, you can prep this in seconds.  Here’s how I would tackle this for Thanksgiving:

Day before:

  • slice the sprouts and refrigerate in a covered container or zippered bag
  • squeeze the lemon juice and refrigerate
  • toast the hazelnuts, rub with a towel to remove skins and chop.  Keep in a covered container at room temp.

Day of Thanksgiving:

Cook sprouts right before serving dinner.

brussels sprout hash with lemon, hazelnuts and capers | pamela salzman

Look out for my Thursday posts to help you get ahead and be organized for Thanksgiving!

brussels sprout hash with lemon, hazelnuts and capers | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Brussels Sprout Hash with Capers, Lemon and Hazelnuts
Serves: 4-6
  • ½ cup hazelnuts (if you can get them already skinned, skip step 1)
  • 3 Tablespoons unrefined, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (or just use more oil)
  • ¼ cup capers, well drained
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed, and shredded*
  • the juice of 1 lemon, about 2 ½ Tablespoons
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a pie plate or baking sheet, toast the hazelnuts until the skins blister, about 15 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a clean kitchen towel and let cool, then rub to remove the skins. If you don’t mind hazelnut skins, you don’t need to remove them. Coarsely chop the nuts.
  2. In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the capers (be careful since they will probably splatter!) Sauté the capers for about one minute, or until they start opening like little flowerbuds.
  3. Add the Brussels sprouts and hazelnuts to the pan and stir to coat with the oil and caper mixture. Pour in the lemon juice and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the sprouts are tender but still a little crisp.
  4. Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
*You can do this by hand by cutting them in half and thinly slicing them with a sharp knife.  Or you can slice them with the slicing disc in your food processor.  If you use the food processor, remember to push down on the sprouts with the attachment while you are slicing them.

You can also add some cooked, diced bacon and/or some fried sage leaves.

Maple-mustard roasted vegetables recipe

maple-mustard roasted vegetables | pamela salzman

This is the first year that my Thanksgiving menu has not been finalized so close to Thanksgiving.  I am not freaking out yet, but I might need an intervention.  I come up with new recipes every year for the Thanksgiving classes I teach and then I want to include them in my personal Thanksgiving dinner.  The problem is, the last few years I have just added to the menu without taking anything off and I think I am now at maximum menu capacity.  Also, there’s no balance to a meal with four Brussels sprout dishes, now is there?  I keep asking my husband, “can we just take stuffing off the menu?”  And he looks at me like I’m crazy.  Then he asks me, “why don’t you take the sweet potato casserole off the menu?”  Then I look at him like he’s really crazy.  I think I’m just going to take my Thanksgiving CEO job a little more seriously and make the tough choices.  Some dishes just aren’t going to make the cut this year (unless I get a few more ovens and a few more hours in the day) and I am prepared to deal with the backlash from my people.

the veggies

all prepped

If you are still looking for a winner side dish or two to add to your Thanksgiving menu, then look no further than these delicious vegetables.  I think what every Thanksgiving table needs is a little more color, i.e. vegetables and a little more texture, i.e. something other than soft, mushy food.  I love this recipe because it’s more interesting than just roasting vegetables with olive oil or coconut oil.  A little sweetness from the maple syrup, some acidity from the white wine and a touch of tang from the mustard — how good does that sound?  No marshmallows, no canned cream of something, no swimming pool of heavy cream.  Just beautiful vegetables tasting like they should.  You can choose whatever vegetables in whatever quantities you like and they are all super nutritious so you won’t go wrong there.  But….I’ll tell you what you shouldn’t omit.  Love, love, love the parsnips, and the red onion and the Brussels sprouts.  If you’re trying to keep it simple, do those three (or sub halved shallots for the onion) and pick either butternut squash or carrots or sweet potatoes to join the party.

maple, mustard, wine, oil, thyme

ready to be roasted

A little advice though — one year I made 6 sheet pans of these in one oven — two pans side-by-side, three racks — and they didn’t caramelize as beautifully as I would have liked.  Too much vegetable closeness.  And they take a little time in the oven, so you need to plan for your turkey to rest for about 40 minutes and then allow 10-15 minutes for carving and that timing should be about right.  But if you are reheating stuffing, sweet potato casserole and other stuff, you’ll need to roast these veggies before the turkey goes in and then just do a quick reheat before serving.  That will work just fine.  And if there’s no way you have room to add these to this year’s Thanksgiving menu, there’s always Christmas dinner, which is less than four weeks after Thanksgiving.  Ok, now I’m freaking out!

maple-mustard roasted fall vegetables | pamela salzman

Shop the tools I used for this recipe by clicking on the images below:

Maple-Mustard Roasted Vegetables
Serves: 6
  • ¼ cup unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil or unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • ½ pound butternut squash, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into sixths or eighths (keep root attached)
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet potato (e.g. Garnet or Jewel), peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 10 medium Brussels sprouts, halved
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. (I've noticed that darker sheet pans, even lined with parchment paper, caramelize vegetables better/more quickly than light-colored pans.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, syrup, mustard, wine and thyme. Make sure the maples syrup is well incorporated. Add all the vegetables and toss to coat.
  3. Spread evenly between the two pans in one layer and sprinkle well with salt and pepper (about ¾ teaspoon salt or more.)
  4. Roast vegetables until tender and slightly caramelized, about 50 minutes, tossing after 30 minutes. You may need to rotate the pans if they are not side-by-side in the oven or if your oven has hot spots.
These are just examples of vegetables that work nicely together and with these flavors.  Feel free to concentrate on fewer vegetables, and use more of them.

Raw Brussels Sprout Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing Recipe

Good gracious, I do believe Christmas is a mere seven days away.  I should probably get started on that box of holiday cards sitting next to my desk, what do you think?  I also have a couple of gifts to buy, but that hasn’t been occupying my thoughts as much as food.  Shocking, I know.  There is a lot of food planning that I have going on right now.  First off, United Airlines decided to cancel my 8:30 am flight (reasonable time) to NY and rebook us on a 6:14 am flight (unreasonable, horrible, why-bother-going-to-bed-at-all time.)  So I need to figure out breakfast and lunch for everyone and get that packed the night before.  Let me know if you have any suggestions otherwise I’m making kale salad with quinoa and a bunch of pumpkin muffins and that’s that.

I also need to plan 3 meals a day for the time we’re at my parents’ house.  My sisters come with their little ones and I turn into the culinary director for the week.  I adore my mother, but I don’t think I can handle hearing her ask me every day, “Now what do you want to do for lunch?” (or dinner)  And the last thing I want to do is head out to the market every day in chilly weather without a plan when I could be working on a puzzle and sipping hot tea while a huge pot of veggie chili simmers on the stove.  Ahhhhh……So my plan is to come up with the menu for the week and email my mother the grocery list and we’ll all be sitting pretty.

But the big decision before I leave is what should I bring for Christmas Eve dinner, the biggest potluck of the year?  It’s tricky since I arrive fairly close to the 24th and I don’t have too much prep time.  The other challenge is that I need to make enough to feed oh, about 80 people.  For years and years I brought dessert like cucidati, a Sicilian fig cookie, or gingerbread cake.  Easy enough.  But last year, I felt motivated to get some more veggies on the tables since 80% of the meal seems to revolve around fish of some sort.  So of course I decided to make Brussels Sprout Leaf Salad, one of my favorite salads ever.  Incredibly delicious, super healthful, so seasonal and really pretty.  BUT, probably the most ridiculous salad to make for EIGHTY PEOPLE.  Why?  Because you have to separate all the leaves, blanche them and spin them dry.  I’m not sure why I thought this was a good idea.  Oh, wait.  Now I remember.  I thought my darling sisters and my lovely daughters would help me.  Ha.  Ha.  Are you picturing me sitting at the kitchen table for hours on December 23rd all by myself?  Cranky face.

So this year is going to be different.  I’m going to make an equally tasty brussels sprout salad, one that my husband and my daughters are crazy about, but not have to be a slave to the sprouts.  This salad debuted just this year on my Thanksgiving class menu and it has made several appearances at our dinner table.   It’s crunchy and kind of tart-sweet and you have no idea you’re eating brussels sprouts (not that there’s anything wrong with them.)  In fact, they are beyond nutritious and super delicious raw.  This salad even tastes great the next day for lunch boxes.  If you are dairy-free or vegan, feel free to leave out the manchego cheese.  By the same token, do have fun with this salad and substitute feta instead or add pomegranate seeds or your favorite nut in place of the sliced almonds.

Here’s my plan for bringing this to dinner on Monday night:

  • Sunday:  make dressing and refrigerate
  • Sunday:  wash, dry, trim and thinly slice Brussels sprouts and refrigerate
  • Sunday:  shred manchego cheese (I do this on a box grater) and refrigerate
  • Monday afternoon:  cut apples and store in cold water
  • Just before serving:  drain apples and add to sprouts, cheese and almonds.  Dress with vinaigrette and serve.

Ooops.  Forgot one more thing.  Sunday:  Make tea and start 1000 piece puzzle.  Stay in pajamas as desired.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Raw Brussels Sprout Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved
  • 1 large crisp apple, cored and cut into julienne
  • ⅓ pound of Manchego cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • Dressing:
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, preferably unpasteurized
  • ½ small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 6 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Slice the Brussels sprouts as thinly as possible with a sharp knife. If necessary, you can use the slicing disc on a food processor, but it won’t be super thin. Place in a serving bowl.
  2. Add the apple, Manchego and almonds to the shredded Brussels sprouts.
  3. In a small bowl or in a jar with a screw-top lid, combine all dressing ingredients until emulsified. Add drizzle enough dressing onto the sprouts mixture to coat lightly. Toss to combine well and taste for seasoning.

Brussels sprout leaf salad recipe

I am a sucker for traditions most likely because I grew up with so many, most of which are still alive today.  In my family, Christmas Eve is the biggest night of the year.  Despite the fact that I moved from New York 20 years ago (gasp!), I have never missed it once.  And in all these years, it hasn’t changed much except for the fact that it has grown considerably from a sit-down dinner for 40 to a sit-down dinner for up to 80.  We’re so many people, that we even have a priest come to the house to perform mass in the living room.  Someone still dresses up as Santa and comes down the stairs after dinner to sit with the children who still believe.  There are a few hundred gifts to be given and carols to be sung.  It is truly a magical night.

As far as food goes, it’s the biggest potluck you have ever seen in your life.  Italian Christmas Eve dinners usually revolve around fish and ours is no different.  There are usually several versions of codfish, as well as eel, scallops, mussels, octopus and linguine with clam sauce.  Would it surprise you that my husband’s Christmas Eve tradition is to stop by Sal’s pizza before coming to dinner?  Thankfully I have a mother who loves vegetables as much as I do, but she’s usually the only one who makes any, except for salad.   The long-standing tradition on Christmas Eve is that if you are pregnant, you get a break.  You only need to bring a salad since that is much easier to make than almost anything else.  In years past, my aunts, and now my cousins and my sisters and I have announced our pregnancies by entering the dining room with a salad.  It’s always a very joyous moment.

Because I usually arrive on December 23rd and there are dozens of gifts from Amazon that need immediate wrapping, I usually make a pan of gingerbread to bring and call it a day.  But also my parents are usually monopolizing their small-ish kitchen with eel prepartion and that’s enough for me to stay the heck out of there.  This year I arrive on December 22nd and I have a whole extra 24 hours to play with, so I thought I would make something a little more interesting for Christmas Eve, something that showcases the kind of food I love to share.  I immediately thought of this Brussels sprout leaf salad, which is such a different and delicious way to eat this incredibly nutritious and tasty vegetable that seems to get roasted more than anything else.  I also think it’s just perfect for Christmastime because the green from the leaves and the red from the dried cherries are just so festive.  The blanched leaves do not taste much like brussels sprouts at all, but in fact very neutral.  The salad goes beautifully with turkey, pork, beef and fish.  I would normally not recommend making this salad for an enormous crowd since you have to core each sprout and separate all the leaves for blanching.  But I have it pretty well down to 30 seconds a sprout, with 2 pounds taking me about 20 minutes.  My sisters, my daughters and I can likely tackle 10 pounds of sprouts at the kitchen table and catch up on all the gossip.  We’ll do all the prep the day before, as well as make the vinaigrette and I’ll dress the salad just before serving on Christmas Eve.

So it looks like I’m starting a new tradition, which is that you can bring a salad if you want, especially if you are trying to get your family to eat more healthfully.  But for the record, I am absolutely, positively, most definitely NOT pregnant!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Brussels Sprout Leaf Salad
Serves: 8
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, washed, cored and leaves separated (discard the core)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped shallot or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (do not omit this – it makes the salad!)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain or Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 Tablespoons dried cherries or cranberries
  • 6 Tablespoons whole raw almonds, toasted and chopped or sliced
  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. In a large pot of salted (about 1 Tablespoon kosher salt) boiling water, blanch the brussels sprout leaves just until they are a vibrant green and barely tender (less than 2 minutes). Drain and immediately submerge in the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and dry well. You can do this in a salad spinner.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, lemon zest and juice, honey, mustard, sea salt and pepper. Continue whisking while slowly drizzling in the olive oil until the oil is emulsified or put everything in a screw-top jar and shake vigorously.
  3. In a large serving bowl, toss the Brussels sprout leaves, dried cherries, almonds and just enough vinaigrette to lightly moisten. Taste for seasoning and serve.
Hazelnuts or pecans can be substituted for the almonds.
Dried blueberries can be substituted for the dried cherries, so can pomegranate seeds.
Diced, roasted beets are a complementary addition.
Shaved Manchego cheese can be added, as done in the original.