This shredded Brussels sprouts and kale salad with maple-Dijon dressing is a fresh, make-ahead alternative to heavier holiday sides.
A side of Brussels sprouts are a classic at the holidays, and while they can be wonderful roasted in the oven or quickly sautéed in a pan, they also make for a pretty terrific salad.
If you’ve never tried Brussels sprouts raw, you’re in for a pleasant surprise because the bite-sized crucifers work just as well in salads as their bigger cousins, kale and cabbage. (Bonus, there’s no chance of overcooking them into a sad, mushy mess either this way.) It’s a fresh addition to any holiday menu and an easy dish to bring along if you’re a guest.
It turns out the keys to a good Brussels sprouts salad is the same as a good kale salad – slice them as thin as possible and give them a good rub down. A vigorous massage helps to soften the sprouts and make them tender while still retaining a bit of chewiness. (Letting the shredded sprouts sit around in the dressing for a bit also does wonders.)
I like to pair my shredded sprouts with ribbons of kale for a slaw-like salad that can stand up to the richest of holiday fare. (Long-leafed lacinato kale works the best here as it’s the most tender. There are chopped dates and pecans and a toasted sesame and maple dressing with a hint of spicy Dijon mustard. Each bite offers the perfect combination tastes and textures, a little sweet a little savory, a little crunchy, a little chewy.
It’s not easy finding a salad that can be dressed ahead of time without taking a hit, but this shredded brussels sprouts and kale salad actually improves as it sits, making it a good choice for all those long, leisurely meals. For a season defined by its excesses, this salad offers a most welcome freshness and crunch.
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