This wonderful mixture is out of this world! The combination of the balsamic vinegar dressing on the cool and crisp brussels sprouts leave your tastebuds wanting more! Add a bit of bacon, dried cranberries and fresh parmesan cheese and you have one incredible salad that pairs perfectly with so many dishes! This one is addicting!
If you follow my food blog, you know I participate in a lunch coop at my office. It’s a fun little group of about 8 of us and we all pair up and cook once a month. This past month, we added two new members to our group and I’m so excited to have them and see what fabulous dishes they bring to the table! One of the guys who joined recently had to cook this past week. He was paired with me, so we decided to do a BBQ theme since it’s so hot outside. I decided to make my St. Louis Style Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs and Tyler decided he would bring in a brussels sprout salad that he was inspired by at a local restaurant. I’ll be honest…I’ve never been a huge fan of brussels sprouts. When I was growing up, everyone boiled them and dipped them in vinegar. Now seriously…who likes that? The only reason adults ate the brussel sprouts that way is because they wanted the nutritional value of the brussels sprouts and they buried the taste with vinegar. But it was horrible!
Because I was curious, I asked Tyler to share some of the ingredients in this salad and when he did, I thought this version of brussels sprouts would be fabulous! Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, bacon bits, Parmesan cheese…YUM! And that’s not even touching the salad dressing ingredients!
So this is a cold salad and with any good cold salad comes a homemade dressing made from scratch. I fell in love with this homemade dressing for this particular salad because it calls for balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Two of my favorite things in the world! I love making dished with balsamic vinegar bases because there is a store near my house where I can buy all sorts of different flavored balsamic vinegars. For this recipe, using a normal store bought balsamic vinegar will work perfect, but I stepped this one up a bit and used a cherry almond flavored balsamic vinegar in my dressing and let me tell you…it is so amazing!
I’ll go ahead and let you in on a little key secret to this recipe. You are only going to use the leaves of the brussels sprouts. You can either discard the hearts or save them for a different recipe. This recipe is fast to make because all you do is blanch the brussels sprouts for about 20 seconds and soak them in an ice bath to perk their leaves back up. This process makes them crunchy! OMGoodness…I’m so glad brussels sprouts are so popular right now! It’s really encouraged me to venture out and try new recipes that include brussels sprouts!
Like I said earlier, this salad is so easy to make and is full of flavor. The nutritional value of this dish is fantastic! Brussels sprouts help lower cholesterol and help with healthy thyroid function. On top of that, brussels sprouts really help aid in digestion. The olive oil in this dressing recipe is the healthy fat that your body needs. This recipe is so good for you! Eat it up!
I’ve made this dish three times now and tonight, I had 2 full servings. But to be honest, I could eat the entire bowl with no problem. It’s THAT good! Every bites leaves you wanting more. Who would have ever thought I would like to eat cold brussels sprouts! Amazing!
Ok, back to the lunch coop…it was so good that day. Tyler also made our group dessert. He made my Flourless Chocolate Torte and it finished off this meal so perfectly! Needless to say, Tyler did an above and beyond job on this lunch and now I have a new favorite salad to make at home! If he ever decides to stop being an engineer, he’d make a fabulous chef!
That’s the whole reason we do the lunch coop at the office….to share recipes that are worth repeating and this one is so worth repeating. So yep – I’m sharing it with you! This one is Gluten Free and I guarantee, you will love it! Happy eats on this one!
- 1 bag Brussel Sprouts
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 4 Tablespoons cup bacon bits you can use turkey bacon or pork bacon
- 4 Tablespoons fresh shaves Parmesan Cheese
- Mix all ingredients for the salad dressing and set aside.
- Cut the stems off the brussels sprouts and peel off the outer layer of leaves. Each sprout you can usually cut the stem off, peel the outer leaves off, then cut another section of the stem off and peel another couple of layers off. You can save the brussels sprout hearts for other uses.
- Blanch the brussels sprout leaves; in a medium saucepan bring salted water to boil. Make an ice bath with ice and drinking water in a mixing bowl and set aside.
- In small batches, boil the leaves for 20-30 seconds, until the color of the leaves brighten but the leaves are still crisp.
- Immediately skim out and put in the ice bath. Once the leaves have cooled you can remove them to a salad spinner to get rid of the excess water.
- Dice the bacon into bits and then cook in as sauté pan until crispy to make your own bacon bits. Tyler added a little bit of the minced fresh garlic and some parsley while frying the bacon bits. Skim the bits out of the pan and set aside to drain.
- Mix the brussel sprouts leaves, bacon, and dried cranberries before serving.
- Use a vegetable peeler to shave parmesan cheese on to the top of the salad before presenting.
- Slowly pour on the salad dressing and toss to mix. Store any leftover salad in the refrigerator.
- Recipe from Tyler Bain, Inspired By: White Chocolate Grille