Don’t be discouraged by the title of this post, there’s bacon in this salad!
Whether you’re eating healthy or simply craving a delicious salad, this recipe is perfect. For a salad with so many dimensions – between the bacon, toasted almonds & the vinaigrette – it’s so simple to make. When I found this recipe online, the thought of raw Brussels sprouts seemed a bit discouraging, but the textures and flavors come together wonderfully! Plus, it’s healthy, hearty, and cleansing. Definitely what we need after Thanksgiving and before Christmas.
If you’re vegetarian or prefer not to add the bacon, this salad is still delicious without it. Simply disregard any mention of bacon while following the recipe.
- Avoid the mandolin. When a recipe calls for shaved Brussels sprouts (or any shaved veggie), I am tempted to use a mandolin to achieve a picture-perfect cut. But then I hear my mother’s voice in my head telling me I’ll cut myself with a mandolin & always talk myself out of it. To get the sprouts super thin without the mandolin, I cut them in half, turn them on their flat side, & slice thinly and CAREFULLY. You’ll find that even if your knife-cuts aren’t perfect, the veggies will taste just as good. Another option is to splurge & purchase the sprouts already shredded, which is available in most super markets.
- Massage the kale. I know this seems like a strange concept but trust me this will make a huge difference. It’s not only unpleasant to eat ‘non-massaged’ kale but it’s also harder to digest. Taking a few extra minutes to squeeze/rub the cut kale between your hands will make it easier to digest and give it a much softer texture.
- Grate your shallot. The vinaigrette in this recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of finely ‘minced’ shallot. I don’t love to bite into pieces of raw shallot or onion, so I grate it into a paste-like texture using a cheese grater or microplane. This gives you that delicious onion/garlic taste without biting into a harsh chunk of shallot. This tip also works for recipes that call for minced onion or garlic.
- 4 cups sliced kale
- 4 cups shredded Brussels sprouts
- 4 slices bacon (optional)
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/4 cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
- For the Dressing -
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 small shallot, grated with a cheese grater
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If using bacon, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lay the bacon on a baking sheet. Once the oven is preheated, cook the bacon until crisp, about 15 minutes or longer if you like it very crispy. Remove and let cool. Set aside.
- Pull the kale leaves from the stems and thinly slice. Using your hands, massage the kale to begin to break-down the texture and make it easier to digest (and tastier). Add kale to a large bowl.
- If using whole Brussels sprouts, clean them by rinsing, removing the bruised outer leaves, and cutting off the bottom of the stem. Next, cut in half then slice as thinly and carefully as possible, using a very sharp knife. Add to the kale. If you've purchased the sprouts already shredded, simply add to the kale.
- Toast the sliced almonds in a small pan until fragrant and slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on these, they can burn quickly. Remove from the pan and add to the kale & Brussels. If using, roughly chop the crisp bacon and add to the salad. Add the grated Pecorino Romano cheese atop the salad. Set aside.
- For the Dressing - Add the lemon juice, mustard, shallot, EVOO, salt and pepper to a bowl. Whisk together until well combined.
- Pour dressing over the salad and toss together using tongs.