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a diamond in the roughage

Recipe: shredded brussels sprouts salad

The crush of self-imposed holiday-related deadlines looms large at Butter headquarters. We don’t even celebrate anything in particular and I’ve got a little bit of the freak out going on. So I needed something easy and full of crunchy vegetables to balance the ungodly amount of baked goods I’m cranking out of my kitchen.


brussels sprouts, walnuts, pecorino, lemon, salt, pepper, mustard, olive oil



The first time I had Brussels sprouts was in the NASA cafeteria during a summer internship. I generally loved vegetables as a kid because my mom didn’t cook them to death, but served them bright, fresh, and full of flavor and nutrients. I popped a sprout into my mouth and *squish*. It didn’t taste bad, it tasted sad. Fast forward a decade to my reintroduction to the oft-maligned Brussels sprouts – that time roasted – and we’ve been enjoying a love affair ever since.

peel any discolored or blemished outer leaves

slice thin by hand, by mandoline, or by food processor (slicing or shredding blade)

separate the slices in a large bowl



About a year ago, I started seeing posts for shredded Brussels sprouts salads making the rounds. I made a note to myself to try it out and well, now you see how long it takes me to get around to some things. Actually, this is rather quick compared to all of the toddlers and young children to whom I still owe baby quilts.

add toasted walnuts and crumbled pecorino

i like to toss it so the cheese doesn’t soak up all of the dressing

mixing the dressing



If you haven’t tried making your own salad dressing, I implore you to give it a go. It’s so easy and so so so much better than store-bought dressings. Plus, you can make it the way you like it! I went with mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil. Simple as that. Whisk it or shake it up in a (closed) jar and pour over the salad.

pour the dressing over the salad

season with salt and pepper, then toss



This salad has a more delicate bite to it than cabbage (think of them as little cabbages) and I am just as hooked on the texture of it as I am hooked on the flavor. It’s not a heavy salad, but it isn’t watery the way leafy summer salads might be. Perfectly suited for these colder months, it pairs well with heavier autumn or winter meals and it’s also fantastic on its own. Also, if you actually have leftovers, they keep well in the refrigerator without turning to limp mush like lettuce does. I love getting fresh greens any time I can, and this lovely salad is now in normal rotation around here.

dish it up

getting my green on



Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad
[print recipe]
from A Thought for Food

2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
1 cup (3 1/2 oz.) walnuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup Pecorino, grated or crumbled
1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsps whole-grain mustard
1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Trim off any old outer leaves and woody stem ends from the Brussels sprouts. To shred the sprouts you can 1) run the sprouts through a food processor fitted with the thin slice or shredding disc 2) slice them using a mandoline or 3) carefully slice the sprouts thin by hand with a knife. Place the shredded sprouts in a large bowl. Crumble the walnuts by hand into the bowl of shredded Brussels sprouts. Add the Pecorino cheese to the bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the mustard with the lemon juice (use more if you prefer a stronger, more acidic dressing). While whisking the mustard and lemon juice together, pour a thin, steady drizzle of the olive oil into the bowl until the dressing reaches the desired taste and consistency. Pour the dressing over the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the salad. Serves 6-8.

16 nibbles at “a diamond in the roughage”

  1. Laurel says:

    What a coincidence! I just signed up to bring a brussel sprout salad to the holiday potluck :) I have been seeing recipies everywhere, and I started craving it, so I figured the potluck was a good place to try it out. You should see the look on most Scot’s faces when I say I am making a salad out of them. The reaction is half horrified and half curious. This is definitely the land of cook-your-veggies-beyond-recognition. Maybe I can convert a few people into sprout lovers!

  2. Kristin says:

    Mmmmmm….that looks so good! Have had them in a kale salad that was delicious (helped by a maple tahini dressing). I think I am passive-aggressively downsizing our holidays, & it feels good.

  3. Brian @ A Thought For Food says:

    Hey there! Thanks so much for the shout out! So glad you liked it so much to adapt it. I am going to have to do pecorino because that sounds marvelous.

  4. Janet says:

    After having a version of this at a potluck this summer, I made it for Thanksgiving this year, to rave reviews. The shaved little sprouts stand up to the dressing, and the nuts and cheese give it some needed salt. I added some dried cranberries and herbs for a little more color. Delish!

  5. Ali says:

    It seems that I am on a never ending quest to get my husband and kids (5 & 4) to enjoy Brussels sprouts. So far the only way they tolerate them is shredded and fried with bacon- in bacon grease of course. This salad looks like a much healthier alternative. I’m excited to give it a try.

  6. Cindi says:

    This looks so delish! I’ve never thought of shredding brussel sprouts. But fully intend to now! :)

  7. Jackie says:

    Love brussel sprout salad! May I suggest next time replacing your lemon juice with some champagne vinegar?? There’s something about champagne vinegar that goes soooo well with this type of slaw. :)

  8. ursula says:

    yum!

  9. Shut Up & Cook | The Attainable Gourmet says:

    This looks fabulous. You are so right that this time of year some greens and crunch that are cookies and candy are very welcomed. Looking forward to trying this!

  10. Nan says:

    Yum! Loved the “little cabbages” (and most veggies) since I was a child. Probably because, like your mother, mine did not cook them to death. Thanks Mom! Thanks Jen! I’m giving this one a try with the bag of sprouts in my fridge.

  11. Kathy Swanson says:

    Hum, we love cabbage slaw so I bet we will like this too. Thanks Jen!

  12. Laura Dembowski says:

    Raw Brussels sprouts salads are one of my favorite side dishes. I most often make slaw out of them and dress them with a vinegar and mustard dressing. It is so yummy and does keep incredibly well. Of course, I also love the sprouts roasted with curry powder or balsamic vinegar or simply steamed. I buy whole stalks of them (plentiful at Trader Joe’s in my area right now) and they are of the best quality.

  13. jenyu says:

    Laurel – oh, I hope you converted them! I love this salad :)

    Kristin – good for you, lady! xo

    Brian – I think you could conceivably do anything with this salad and it would be super. Thanks for the inspiration, sweetie!!

    Janet – mmm, I like your additions. I was thinking of cranberries too, but figured I’d see how it was without the sweet. I think it’s a really versatile salad to play around with!

    Ali – :)

    Cindi – yay!

    Jackie – oooh, that sounds lovely too. Thanks for the tip!

    ursula – I hope you guys give it a try :)

    Shut Up & Cook – absolutely.

    Nan – Moms are really awesome, aren’t they? Yay for moms who don’t kill vegetables :)

    Kathy – yes, let me know how you and John like it! xo

    Laura – never thought to use curry powder, sounds lovely! I also like the whole stalks too, but we only get them here occasionally.

  14. Miss B says:

    Just made this, and I really like it. Very simple. Took less than 10 minutes to make. I used comte cheese and spicy brown mustard since that’s what I had on hand. Nice little salad that will become a regular around my table.

  15. Danielle says:

    I made this when we had hubby’s family over to the house for dinner on Sunday (total: 5 adults, 2 kids under 5). I doubled it. You weren’t kidding when you said it kept well! I just finished the last bit for lunch today. Still fantastically crunchy. Thank you for sharing. I’ll be making it again.

  16. Andra Kisler says:

    This was the most delicious, absolutely perfect addition to my Christmas dinner. I added pomegranate seeds for a bit of holiday color and some slivers of “your” preserved lemons. Oh yum. Thank you for helping my guests eat (and rave about!) their vegetables!

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