Lemony Brussels sprouts salad is the fresh and crunchy dish your winter meal needs. Plus, you only need 3 ingredients to make it!
A Most Excellent Winter Salad Option
Salad. And February. They don’t always go together.
But they can, so long as it’s the right salad. For example, one that is crunchy, tangy, and, perhaps, a bit outside of the norm (without being weird and complicated; February does not need weird and complicated).
A crispy, crunchy Brussels sprouts salad, together with a bright, lemon dressing, is just what your weary winter palate needs!
The Beauty of Brussels Sprouts
Perhaps this heading made you laugh out load. Or guffaw. If most of your experiences with Brussels sprouts have involved grayish-green globes, boiled to maximal mushiness, it’s justified.
But here me out. Overcooked Brussels sprouts are criminal. Not (just) because of the smell, taste and texture (although, all three can range from shady to deplorable, depending on the extent of the overcooking). Rather , it’s because Brussels sprouts have the potential for outright delectability.
That’s right. You read correctly. Delectable Brussels sprouts. When crisped in a cold bath, Brussels sprouts are crunchy, sweet. and uniquely delicious. Oh, and their beauty will add to yours. Brussels sprouts are loaded with vitamins A and C, two essential vitamins for a glowing complexion.
So, let’s get this Lemony Brussels Sprouts Salad made!
How to Make the Best Brussels Sprouts Salad
The key to making this Lemony Brussels Sprouts Salad–or any Brussels sprouts salad–perfect is in the preparation. The essential prep is simple and straightforward, but it does require some advance planning.
First, trim the ends off of the sprouts. Next, using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the sprouts. It does not need to be perfect. For example, my wonky slicing below. Use your fingers to spearate the shreds.
Soak the Brussels Sprouts in Ice Water
This next step is everything: soak the shredded sprouts in a big bowl of ice cold water. Let them chill out for at least an hour (in the refrigerator) or for up to 24 hours.
Soaking makes the spouts ultra-crispy and crunchy. Who doesn’t want ultra crispy and crunchy?
When you’re ready to mix the salad, drain the sporuts and spin dry in a salad spinner. Transfer the dried sprouts to a large bowl.
Lemon is the perfect foil to the sweet crunch of the sprouts, which is why I kept this salad so basic. Grate the zest from the lemon with a microplane (1 and 1/2 teaspoons) and then squeeze enough juice to measure 1 and 1/2 tablespoons.
In a small jar, shake the zest and juice with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil (or the oil of your choice) until blended, and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour over the sprouts and toss to combine. Perfect midwinter salad, done!
Can I Make The Salad Dressing Without Oil?
Yes! If you do not eat oil, you can still make this salad.
Here are my top two oil-free options:
Option 1: Avocado
Replace the oil with 3 tablespoons mashed, ripe avocado. I recommend mashing the avocado on a cutting board with a fork. Keep mashing until the avocado is completely smooth (or as close to it as possible). Stir the mashed avocado, lemon zest and lemon juice together in a small bowl until blended. Pour over the salad and toss to coat.
Option 2: Full-fat Canned Coconut Milk
Replace the oil with 2 tablespoons well-stirred, full-fat canned coconut milk.
Accessorize Your Salad, if Desired
The salad is perfect as is, but it can also be dressed up with all kinds of embellishments or adornments.
I’ll often add a sprinkle if my vegan Parmesan cheese (if you eat dairy, you could add regular Parmesan cheese). I’ve also added chopped toasted nuts or seeds, pomegranate arils, minced dried cranberries or cherries, and fresh herbs, all depending on my mood and the what’s going on with the rest of the meal. Make the salad your own!
Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the Brussels sprouts. Use your fingers to separate the shreds.
Place the shredded sprouts into a large bowl of ice water. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Drain the sprouts and place in a salad spinner. Spin the sprouts until they are completely dry. Transfer to a large bowl.
Using a microplane, finely grate 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of zest from the lemon. Squeeze enough juice from the lemon to measure 1 and 1/2 tablespoons.
Place the oil, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small jar. Cover and shake, vigorously, until combined. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serve!
Storage: Although best served immediately, the dressed salad will keep stay crisp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Oil-Free Options:(1) Avocado–Replace the oil with 3 tablespoons mashed, ripe avocado. I recommend mashing the avocado on a cutting board with a fork. Keep mashing until the avocado is completely smooth (or as close to it as possible). Stir the mashed avocado, lemon zest and lemon juice together in a small bowl until blended. Pour over the salad and toss to coat; (2) Full-fat Canned Coconut Milk–Replace the oil with 2 tablespoons well-stirred, full-fat canned coconut milk.
I love the idea of this salad. However, I am WFPBNO (whole food plant based no oil). Other than just using the lemon alone, do you have another option for the oil? Maybe a rice vinegar? or balsamic vinegar? with maybe a little maple syrup to reduce the tanginess? Thoughts?
Wednesday 4th of March 2020
Hi Donna! My number one alternative suggestion is avocado. Makes a great option in place of oil, delicious with the lemon, too. Second option: full fat coconut milk. Works really well, so long as you are ok with coconut . I hope these help, Donna! I'll add these options to the recipe.