Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Almonds & Pomegranate
Updated: Jan 3, 2021
Shredded raw Brussels sprouts are the hearty base in this delicious salad that’s studded with toasted almonds, tart apples, warm roasted Brussels sprouts, and bright pomegranate seeds, and drizzled with a tangy lemon-shallot dressing.
2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts
Juice from 2 medium-sized lemons
1 large shallot
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1 small Granny Smith apple, chopped
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Trim the sprouts, cutting 1/4-inch off the bottom. Wash them in cold water.
Cut 1 pound of the sprouts into quarters. Thinly slice half of the shallot. Combine the sprouts and shallot with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Toss to coat and roast until the sprouts are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, about 10 – 20 minutes.
While those sprouts are roasting, shred the other ½ of the sprouts thinly, using a food processor fitted with the slicing blade, or use a knife to halve them through the core, then thinly slice them. Toss the shredded sprouts with the juice of 1 lemon and ¼ teaspoon salt. Place in salad serving bowl. Add the chopped apple, toasted almonds, and pomegranate seeds.
To make the dressing, finely chop the other half of the shallot and mix with the juice of 1 lemon, sherry vinegar, mustard, honey, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and some fresh ground black pepper. Whisk in 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Drizzle the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss.
Place the hot sprouts on top of the salad and serve.
Recipes like this are what healthy eating is all about. It is full of contrasting textures and temperatures from the raw chopped and warm roasted Brussels, the pop of the pomegranate seeds, the bright crisp apple, and the toasty crunch of the almonds. It’s vibrant and colorful, covered in a sweet and tangy lemon-shallot vinaigrette. The salad is vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
Vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, but not all veggies pack the same nutritional punch. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts tend to stand out because they are linked to several health benefits — most notably for their powerful anticancer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Also, Brussels sprouts are high in fiber and are good sources of beta-carotene, B vitamins, vitamins C, E, and K, and calcium.
Almonds are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. They lower bad LDL cholesterol and are packed with vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium, which helps oxygen and nutrients flow more freely through your blood. Almonds contain calcium and are loaded with phosphorus to keep your bones and teeth healthy and strong. While almonds are nutrient-dense, they are also a calorie-dense food, but research does not support a link between eating nuts and weight gain. In fact, they have been associated with less weight gain and a lower risk of obesity, possibly because the fat and fiber content help to improve feelings of satisfaction and fullness. Fun fact about almonds: Even though we think of almonds as a nut, they are technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree. Like its cousins, the peach, cherry, and apricot trees, the almond tree bears fruits with stone-like seeds (or pits). The seed of the almond fruit is what we call the almond nut.
Pomegranates fall into the category of intimidating, complicated fruits and are often neglected due to the extra effort needed to enjoy the tasty little seeds inside. But trust me, with the right technique, the effort is minimal and completely worth it. If you aren’t eating this delicious fruit, you are missing out on tons of wonderful health benefits. Pomegranates are a rich source of several vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that fight cancer and heart disease as well as lower blood pressure and cholesterol. They contain vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, and have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
So, what is the best technique to extract the little seeds? First, wash the pomegranate and slice it in half horizontally. Place the pomegranate in your hand, cut side down, over a medium-sized bowl in your sink. With a wooden spoon, firmly strike the top surface of the pomegranate. Continue to hit the fruit until all of the seeds have fallen out and repeat with the other half. If little bits of white membrane get mixed in with the seeds, just pick them out and throw them away.
There are a few short-cuts that you can take to make this recipe even easier. Many stores sell almonds already chopped and roasted. You can also buy packaged, ready-to-eat pomegranate seeds. Packaged, pre-shredded, or shaved, Brussels sprouts are usually available too, however, be sure to inspect the sprouts to make sure they are fresh and not discolored. If you do not have sherry vinegar, you can replace it with red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Pomegranate seeds can be replaced with dried cranberries. My preference is for a tart Granny Smith apple in this recipe, but any other kind of apple, or even a pear, would likely be delicious.
Adapted from Susan Spungen’s Roasted and Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad in the NY Times