Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
Published Dec 21, 2020, Updated Dec 22, 2023
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This kale and Brussels sprout salad is filled with shredded kale and sprouts, cranberries, marinated onions, almonds and pecorino cheese. It’s sure to be a family favorite!
If you’re in need of an extra side dish or some green veggies on your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner menu, I’ve got you covered! This shredded kale and Brussels sprout salad is SO good. It might be my new favorite salad!
I know most people could care less about salad when there’s turkey, gravy, potatoes and stuffing to be had, but this isn’t your average salad recipe. It’s jazzed up with dried cranberries, marinated onions, toasted almonds and a good amount of pecorino cheese. Trust me, you’ll want to make room on your plate for it. And if you’re like me, you’ll probably go back for seconds because it’s that good!
The base of the salad (shredded kale and Brussels sprouts) is massaged with lemon juice so the hearty greens become tender and palatable. The sprouts still retain a bit of raw veggie crunch, which I like. The cranberries add a nice pop of color and a hint of sweetness while the marinated garlic and onions bring a sharp, almost spicy flavor to the salad. The grated pecorino is pretty much invisible once it’s mixed in, but it adds a salty, creaminess that steps this salad up from being an everyday salad to something you can serve for a holiday meal.
I love the bright green color with the specks of red and brown. So pretty!
Ingredients & Substitutions:
- Lacinato kale – I prefer Lacinato kale (also known as Dinosaur kale, Black kale or Tuscan Kale) for this salad, but you can use curly kale if that’s all you can find.
- Brussels sprouts
- yellow onion
- lemon juice
- dried cranberries – I love the tartness the dried cranberries add to this salad, but other dried fruits like dried cherries, dates or figs will work too.
- Pecorino Romano cheese – fresh Parmesan will work too or skip the cheese or use dairy-free cheese to make this salad vegan.
- almonds – I love the nuttiness and crunch that the toasted almonds add to this salad, but I bet toasted pecans or walnuts would also be delicious. If you need this salad to be nut-free, feel free to skip the nuts or swap them with sunflower seeds or pepitas.
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- seasonings and spices – sea salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and nutmeg.
How to Make a Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
Toast your almonds – Start by toasting your almonds on a baking sheet. Bake at 350ºF for 5 minutes and then stir. Bake for 3-4 minutes longer or until the almonds are golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Mix dressing ingredients – While the almonds are toasting, toss together the ingredients for the dressing by muddling together the minced garlic with sea salt and black pepper using a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle use the back of a spoon in a bowl! Place the muddled garlic and spices into a mason jar with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and thinly sliced onion. Shake to combine and set aside to marinate.
Shred Brussels sprouts and kale – In a food processor fitted with a slicing blade, shred the Brussels sprouts first and then the kale. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop the kale and Brussels sprouts by hand. Just be sure to slice them very thin. Once shredded, place the Brussels sprouts and kale in a large bowl.
Mix – Pour the lemon juice over the kale and Brussels sprout mixture, sprinkle on a little sea salt and massage with clean hands. Once the kale mixture is massaged, add in the cranberries, red pepper flakes and nutmeg to the bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad mixture and give it a good stir. Add the cheese and stir again. Top with toasted almonds and enjoy right away or let sit a bit to marinate before serving.
What to Pair With This Salad
This salad is the perfect side dish for a holiday dinner with turkey, ham or even my lentil loaf. It would also be a great vegetarian side option for a weeknight meal or you could double the recipe and bring it to a cookout or potluck. You could also turn this salad into a meal-sized salad by adding some protein. It’d be delicious topped with chickpeas, tempeh, tofu or my apple cider vinegar chicken.
Storage and Make Ahead Tips
This salad will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. To make the salad in advance, you can prepare it fully and keep it in the fridge up to 24 hours. I’ve found that it keeps well, even with dressing. That said, for ultimate freshness it’s probably best to prep the almonds, shredded kale/sprouts and the dressing and keep them in separate airtight containers. Store the kale and sprouts and the dressing in the fridge and the almonds at room temp. You can do this prep work up to 24 hours in advance.
More Brussels Sprout Recipes:
- Apple Cider Vinegar Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Brussels Sprout Chopped Salad
- Date Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Chicken with Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts
- Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts on the Stalk
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
More Kale Salads:
- Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash
- Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad
- Garlicky Kale Salad
- Quinoa Salad with Kale
- Massaged Kale Salad (with Avocado)
- Easy Kale Salad
Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
- 1 yellow onion, super thinly sliced
- 1 large bunch of Lacinato kale, washed and de-stemmed
- 1 lb brussels sprouts
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- pinch of nutmeg
- 3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, fresh Parmesan will work too
- 1/4 cup almonds, sliced or chopped
- Roast the almonds: Preheat oven to 350°F. Add almonds to a baking sheet and place in oven to toast. Stir almonds after 5 minutes. Allow to toast about 3-4 minutes longer or until the almonds are golden. Remove from oven and allow almonds to cool.
- Make the dressing: Meanwhile, toss together the ingredients for the dressing by muddling together the minced garlic with sea salt and black pepper using a mortar and pestle. Place muddled garlic and spices into a mason jar with olive oil, balsamic and thinly sliced onion. Shake to combine and let marinate.
- Shred kale and sprouts: In a food processor fitted with a slicing blade, shred the Brussels sprout. Next, shred the kale. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop the kale and Brussels sprout by hand. Just make sure to slice them very thin.) Place in a large bowl.
- Massage kale and sprouts: Pour the lemon juice over the kale and Brussels sprout mixture, sprinkle on a little sea salt and massage with clean hands. Once the kale mixture is massaged, add cranberries, red pepper flakes and nutmeg to the bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad mixture and give it a good stir. Add cheese and stir again. Top with toasted almonds.
- Serve: Enjoy right away or let sit for a bit in the fridge to marinate before serving.
- Storage: This salad can be made one day in advance. It keeps well, even with dressing. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- Inspired and adapted from Bon Appétit.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.