I associate pasta salad with summer cookouts and Brussels sprout salad with fall dinners. There is something about crunchy Brussels sprouts, sweet cranberries and spicy pecans that makes my mouth water. Oh and it doesn't hurt that there is a generous amount of bacon to give the salad a salty crunch! Bacon is never a bad idea, ever :)
I use this salad as a side dish. It's got a strong flavor so a little goes a long way! To make sure your Brussels sprouts are perfectly chopped, cut off the bottom stem, discard the stem and throw the sprouts into a food processor. A few seconds later and bam! You have a perfectly chopped base for the salad.
Another tip is to make sure you don't burn the pecans. Cook them in a skillet just until you smell warm spices and nuts then remove from the heat. Burnt pecans are extremely bitter!
As a variation on this recipe, you could also slice the Brussels sprouts in half and roast them. Then toss with the other ingredients!
Bacon and Spiced Pecan Brussels Sprout Salad
Makes 6 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
- Pinch of dried coriander
- 1.5 pounds Brussels sprouts rinsed, tough outer leaves pulled away
- 2/3 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
- 3 or 4 slices bacon cooked and chopped
- 2 green onion sprigs thinly sliced
- Salted pepper to taste
Cranberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cranberry juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the pecans: In a small skillet, add oil, pecans and spices. Heat over medium-low heat until you smell warm spices and pecans are coated with the spices. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the salad: Chop the stem end off of the Brussels sprouts and discard the stems. Place Brussels sprouts in a food processor. Pulse until they are broken down into tiny pieces. Place processed Brussels sprouts, cranberries, pecans, bacon, and onion in a large bowl.
For the dressing: Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk until a smooth thick dressing forms.
To assemble: Add dressing to bowl with salad ingredients. Toss to combine and serve. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days!