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Brussels sprouts, with their earthy, slightly nutty flavor, really shine in this fall salad. A sweet and tangy Maple Vinaigrette, plus sweet-tart apples, dried cranberries, and crunchy candied pecans balance out the slight bitterness of the sprouts. The layer of textures—crisp, crunchy, juicy, and chewy—make this salad a delightful eating experience.
Why You’ll Love This Dish
Even if you think you don’t love brussels sprouts, I’m pretty sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this salad. Sweet, crunchy candied pecans, tart and chewy dried cranberries, crisp apples, and a luscious maple vinaigrette bring out the best in these humble greens. Beyond the flavors, this dish is quick to put together, making it a great choice for holiday meals like Thanksgiving dinner, weeknight meals, or last-minute gatherings.
This salad proves that brussels sprouts are approachable—I dare say, downright appealing. It’s a dish that is well-balanced and flat-out delicious. So next time you see Brussels sprouts at the grocery store, give them a second look—you might just find your new favorite salad.
Ingredients You Need
This brussels sprouts salad recipe only uses 8 ingredients in addition to salt and pepper. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what you’ll need to bring this recipe to life.
- Brussels sprouts: Look for fresh, vibrant green sprouts. You can also buy them pre-shredded to save time.
- Red onion: Adds a sharpness that complements the other ingredients. Shallots could work as a milder substitute.
- Candied pecans: For crunch and a touch of sweetness. Walnuts can also be used.
- Dried Cranberries: A tart counterpart to the sweeter elements. Dried cherries are a good alternative.
- Apple: My favorite apple to use in this salad is honey crisp because it is crisp and has the perfect sweet-tart flavor, but you can use any crisp, flavorful apple you like. Gala apples and fuji apples are also good choices.
- Bacon: You can leave this out if you’re going vegetarian, but it adds a wonderful salty, smoky, crisp accent.
- Maple syrup: Make sure you’re using real maple syrup for the best flavor.
- Olive oil: You can use any good quality oil, like extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil.
- Lemon juice: This is the acid in the dressing. It balances the sweetness of the maple syrup.
How to Make It
Getting this brussels sprouts salad recipe just right is easy with a bit of preparation. Follow these simple steps to assemble and dress it to perfection.
- Use a food processor or a sharp knife to shred the brussels sprouts.
- Toss the sprouts with the red onion, candied pecans, dried cranberries, apple slices, and chopped bacon.
- In a mason jar, combine the maple syrup, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake to mix the vinaigrette well. Shake until the dressing emulsifies.
- Just before serving, drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat the salad ingredients.
What to Serve With It
This salad works well in many settings. It’s robust enough to stand alone as light meal, especially if you add a bit of cheese or some protein like grilled chicken. It’s also perfect to pair with a hearty meal roasted chicken or grilled steak.
I love to serve this salad for Thanksgiving dinner because it’s so full of fall flavors. It’s a perfect side to rich dishes like Potatoes au Gratin, Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole, Green Bean and Stuffing Casserole or a traditional stuffing recipe. And of course, it’s a perfect refresher with Roast Turkey or Instant Pot Ham. For an elegant twist, serve it with Instant Pot Duck Confit.
Brussel Sprout Salad with Maple Dressing
- For the salad
- 1 pound whole brussels sprouts shredded or finely chopped
- ¼ red onion finely diced
- 1/3 cup candied pecans
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1 honeycrisp apple thinly sliced or chopped
- 4 slices cooked bacon crumbled
- For the dressing
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Use a sharp knife to thinly slice the sprouts or use a food processor fitted with the S blade and pulse to chop the sprouts into small pieces.
- Add the shredded brussels sprouts, red onion, pecans, cranberries, apples, and crumbled bacon to a large bowl.
- In a mason jar, combine the maple syrup, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and shake to combine well and emulsify.
- Just before serving, add the dressing to the salad and toss to combine, starting with half of the dressing and adding more if needed.
- You can add goat cheese, feta cheese, or freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the salad if you like.
- You can substitute another fruit for the apples. Try pears in the fall or in the summer, try using a stone fruit like apricots, peaches, or nectarines.