This kale Brussels sprout salad is guaranteed to be your new favorite salad for the fall and winter months! It's irresistibly delicious yet easy enough to make for both weeknight dinner and the holidays.
Kale and Brussels sprouts might not sound like the most exciting ingredients for a salad, but trust me, this salad will transform your thinking!
Once kale is massaged, it takes on a whole new persona, going from rough and tough to being soft, easy to chew, and infused with delicious flavors from the balsamic dressing. Shredded Brussels sprouts add a crunchy texture to the salad. Then you've got the apples, dried cherries, and pecans which offer even more fun textures plus sweetness. The parmesan cheese is the perfect finisher, offering a salty nutty taste that really makes this salad stand out.
You'll find yourself making this salad over and over again - at least, that's what I've been doing!
As with most of my recipes, there aren't a ton of ingredients in this kale salad, hopefully making it easier for you to make! In fact, there are only 10 ingredients and most of them are pantry staples:
- Brussels sprouts
- Dried cherries
- Parmesan cheese
- Balsamic Vinaigrette (shallot, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt)
How to make the kale Brussels sprout salad
- Make the balsamic vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine minced shallot and balsamic vinegar. Let sit for ~10 minutes to allow the shallot to macerate. Stir in olive oil and salt, and mix well to combine.
- Prep the salad ingredients. Remove stems from kale and chop. Trim off the ends of the Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Shred Brussels sprouts in food processor. Core and chop apple. Chop pecans and shred parmesan cheese.
- Massage the kale. Place kale in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Rub the dressing into the kale with your hands. Do this for a few minutes until the kale starts to get softer and darker.
- Assemble the salad. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl: Brussels sprouts, apples, pecans, dried cherries, and parmesan cheese. Toss with the dressing.
You can store this salad for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. For optimal freshness, don't dress the salad if you know you'll be storing it. Store the dressing in a separate container and add when you're ready to eat.
- To save time: Buy pre-chopped kale and pre-shaved or pre-shredded Brussels sprouts. I still recommend chopping these even further just to make them easier to eat, but it will still save you a ton of time.
- Allow the shallots to macerate in the vinegar. Soaking the shallot in vinegar for 10-15 minutes helps soften the harshness of the shallot. Meanwhile, you can prep your salad ingredients.
- Use freshly shredded parmesan cheese instead of the pre-shredded variety. It will taste much more robust.
- If you have time: Let the salad sit in the dressing for at least 30 minutes. This will allow all the flavors to infuse into the salad and make it burst with flavor when you eat it.
Variations and substitutions
This recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free, but I've added other variations so that you can make it work for you!
- Make it dairy-free: Omit parmesan cheese to make this a dairy-free salad.
- Make it vegan: Omit parmesan cheese.
- Add a protein source: To make this dish more filling, add your favorite protein source. Grilled chicken or shrimp would go well in this recipe.
- Change up the veggies: Feel free to add in whatever veggies sound good to you. Bell peppers, green onions, and cucumbers would be especially good in this salad.
What to serve with kale Brussels sprout salad
This is a hearty salad, but I still wouldn't consider it a full meal. I recommend serving it with some protein and carb sources so that you feel full and satisfied. I think it would go particularly well served with lemon garlic parmesan shrimp pasta or spaghetti squash shrimp scampi.
If you made this recipe, I’d love to see your creation! Don’t forget to snap a picture and tag me @thebalancedbite on Instagram. Follow along on Pinterest and Facebook for more healthy & tasty recipes!
More healthy fall and winter salad recipes:
- Fall Harvest Kale & Butternut Squash Salad
- Butternut Squash Farro & Goat Cheese Salad
- Lemon Parmesan Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
- Spaghetti Squash Burrito Salad Bowls
Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt plus more if needed
- 6 cups chopped kale, stems removed
- 12 ounces Brussels sprouts
- 2 small apples, cored and chopped (about 2 cups)
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped
- 2 tablespoons dried cherries
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Make the balsamic vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine minced shallot, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Let sit for ~10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Shred Brussels sprouts: Trim off the ends of the Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Shred Brussels sprouts in food processor or finely chop with your knife.
- Massage the kale: Place the kale in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinaigrette. Rub the dressing into the kale with your hands for a few minutes until the kale starts to soften.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl: Brussels sprouts, apples, pecans, dried cherries, and parmesan cheese. Toss with the vinaigrette. Season with additional salt if needed. Serve and enjoy!
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