Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Kale & Brussels sprout salad

July 12, 2015

On our first fridge-stocking shop back home, I noticed that the Brussels sprouts were looking particularly good, each one balled up firmly with a clean green sheen. I didn't buy them on the spot but I did go home and flip through some recipes, mulling over how to use them. Of the options I came up with, Michael picked a kale and Brussels sprout Caesar slaw with pine nut "parm" from The First Mess.

Once he got past the pretty photos and actually started with the prep, Michael voiced some doubts. The kale and sprouts stay raw? I was hesitant too - these cruciferous veges (the original recipe includes cabbage too!) can be bitter and even tough. There's not a lot of sweetness to counteract them here, either. Instead, there's a thick sunflower seed-based dressing with a pungency that really did remind me of anchovies - I put it down to some combination of those seeds, the tahini and the garlic. The dressing goes some way to softening the texture of the finely shredded kale and sprouts.

The other toppings are more accessible - chickpeas stained rust-red with smoked paprika and a bright, crumbly parmesan cheese imitation. Though it's mostly made of pine nuts, it's the sesame seeds and lemon zest that brought out the best in the salty sprinkle.

This winter salad served as a light dinner one night, and we deconstructed the leftovers over a few meals more, eating the kale and sprouts with some Kentucky fried tofu and using leftover dressing to marinate some grilled tofu. It's definitely one for folks who already eat and love their greens - novices should stick to springtime snow peas and asparagus!

Kale & Brussels sprout salad
(slightly adapted from a recipe on The First Mess)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon tamari
2 teaspoons tahini
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
salt & pepper
1/4 cup water

smoky chickpeas
1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon tamari
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
salt & pepper

parmesan sprinkle
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
salt & pepper

1 large bunch kale
500g Brussels sprouts 

Cover the sunflower seeds with water and soak them for at least 2 hours.

When you're about half an hour away from wanting to eat, get to work with the rest of the salad. Preheat an oven to 200°C. In a small-medium bowl, stir together all the smoky chickpea ingredients. Line a baking tray with paper and spread the chickpeas out evenly across it. Bake the chickpeas for 20-30 minutes depending on whether you want them tender or chewy.

While the chickpeas are baking, throw the parmesan sprinkle ingredients into a spice grinder and blend them until they're well-mixed and crumbly.

Drain the sunflower seeds and place them in a spince grinder or blender. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and blend until smooth.

Shred the kale leaves and the Brussels sprouts very finely. Place them all in  a large salad bowl. Toss through half of the dressing. Sprinkle over the chickpeas and parmesan sprinkle, either in the bowl or over individual portions, and serve the remaining dressing on the side.


  1. Sounds fab-- I have brussels sprouts that I bought with good intentions and haven't looked at them. I have all the ingredients so hopefully I can make it :)

    1. I hope you can too, Veganopoulous! Though I don't imagine it'll thrill the kids. ;-)

  2. The title made me laugh - sounds like every kid's nightmare but it actually sounds interesting - I love sprouts and kale but raw in winter makes me cringe

    1. Hi Johanna - I'm not a huge fan of raw in winter, either. I ended up working a lot of the leftovers into hot meals.