If your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier or eat more vegetables for 2017, try this delicious Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad!
Salads aren’t just a summer thing! These beautiful and delicate blends are good all year round. To keep up with the winter season choose vegetables such as beets, kale, and you guessed it, Brussels sprouts. These members of the cruciferous family are usually seen roasted or sautéed. So, why not have it shaved or shredded as a Brussels sprouts salad with a blend of cider vinaigrette and protein-packed quinoa?
While searching the internet for recipe inspiration, I mainly came across bacon and cheese as a topping. These are both delicious, but bacon was not an option for me. The sautéed shiitake mushrooms provide a meaty flavor and add the warm temperature to this salad. Toasted almonds give a nice crunch and nutty flavor to the mild Brussels sprouts leaves. If you prefer adding meat and/or dislike mushrooms, try pulled or roasted chicken in place of the mushrooms. Still just as good. The quinoa mixed in the recipe not only gives it a different texture, it also adds a protein boost to make this a balanced meal. This whole grain can be replaced with other fiber-rich winners like barley or beans if quinoa isn’t your favorite (or if like most of us, you are still learning how to pronounce it!).
Don’t forget about the dressing!
Besides a crunchy salad, my favorite way to eat these baby cabbages is roasted with a small drizzle of maple syrup and olive oil. From one of my favorite blogs, Serious Eats, I learned the basic ratio for salad dressing. Most culinary professionals recommend 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. The addition of cider vinegar gives this a sweet and seasonal taste. I had heard about this vinegar for a while and really wanted to finally try it out in a recipe. Besides being a great dressing for many foods, there are numerous health claims surrounding this little bottle of golden goodness. If you do not have this potentially beneficial ingredient in your kitchen, feel free to use red wine or balsamic vinegar to complete the vinaigrette for this brussles sprouts salad.
The many roles of Cider vinegar…
From banishing eczema to promoting weight loss, this vinegar seems like a superhero. For centuries, it has been used for numerous health remedies. Just recently, it has gained new fame for its claim to help you lose weight and lower cholesterol. To be clear, there is not enough evidence and further research is necessary.
The newest evidence out there, however, has shown its positive effects on regulating blood sugar levels. A CNN article written by Registered Dietitian, Cynthia Sass, just came out this week. She reported that subjects who drank a diluted mixture of vinegar and water at bedtime had lower glucose levels in the morning. Also mentioned, a different study found that consumption of this diluted mix paired with a starchy food item reduced their blood sugar levels compared to a placebo group. What’s most interesting, those with Pre-diabetes (a common condition in the U.S.) decreased their levels by 50%.
Another excellent article written by a dietitian for the Coloradoan also discusses these new health claims and states it best. No matter the claims, we must all caution the use due to its high acidity. This can cause side effects, such as throat irritation and increase in stomach acid. While further research is underway, use it in moderation. Some examples would be in a homemade stir fry sauce or as I did in this salad dressing.
Has roasting vegetables become too repetitive this winter? I highly recommend trying my new recipe for a Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad! Not only are the ingredients extremely versatile, this salad can be served as a main dish or side.
Now that the holidays are coming to an end, we are all focused on our New Year’s resolutions. No matter what you choose, take care of yourself! I hope these words by the great Maya Angelou finds you new meaning. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
This salad is great as a main dish with protein-rich quinoa, but can make an excellent side dish to meat, seafood, or pasta. If you prefer adding meat to this dish, choose a lean protein like chicken or turkey. Substitutes for quinoa can be brown rice, barley, or beans for added fiber and protein. However you choose, the brussel sprouts are the winner in this recipe packed with folate and Vitamins C & K.
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (yields 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa)
- 1 cup water for quinoa
- 1 lb Brussels Sprouts, shredded (cut sprouts in half then thinly slice crosswise), stems removed
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3-4 cups Mixed Greens, optional
- 1/4 cup raw almonds for toasting
- 4 oz sliced mushrooms, such as shiitake or oyster
- Optional toppings: shredded cheese, scallions, parsley
- 1/3 cup olive oil plus one tablespoon (three teaspoons) for sauteeing
- 2-3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 3 cloves minced garlic (2 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoons dijon mustard, optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If using uncooked quinoa or other grain, prepare as directed. For uncooked quinoa, bring water and quinoa to boil and simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside.
- While the quinoa cooks, prepare the dressing mixing all ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk. Adjust ingredients to your taste preference and set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss the sprouts and cranberries and set aside.
- Heat one teaspoon olive oil In a skillet or non-stick pan on medium high, toss almonds for up to 3 minutes until browning (toasted). Remove from pan and add to sprouts.
- Use remaining two teaspoons olive oil and sautee mushrooms on medium high heat. Stir frequently to cook evenly, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and toss the mushrooms in with the sprouts mix.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Add optional toppings if preferred.
The sauteed mushrooms and toasted almonds warm this salad. If you prefer sprouts to be warmed, simply toss at the end of heating the mushrooms and stir for up to 3 minutes to warm. The dijon mustard is optional, but acts as a great emulsifier for the dressing.
Kathryn Pfeffer-Scanlan MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and recent transplant to Boulder, CO. After working as an inpatient dietitian for almost five years in Boston, she is expanding her expertise in the health and wellness industry. Katie is passionate about cooking and food photography, sharing her culinary adventures on her food blog, One Hungry Bunny, and exploring her new Rocky Mountain surroundings. Follow Katie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.