Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon

EntertainingQuick and EasyBrussels SproutsKalePecan

This hearty Brussels sprouts and kale salad is full of crunchy nuts and bacon, and tossed with a tangy dressing. Plus, several elements can be prepared ahead, making assembly a breeze for your holiday table or weekday lunch.

Photography Credit: Kalisa Marie Martin

Salad doesn’t always get the glory it’s due, but that’s not the case here. With toasted nuts, dried fruit, crispy bacon, and a sweet and tangy vinaigrette, this salad can stand proudly on its own—or right alongside your holiday show-stoppers.

The kale and Brussels sprouts provide the perfect base for these sweet and savory accompaniments, and the recipe itself is quite flexible. Want more cranberries? Go for it! No bacon? That’s fine, too. See below for ideas on swaps and substitutions.

Whether you follow this recipe exactly or put your own spin on it, you’ll end up with a hearty salad with great texture and an exciting combination of flavors.

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HOW TO PREPARE YOUR VEGETABLES

While you could use a food processor to shred your Brussels sprouts and kale, a sharp knife works just as well and leaves fewer dishes to wash!

  • For the Brussels sprouts, peel off any dry or wilted outer leaves and trim off the stem end. Cut them in half lengthwise and, with the flat side down, thinly slice the sprouts into shreds.
  • For the kale, remove the leaves from their stems, and then slice the leaves into thin strips.

A serving bowl with Raw Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette ready to be served.

PERFECT SALAD SWAPS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

When it comes to this salad you can swap almost every ingredient for something else to keep the flavors fresh and new every time you make it.

As far as types of kale, both curly and lacinato can be used. The bacon adds a nice salty and savory bite so, if you omit it, use salted nuts to maintain the balance.

  • Nuts: If you don’t have pecans, other nuts like walnuts, almonds, or pistachios would be delicious. Need it to be nut-free? Pumpkin seeds would also be great.
  • Dried Fruit: You could replace the dried cranberries with dried cherries or golden raisins or even fresh fruit like pomegranate arils.
  • Cheese: If you’d like to add cheese to this salad, you could go just about any direction. A soft goat cheese, funky blue cheese, hard pecorino—whatever you like! Use between 1/2 to 3/4 cup (based on your preference) and add to the salad right before serving.

HOW TO MAKE BRUSSELS SPROUTS SALAD AHEAD OF TIME

This is a great make-ahead dish because several of the components can be prepared at least one day in advance.

  1. Shred the kale and Brussels sprouts and store them in an airtight container in the fridge the day before you want to serve the salad.
  2. Toast and chop the nuts a week in advance. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
  3. Make the dressing three days in advance. Just keep it in the fridge.

Once all of the ingredients are combined, you still have time on your side. It actually needs 10 to 30 minutes for the kale to soften and the flavors to combine but, after that, it’s best eaten that same day. It will still be delicious a couple of days later, though the dressing will continue to soften the kale especially, making the salad wilt.

A plate and serving bowl of Raw Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette.

MORE FESTIVE SALADS TO LOVE

Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

This salad is best enjoyed the day it is prepared. After a couple of days, the dressed salad, though wilted, will still be delicious. I use two kinds of mustard, but if you only have one or the other that’s okay too.

Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, wilted outer leaves peeled off and discarded
  • 1 pound fresh kale, about 1 large bunch, rinsed and patted dry
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Method

1 Cook bacon: In a large skillet lay bacon in individual slices, cook until desired level of doneness. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Cool and chop.

Chopped, cooked bacon on a cutting board with a chef's knife for Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Dried Cranberries and Maple Dijon Vinaigrette.

2 Toast the pecans: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread pecans out over a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring once, until toasted and fragrant. Transfer to a cutting board to cool then roughly chop.

A foil covered baking sheet with whole pecans spread on it to make a Fall Vegetable Salad with Bacon and Maple Dijon Vinaigrette. A cutting board with chopped pecans and a chef knife to make a Fall Vegetable Salad with Bacon and Maple Dijon Vinaigrette.

3 Prepare the Brussels sprouts and kale: Trim off the bottom of the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half, lengthwise. Then, with the flat side down, thinly slice the sprouts into shreds.

Remove the kale leaves from their stems and, using a knife, thinly slice the leaves into strips. Discard the stems or save for another use. Into a large bowl, add the Brussels sprouts and kale. Mix to combine.

Kale being chopped on a cutting board for a Fall Vegetable Salad with Bacon and Maple Dijon Vinaigrette.

4 Make the dressing and dress salad: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup, mustards, salt, and pepper.

Whisk in the oil until thoroughly combined and then pour the dressing onto the combined Brussels sprouts and kale. Mix until well coated and let sit at room temperature 10 to 30 minutes (refrigerate if longer).

Whisking ingredients for a the vinaigrette for a Raw Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette. Oil being added to a glass bowl to make the vinaigrette for a Fall Vegetable Salad with Bacon and Maple Dijon Vinaigrette. Pouring vinigrette over a bowl of shaved brussel sprouts and kale to make a Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Dried Cranberries and Maple Dijon Vinaigrette.

5 Assemble and serve: When ready to serve, add most of the pecans, bacon, and cranberries and stir to combine. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the remaining pecans, bacon, and cranberries.

A mixing bowl of Raw Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette with chopped bacon and pecans above the bowl.

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Kalisa Marie Martin

Kalisa Marie Martin is a classically-trained chef with a background in food science and nutrition, based in the Philadelphia area. She shares her unique perspective on food with the world at Kalisa Marie Eats. Kalisa has also been gluten-free for over 15 years and loves the challenge of recreating whatever she might be craving.

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One Comment

No ImageKale and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Jenn

    10/10, would recommend. So many variations, we could eat on this salad all week with all the possibilities! So surprised about the dried cranberries, but they really took the salad up a notch!

    xxxxxyyyyy

Raw Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette on a plate with a fork to the right.Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon