A crisp and delicious to way to enjoy a nutritious vegetable!
It took me a long time to learn to love Brussels sprouts. Growing up, my mom rarely prepared them and when I was served them at friends’ houses, I recall them almost always being overcooked, mushy and stinky. I finally conquered my aversion when I came up with this fantastic dish with bacon, cranberries and pecans. Now, I am positively swooning over enjoying them raw in a salad that’s bursting with flavour. I’ve added alternatives below so you can easily make this charming Caesar in vegan form, if you prefer. And if you’re really into vegan Caesar salad, you might want to check out this yummy kale version with a neat twist on croutons.
For the salad:
- 1 lb (454 g) Brussels sprouts
- 1/4 lb (130 g) double smoked bacon (use coconut or carrot bacon for vegan)
For the croutons:
- 4 slices sourdough or rustic bread, in 3/4 inch or 2 cm cubes (use gluten-free bread if preferred)
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) regular or roasted garlic olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon (.5 g) freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) kosher salt
For the dressing:
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) anchovy paste (optional; omit for vegan)
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Worcestershire sauce (regular or vegan)
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more, to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) each salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) mayonnaise (regular or vegan)
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) grated Parmesan (or vegan alternative)
Additional grated parmesan and lemon wedges, to serve.
- Heat the oven to 400F and line a baking tray with parchment paper; set aside. Wash the Brussels sprouts and pat dry with a towel. Cut each sprout in half lengthwise then cut each half crosswise, starting at the top, into very thin shreds, discarding stem end. Place in a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble salad.
- Dice the bacon and cook over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan, drain on paper towel and set aside.
- While bacon cooks, prepare the croutons. Place the cubed bread on the prepared baking tray and spray or drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with pepper and salt then, with your very clean hands, toss to coat evenly. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, until golden brown and crisp, flipping halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.
- While croutons are baking, make the dressing by whisking together in a small bowl the Dijon, anchovy paste (if using), Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add mayonnaise, olive oil and Parmesan and whisk again. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt or pepper if you like. Refrigerate until needed.
- Just before serving, drizzle about 2/3 of the dressing over the shaved Brussels sprouts and toss to distribute evenly. Add remaining dressing if desired. Sprinkle bacon bits and croutons on top, followed by a few spoonfuls of grated parmesan. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges on the side.