Up until recently, the French were not really fond of kale. Recipes like this kale brussels sprout salad did not have the trendy following that they did in the States.
But with time, many French chefs gave into the craze and started offering kale (chou frisé) in their dishes. I can understand the hesitancy, as I never understood kale’s appeal until I had this salad.
Kale Brussels Sprout Salad
My biggest issue with kale is how tough it is. It’s not the kind of salad I dump out of a bag and simply toss with dressing.
Instead, I treat my kale the way that I came to love it. Finely shredded and massaged in olive oil.
I had a similar salad to this at a local restaurant, listed as a Tuscan kale salad. The kale had been chopped into shreds so that each bite didn’t require a ton of chewing just to soften up the kale and make it digestible.
While kale is generally a tough salad leaf, it’s not very crunchy. To add a bit of crunch and some texture contrast, I add in finely chopped brussels sprouts.
If you’re not a fan of eating whole, cooked brussels sprouts, this can be a great way to consume the veggie without getting a mouthful of it in one bite.
The dressing for this kale brussels sprout salad is really simple, but effective. The dressing consists of a 2:1 ratio of olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. A pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper is added as well.
When I’m feeling a bit fancy, I’ll use basil-infused olive oil instead of extra virgin olive oil. Once I pour the oil and lemon juice in, I take a pair of salad tongs and really toss the heck out of the greens to massage that dressing in.
You can use clean hands as well, if you don’t mind getting a little messy.
What extras I add into the salad really just depends on what I have on hand. My go-to’s are typically grapes, which I slice in half, and an apple, which I dice into very small cubes. If you don’t have any fresh fruit on hand, you can add dried cranberries, which are delightful in this salad.
Toasted walnuts or pine nuts are a favorite as well, providing wonderful nuttiness and crunch to the salad. I’m also a big fan of sprinkling a heaping tablespoon of finely grated parmesan all over the salad right before serving.
The parmesan adds incredible flavor and pairs really well with the lemon dressing.
Serving this Salad
This salad can certainly be enjoyed as a vegetarian option for lunch or a light dinner. I’m guilty of making this salad at least 3 to 4 times a week.
- 3 leaves kale, stems removed, finely chopped (see note)
- 4 brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, cut in half, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil, (60 ml)
- 1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, (30 ml)
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup grapes, (25 grams) sliced in half
- 1/2 green apple, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 1/2 tbsp finely grated parmesan, (12 grams)
- 2 tbsp walnuts, (15 grams) chopped and toasted
- 1 tbsp pine nuts, (8 grams) toasted
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries, (30 grams)
- Rinse the chopped kale and chopped brussels sprouts, then put them in a plastic drain basket (or salad spinner) to dry.
- To a large bowl, add the chopped kale and the chopped brussels sprouts. Pour the olive oil, lemon juice, pinch of salt, and small pinch of freshly ground pepper all over. Then use salad tongs to toss the salad really well with the dressing. Alternatively, you can use clean hands to toss the salad as well. Keep tossing until all the leaves are nicely coated and glossy with dressing. Taste test for salt, but be mindful of saltiness if you will be adding in any grated parmesan (parmesan is a bit salty already!).
- Add any of the optional ingredients in, and give the salad a quick toss to combine.
You can remove the stem, or rib, from kale leaves by either: using a sharp knife to separate the leafy part from the stem, or by holding onto the bottom of the stem with one hand and using your other hand to slide down the stem/rib and simultaneously tear off the leafy part.
Then, just bunch the kale leaves together and use a sharp knife to finely chop the leaves.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 223